People: Kelly Kuo, New Director of the Reno Chamber Orchestra

Opera song

The Reno Chamber Orchestra announced on July 9 the selection of a new musical director: Maestro Kelly Kuo.

He will only be the third individual to hold this esteemed position since the founding of the Reno Chamber Orchestra in 1974, according to a press release.

The orchestra received applications from over 140 applicants for musical direction, which were narrowed down to six finalists. The first candidate presented himself in March 2019, well before the pandemic postponed the selection process. The orchestra’s research committee, made up of musicians, community members and board members, ultimately unanimously chose Kuo after his performance with the orchestra last May.

“The community has seen six dynamic conductors with incredible skills, and at the end of the day we are delighted to welcome Kelly Kuo as our new conductor,” said RCO Research Committee Chair and Senior Bassist Scott Faulkner, in a press release.

Kuo is currently Artistic Director of the Oregon Mozart Players and Associate Artistic Director of the American Lyric Theater; his recent opera engagements include Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Kentucky Opera, Anchorage Opera, and the Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Center.

“This is a great time for RCO, welcoming our new conductor as we emerge from the pandemic and approach our 50th anniversary season in 2024,” added the RCO Board Chairman, John Tozzi.

Kuo will lead the Reno Chamber Orchestra for its opening schedule, Oct. 16 and 17, along with other Reno appearances during the season, the release said, and is working on planning for the 2022-2023 season.

“It is a great privilege to join the Reno Chamber Orchestra family as the next Music Director,” Kuo said in a statement. “I am so impressed with the flexibility and generosity of spirit shown by the musicians and the community.

“It was evident to me during my visit that they care deeply about RCO and are committed to further developing a meaningful musical connection with the various people and cultures that make up the Reno community. I can’t wait to continue our journey together.