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Dr. Eric Thorson stepping down as KCS artistic director and conductor

KNOXVILLE – Dr. Eric Thorson, artistic director and conductor of the Knoxville Choral Society (KCS), will step down effective June 20, 2018. The Society’s Board of Directors have appointed a search committee and begun the process of seeking candidates for the position.

  allison lederer
Dr. Eric Thorson KCS artistic director, conductor. Image courtesy of KCS.

Dr. Thorson has been the conductor of the KCS since the summer of 1995. He became the artistic director as well in 1997. During his tenure the KCS has accomplished many great things. Here are a few.

• The KCS has grown from 50 performers to 120.
• In 1997 Dr. Thorson started the Knoxville Chamber Chorale and directed it until 2005.
• In 2005 the Society saw its first Assistant Director hired.
• Fields of Heaven by Daniel Gawthrop, was commissioned in 2000 in honor of the KCS’s 50th anniversary.
• In 2002 the KCS made the first of many international tours, performing Fields of Heaven in Bratislava, Slovakia, with the Slovakian National Orchestra.
• On Christmas Eve 2007 members of the Choral Society were invited to sing as a peace initiative by the Palestinian and Israeli governments. They performed Handel’s Messiah in Bethlehem’s Manger Square.
• Chronicles of Blue and Gray by John Purifoy, was commissioned in 2010 to honor Dr. Thorson and to commemorate the 150 years since the War between the States.
• In 2014 “Chronicles” was performed by members of the KCS in historic Carnegie Hall.
• In 2017 the KCS performed the Robert Levin edition of the Mozart Requiem. This was the first performance of the edition in East Tennessee.
• In addition to the international locations already mentioned; Choral Society members have performed in Italy, Ireland, Belgium, France, and Germany under the direction of Dr. Thorson.

“It is with great joy and honor that I have served you, my friends, colleagues, and fellow musicians, as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Knoxville Choral Society for the past twenty-three years. I consider our harmonious partnership one of the most personally fulfilling and professionally enlightening experiences of my career,” said Thorson. “I believe this is the best decision for myself and I see it also as a fortuitous season of change for the Society and the future of its leadership. Know that I will be cheering for you and supporting you always.”

Said Richard Davis, president of the Knoxville Choral Society, “On behalf of our entire board of directors I would like to recognize the leadership and musicianship of Eric which has strengthened the quality of the KCS over his 23-year tenure. His remarkable dedication to the welfare of individuals as well as to the organization has endeared him to all who have worked with him. Eric has always looked to continued growth for our organization and has guided us to a greater presence in the Knoxville arts community. He will be greatly missed.”

Published December 11, 2017

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