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(PC: Greg Anderson)

Music Director of the Madison Symphony Steps Down

John DeMain will bow out at the close of the 2025/26 season

The Madison Symphony will soon appoint a search committee that will be tasked with finding John DeMain's successor, and the coming seasons will feature applicants for the position as guest conductors.

DeMain has achieved a great deal in the post, including the introduction of blind auditions for players in 2004. He was also the driving force behind the project that secured the orchestra's new Overture Center for the Arts, as well as the venue's pipe organ.

In 2014, DeMain received a Grammy Award, Tony Award, and France’s Grand Prix de Disque for the recording of his performance of Porgy and Bess with the Houston Grand Opera.

"It has been, and continues to be, a great privilege and honor to serve as the MSO’s Music Director since the 1994/95 season," DeMain said. "I am proud to have been a part of this orchestra’s amazing growth over the last 30 years. The centennial season, in a way, is the climax of my tenure here, and what a better way to begin the orchestra’s 101st season than with a new music director."

"I anticipate being available to continue an association with the MSO after I step down, to step in as needed. I love and cherish the musicians in the orchestra, and admire deeply the administrative staff, and look so forward to our next three celebratory seasons of making music together."

“It has been a true honor to work alongside Music Director John DeMain," said Robert A. Reed, the Executive Director of the Madison Symphony Orchestra. "Over the past 30 years, DeMain has raised the artistic level of the Symphony, hired first-class musicians to become members of the MSO, created dynamic musical programs, brought renowned guest artists to Madison, connected the MSO with the community, and has made the Madison Symphony Orchestra an important part of the arts ecology in Dane Country."

"The Madison Symphony Orchestra is a strong and vibrant organization because John DeMain envisioned it and has done all that he can to make that a reality."

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