Julia Tai Announces She Will Step Down as Philharmonia Northwest Music Director at End of 2022-23 Season

Music Director Julia Tai announced that she plans to step down when her contract with Philharmonia Northwest ends at the conclusion of the 2022-23 Season, after twelve seasons with the orchestra.

“Philharmonia Northwest is like a family to me,” shared Tai. “It has been a tremendous 12 years working with all the wonderful people in this organization. I’m so proud of everything we’ve been able to accomplish together, from building community partnerships, to giving annual children’s concerts, and establishing the Patrons for New Music to commission new works for chamber orchestra. I will treasure all the deeply moving performances we’ve had together, and I’m forever grateful to all the dedicated musicians, board members, patrons, and audience members. I will continue to cheer for its future successes and I look forward to seeing the orchestra blossom under the next music director.”

Tai has established a reputation at Philharmonia Northwest for her creative programming and involvement in the Seattle community. Since the start of her tenure in 2011, PNW has co-commissioned new works by PDQ Bach, Mexican composer Osvaldo Mendoza, Chinese-American composer Dorothy Chang, Canadian-American composer Vivian Fung, and American composer Sheila Silver. In 2017, in collaboration with the Finlandia Foundation, Tai and PNW celebrated Finland’s centennial by presenting “Finland 100” at Benaroya Hall, featuring works by three generations of Finnish composers. In 2018, they presented an all-Taiwanese composers’ concert, again at Benaroya Hall, featuring musicians from all over the U.S., Canada, and Taiwan.

Under Tai’s direction, Philharmonia Northwest has also developed a robust outreach program. The orchestra has partnered with local school music groups and community organizations to play side-by-side concerts, welcome elementary school students to watch open rehearsals, present musical demonstrations at North Seattle College, and collaborate with dance students to create interdisciplinary performances.

“Julia Tai will be greatly missed by our orchestra members, staff, board, patrons, and audiences,” says Libby Gray, Philharmonia Board President and Flutist. “She brings a lively spirit and outstanding musicality to the podium, excellent managerial skills with the staff and board, and her cheerful personality delights everyone. As a member of the orchestra, I loved playing the varied repertoire she programmed, especially the children’s concerts and the newly composed works. As President of the Board, I admire her knowledge and experience as a conductor and director of this arts organization. We wish her all the best in her new position at the Missoula Symphony!”

Julia Tai will conduct Philharmonia Northwest for their remaining season concerts:

  •  “The Trumpet Shall Sound,” February 12 at Shorecrest Performing Arts Center, with trumpeter Mary Elizabeth Bowden.
  • “Mountains, Birds, and Dinosaurs: A Children’s Concert,” March 26 at Shorecrest with narrator Lisa Bergman.
  • “Perspectives: Fauré & Hagen,” April 22-23 at Bastyr University Chapel with Kirkland Choral Society.

She will also lead the orchestra in a concert with winners of the Seattle Young Artists Music Festival concerto competition, May 6 at Town Hall Seattle.

Philharmonia Northwest will seek to hire a new Music Director for the 2024-25 Season. Applications will be accepted through March 10, 2023, with final candidates announced on June 15, 2023. Each of these finalists will program, rehearse, and conduct a concert with Philharmonia Northwest in the 2023-24 Season. For details, go to:  https://philharmonianw.org/job-announcement-music-director/


Posted on February 1, 2023.