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N.J. Symphony CEO a top PSO candidate

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

By Caroline Abels, Post-Gazette Cultural Arts Writer

Lawrence Tamburri, president and CEO of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, has emerged as the leading candidate for the managing director position at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Victor Parsonnet, board chairman of the Newark-based orchestra, said yesterday, "It's not a done deal, but when it is -- if it is -- there will be press releases issued from both the Pittsburgh Symphony and the New Jersey Symphony."

Richard Simmons, chairman of the PSO board wouldn't comment, and Tamburri could not be reached.

"He's a wonderful man, but it still might not happen," Parsonnet said.

Tamburri grew up in Shaler and graduated from Duquesne University. He is highly respected as an orchestra leader, guiding the New Jersey Symphony through recent contract negotiations and playing a major role in acquiring 30 rare Italian string instruments for the musicians.

If he took the PSO job, he would be filling a void created when Gideon Toepliz left the position in May. After his departure, the board changed the nature of the post by making the managing director the CEO of the orchestra.

The PSO's lack of a managing director during the current contract negotiations with the musicians is not an ideal situation, according to the musicians.

"To be negotiating right now, it is probably the worst time for the whole organization because you don't have someone who can make up a long-term plan about what is attainable," says Zachary Smith, a horn player and spokesperson for the musicians.

Post-Gazette Classical Music Critic Andrew Druckenbrod contributed to this report.Caroline Abels can be reached at or 412-263-2614.

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