LEWISBURG (WVDN) – Carnegie Hall presents the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra (WVSO) celebrating the Sounds of the Season Friday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m. The performance will be led by guest conductor Michelle Merrill.
Merrill will lead the WVSO in a festive holiday show, featuring selections like “The First Noel,” “Hannukah Festival Overture,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “The Polar Express Suite.” Additionally, there will a musical version of “Fantasia on Greensleeves” featuring a reading of “The Night Before Christmas” by a special guest.
Merrill has been inspiring audiences throughout the country with her sharply detailed and vibrant performances. A passionate and dynamic artist, she served four years as the assistant and then associate conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, where she also carried the title of Phillip and Lauren Fisher Community Ambassador. In addition to her growing guest conducting schedule, Merrill currently serves as the music director of the Coastal Symphony of Georgia, where she has ignited the growth and expansion of the orchestra’s offerings both on and off the stage.
Merrill’s most recent and upcoming engagements include the National Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Opera, National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), Minnesota Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Sarasota Orchestra, West Virginia Symphony, Symphoria (Syracuse), Princeton Symphony Orchestra and the Round Top Music Festival Institute. In past seasons, she has conducted concerts with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic, Orlando Philharmonic, Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera, Boise Philharmonic, New Music Detroit and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, where she formerly served as the assistant conductor from 2012-2015.
During her four-year tenure as the associate conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, she helped plan a wide variety of concerts each season, including the renowned educational webcasts, which have reached over 100,000 students to date in classrooms throughout the nation. Merrill also gave pre-concert lectures, led adult music education seminars, engaged with students and adults in and around Metro Detroit, spoke on behalf of the DSO throughout the community and participated in hosting Live from Orchestra Hall, the DSO’s free concert webcast that launched in 2011 and is now watched in more than 100 countries.
Merrill is a proud recipient of a 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award as well as the prestigious 2013 Ansbacher Conducting Fellowship as awarded by members of the Vienna Philharmonic and the American Austrian Foundation, which enabled her to be in residence at the world-renowned Salzburg Festival. Born in Dallas, Texas, she studied conducting with Dr. Paul C. Phillips at Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts, where she holds a Master of Music degree in conducting and a Bachelor of Music in performance. Apart from music, she loves cooking, running, hiking and spending time outdoors with her husband, Steve Merrill, who serves as the principal percussionist of the Jacksonville Symphony, and their two sons, Davis (5 years) and Emmett (9 months).
The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra is West Virginia’s premier performing arts organization, presenting classical and pops concerts annually throughout the Mountain State. Currently in its 84th season, the WVSO is a proud member of the community and enriches the region by providing affordable, high-quality concerts, collaborations with West Virginia arts organizations and a nationally award-winning education program.
Guests are invited to arrive early for the free Mainstage Lounge Preshow Reception from 6:30–7:15 p.m. in the Old Stone Room.