Music Director of the Lexington Philharmonic (LexPhil) since 2009, conductor Scott Terrell has transformed the orchestra with his imaginative programs, engaging presence, and determined passion for artistic excellence and viability. An ardent champion of new music and diversity of repertoire, he is a visionary leader with a keen intellect for bringing context to the concert hall. Adept in a broad interpretive range of repertoire from masterworks of orchestral canon, new commissions, opera, and works beyond the mainstream, this American conductor can, as critics have noted, “program works that entertain and educate, innovate with new works and revitalize the old.”
In great demand as an international guest conductor, Mr. Terrell continues his important work with major orchestras and opera companies worldwide. Upcoming debuts include the Fort Worth Opera, Phoenix Symphony, Colorado Music Festival, Tucson Symphony, Kirchner-Waterloo Symphony, and a return to the Aspen Music Festival. This season, Maestro Terrell debuted with the St. Louis Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra in an all-Gershwin program. He led the opera performances of William Bolcom’s A WEDDING at the 2016 Aspen Music Festival and School following his highly acclaimed 2015 concert performance of MARIA DE BUENOS AIRES that was a “highlight of the festival”. Other recent guest conducting engagements include Opera Hong Kong, Colorado Symphony, Arizona Opera, and the Hamilton Philharmonic. He has been on the cover conductor staff of the Philadelphia Orchestra since 2012, assisting Music Director Yannick Nezet-Seguin and Principal Guest Conductor Stephane Deneve – and regularly leading their pre-concert lecture series.
Maestro Terrell has led with many prestigious international organizations including Opera Colorado, Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Milwaukee Symphony, Aspen Music Festival and School, Spoleto Festival, Naples Philharmonic, Eugene Symphony, Richmond Symphony, South Dakota Symphony, Kalamazoo Symphony, Wheeling Symphony, Amarillo Symphony, and El Paso Opera.
After a two-year search and nearly three hundred applications, Mr. Terrell was unanimously selected as Music Director of the Lexington Philharmonic. He has re-invigorated and raised the artistic level of the ensemble, expanded collaborations, increased audience and community support. He has created and endowed both a Composer-in-Residence and an Artist-in-Residence chair. Composers commissioned have included Daniel Thomas-Davis, Daniel Kellogg, Adam Schoenberg, Avner Dorman and 2018 Composer, Chris Brubeck. The orchestra has been awarded the Copland Award three times in his tenure, highlighting his ongoing commitment to contemporary American composers such as Jennifer Higdon, Michael Torke, Dominick Argento, John Harbison, Christopher Rouse, John Adams, Michael Gandolfi, Phillip Glass, Mason Bates, Roberto Sierra, Christopher Theofanidis, and Osvaldo Golijov. .
Having a strong affinity for vocal and operatic repertoire, Maestro Terrell continues a wealth of projects both in Lexington and abroad. This season was his second collaboration with Kentucky Opera Studio Artists in Stephen Paulus’ moving oratorio, TO BE CERTAIN OF THE DAWN. This follows the Lexington Philharmonic's first collaborative triumph with Kentucky Opera in 2015, Osvaldo Golijov’s AINADAMAR. Recent operatic engagements including Opera Hong Kong gala concerts of Bernstein vocal works, and Arizona Opera’s production of THE MAGIC FLUTE. Mr. Terrell led a two-week Bernstein festival with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, including orchestral performances and vocal recitals. Terrell conducted Opera Colorado’s production of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. He received rave reviews when he returned to Opera Colorado to lead Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio. He has led numerous programs at the Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto Festivals including: Stravinsky’s Ballet Rite of Spring, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors. Additionally, he led the Minnesota Opera’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro.
In addition, he has presented many innovative films, theatrical and operatic programs during his Lexington Philharmonic tenure that have helped to grow audiences across all age groups. Projects have included Philip Glass’ ICARUS AT THE EDGE OF TIME, Peter Boyer’s ELLIS ISLAND, Osvaldo Golijov’s AINADAMAR, Holst’s THE PLANETS HD, and Charlie Chaplin’s GOLD RUSH. In addition, he initiated the Artist-in-Residence partnership with the University of Kentucky Medical Center, a program that brings major artists to the Bluegrass Region. Artists to date have included: Midori, Johannes Moser, Inon Barnatan, Pablo Sainz-Villegas, Time for Three, and the Canadian Brass. These artists have played recitals, performed school concerts, interacted with patients and their families, and participated in pop-up and community events – all to bring the power art and music into the healing process.
Multi-media presentations have been a staple in Maestro Terrell’s diverse repertoire; in particular his growing collaborations with film scores and crossover-artists. He conducted WIZARD OF OZ for the Lexington Picnic with the Pops concert at Keeneland Race Track, and Bernard Hermann’s iconic score for PYSCHO. He has been a regular collaborative partner with the Colorado Symphony, leading their presentations of CASABLANCA, THE MAGICAL MUSIC OF HARRY POTTER, A COLORADO CHRISTMAS, as well as the Red Rocks Amphitheatre’s debut of Indie pop band Belle and Sebastian.
Previously, Maestro Terrell served as Resident Conductor and Director of Education for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and prior to that was Assistant Conductor of Minnesota Orchestra from 1998-2003. He conducted hundreds of the Minnesota Orchestra’s performances including Casual Classics, Pops, Family Concerts, Young People’s Concerts, Composer’s Institute, and Sommerfest Concerts. Mr. Terrell made his subscription debut when filling in Hans Vonk, leading the orchestra in Shostakovich Symphony No. 10. He also conducted the orchestra’s productions of Bernstein’s Candide, and Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors.
A native of Michigan, Maestro Terrell is a graduate of Western Michigan University, and the University of Minnesota in orchestral conducting. In 2000, Terrell was chosen as a fellowship conductor for the inaugural season of the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival under Music Director, David Zinman. He has participated in master classes with such distinguished conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Robert Spano, Jorma Panula, and David Robertson. At Aspen, he was awarded the prestigious Conducting Prize from David Zinman, an award recognizing exemplary musicianship and promise.