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Folsom Symphony Conductor Michael Neumann Will Retire in March

New conductor will be Stockton Symphony's Peter Jaffe

The Folsom Symphony's popular conductor, Michael Neumann, will retire as music director after the orchestra's March performance, President Bruce Woodbury has announced. Neumann will continue with the symphony as music director emeritus.

Peter Jaffe, conductor for the Stockton and Auburn symphonies, will replace Neumann beginning with the 2014-2015 season. Jaffe also will guest conduct this season's final program, "Out of This World," a pops concert with two performances, May 31 and June 1.

"It is hard to express the value Michael has brought to the Folsom Symphony," Woodbury said. "From the beginning, he has enabled us to bring such great music to this community. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his service and leadership in our organization."

Neumann has been the symphony's only conductor since the inaugural performance in 2004. In the symphony's 10 seasons, he has led all but one performance. Audiences love his pleasant humor and musical commentary.  

Neumann was already well known as the music director for the Sacramento Youth Symphony - a position he will keep - and Woodbury credits his stature in the region as a major reason the orchestra has attracted top-quality musicians. Under Neumann's leadership, the symphony has won high praise and awards and nearly always plays to full houses at the Harris Center/Three Stages theater.

Neumann's final performance with Folsom will be "In Celebration of Spring" on March 29. A Beethoven devotee - and sometimes compared to the composer in appearance and style - Neumann is ending his career with the orchestra as he opened it: conducting a Beethoven piece, in this case Symphony No. 7.

Jaffe, who has conducted with Stockton since 1995 and Auburn since 2012, comes to Folsom with a broad background in a variety of musical arenas. He has directed classical and pops concerts and led orchestras for opera and theater, performed as a violinist, violist and pianist, and arranged many classical and original works. He studied under Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood, in Massachusetts, one of the world's most esteemed music venues. He also served 14 years as resident conductor for the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado.

Jaffe has received top awards from the Association of California Symphony Orchestras and the Stockton Arts Commission and has been honored by the University of the Pacific and San Joaquin Delta College for innovations in education and by the Brubeck Institute for distinguished service.

Jaffe holds two bachelor's degrees, in music from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and in mathematics from Oberlin College, and master's and doctorate degrees in conducting from Stanford University.

"We are extremely pleased to be welcoming such a high-caliber conductor as Peter Jaffe," Woodbury said. "He will continue our great tradition of bringing beautiful music to the Folsom Lake region."

The Folsom Symphony's next performance, under Neumann, is "Romance!" Feb. 8, 7:30 p.m., at the Harris Center/Three Stages theater on the Folsom Lake College campus, 10 Scholar Way, in Folsom. For more information on the symphony, see the website www.folsomsymphony.com.

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