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August 14, 2012 > Fremont Symphony moves in a new direction

Fremont Symphony moves in a new direction

Submitted By Dan Meagher

The Fremont Symphony Board of Directors announced an exciting new direction for the Symphony, headed by veteran team Gregory Van Sudmeier and Lee Foster as Conductor/Musical Director and Executive Director. This new direction was made possible by the unexpected offer of a new challenge grant from long-term supporter and Board President Steve Pietkiewicz and his wife Edith, who were inspired to assist the Symphony after the Board announcement that they would reluctantly curtail their 2012-2013 season.

Gregory Van Sudmeier, who conducted the Fremont Symphony's May 2011 pops concert, will take the helm as Music Director. Sudmeier has stood before orchestras all over the country, including San Jose Symphony, the Oakland-East Bay Symphony, and the Peninsula Civic Light Opera. He has conducted masterworks, many Broadway shows, and his own arrangements and original pieces. His extensive experience with Skywalker Sound at Lucas-Digital/Lucasfilm includes contracting for and performing on numerous feature film soundtracks. A prolific composer, Sudmeier has written and produced numerous television show themes. His awards include the CLIO Advertising Award for Best Musical Adaptation, and the Eastman School of Music Duke Ellington Award for Outstanding Achievement in Arranging and Orchestration. Sudmeier received a Grammy nomination for his work on the "Star Wars" trilogy with John Williams and the Skywalker Symphony. Sudmeier is a Professor at Notre Dame de Namur University.

In his current capacity as Resident Music Director of both Diablo Ballet in Walnut Creek and Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City, Sudmeier works in collaboration with Executive Director Lee Foster, who is currently the Executive Director of both companies. Foster has an MBA from University of San Francisco and received her MFA from Notre Dame de Namur University in May 2012. Foster is a two-time graduate of the Arts Leadership for the Future Educational and Consulting Program (ALF) sponsored by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. She is credited with turning around failing nonprofits, has run successful capital campaigns, increased attendance and net income, and won numerous honors for her accomplishments in the nonprofit field including a Congressional Honor presented by Congresswoman Jackie Speier. This collaboration with the Fremont Symphony is part of a collective project of Hillbarn Theatre to provide economies of scale and support for smaller nonprofits.

During their 2012-13 Season, the Fremont Symphony will offer no regular orchestra concerts, but will present the exciting duo pianists Anderson & Roe in recital in February and the annual free Children's Concerts in March. Terms of the Pietkiewiczs' $33,333 challenge grant require it to be matched 2 to 1 by individual donations by March 31, 2013, with the goal of raising $100,000. The Board will concentrate on fundraising to meet the challenge grant and anticipates that a new direction and fresh ideas will place the organization once again on a stable financial footing. The entire organization looks forward to an exciting 50th season in 2013-14.

Comments, questions, contributions and suggestions are welcomed, via email to or mail to Fremont Symphony Orchestra, P.O. Box 104, Fremont, CA 94537.

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