Sameer Patel, new assistant conductor of the San Diego Symphony. Photo by Sameer Patel named assistant conductor of the San Diego Symphony.  Photo credit:  Arielle Doneson
Sameer Patel, new assistant conductor of the San Diego Symphony. Photo by Arielle Doneson

The San Diego Symphony announced Wednesday that Sameer Patel will be the orchestra’s new assistant conductor and Kensho Watanabe will serve in the new role of conducting fellow.

Patel, who was most recently associate conductor of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, was chosen from an applicant pool of 165 to succeed Ken-Davis Masur, who is moving to the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

The new assistant conductor will cover all Jacobs Masterworks classical subscription concerts, conducting the Family Festival series, Young People’s Concerts and additional concerts throughout the season.

“One of San Diego’s crown jewels is its world-class orchestra, which is at the heart of the city’s vibrant cultural life,” said Patel. “I am excited to connect with our audience, and I am looking forward to working closely with Maestro Ling, the musicians, the staff and the orchestra’s many supporters.”

Kensho Watanabe

Watanabe, who just finished serving as conducting fellow at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, was chosen for a similar role in San Diego, where he will conduct a limited number of concerts.

“I am extremely grateful to Maestro Ling and the San Diego Symphony for committing to my development as a conductor,” said Watanabe. “I was struck by the energy, drive and outlook of the entire organization, and I am looking forward to developing this intrepid partnership while getting to know the San Diego community.”

Jahja Ling, who was recently honored with a Yale School of Music “Distinguished Service Award,” is planning to step down as music director at the end of the 2016-17 season.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.