Orchestra under baton of new conductor

Nicole Hennessy

Scott Seaton to make debut in first concert of the 2009 season

Scott Seaton, Kent State orchestra’s new conductor, stands in the Ludwig Recital Hall after rehearsal on Wednesday. Brittany Ankrom | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

In Boston he tried out the life of a street musician for a day.

He made enough money for his lunch that day.

Now he’s trying out the life of a conductor.

Kent State’s new director of orchestras and conductor, Scott Seaton, is acquainting himself with the university and the city.

“It is a very welcoming school,” Seaton said of Kent State. “It’s a supportive atmosphere.”

In his debut Sunday, Seaton will lead the orchestra in three pieces. He said one of these pieces will be just string instruments, and all three will have energy and exciting rhythm.

Making each student realize their importance and individuality within a group is how he said he goes about making the 60 orchestra students form a collective group.

“Part of playing in the orchestra is realizing your role in the orchestra,” Seaton said. “It is about the whole experience.”

Seaton’s philosophy to focus on the process, not the result, helps him center and pace himself.

“I’m just going along and growing with the orchestra,” Seaton said, adding this way he can “mold them into a great musical entity.”

Seaton said seeing students do something because of their talents and not as a result of something learned inspires him.

“Music teachers are always learning from their students,” he said.

Learning also has to do with the student’s environment.

“The great thing about this area is that we have a connection to The Cleveland Orchestra,” Seaton said. “Also, the Blossom Music program is a great opportunity for the students.”

Taking advantage of each opportunity presented to him, Seaton said he advises students to do the same.

Just returning from a conducting competition in Mexico, Seaton said he added this to his list of travels inspired by the desire to play music.

Selected from more than 280 conductors, Seaton will have the chance to compete this year in Germany.

Berlin, which he said he considers the cultural center of the world, is home to many musicians.

“There is music on every block,” he says. “In Europe, a lot of people play music because they love to play music.”

Seaton’s extensive resume certainly reflects his love of music.

His positions have included posts with the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra, the New England Collective Chamber Orchestra, the Nashville Youth Symphony and, most recently, the Orchestre de l’Université de Montreal.

The show on Sunday is the first show of the year in Kent’s subscription series at 7:30 p.m. in Cartwright Auditorium. The orchestra will begin with a piece called “Charcoal,” by Michael Torke.

This will be followed by Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia.”

Finally, Antonin Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 8 in G Major” will bring the performance to an end.

The rhythms and energies, which Seaton said he promised of the pieces, will also be accompanied by what he called “triumphant notes.”

Contact Performing arts reporter Nicole Hennessy at