Arts & Entertainment

Mid-Columbia Symphony names new conductor

Nicholas Wallin, a 33-year-old assistant professor at Washington State University in Pullman, is the new conductor for the Mid-Columbia Symphony.

"The search committee, after reviewing extensive surveys from the orchestra, the audience surveys and additional input from members of the Board of Trustees, feel that Dr. Wallin is the best choice to lead the Mid-Columbia Symphony into the future," said Bill McKay, who headed the nomination committee for the symphony.

"We were unanimous in our support of Dr. Wallin and are delighted he has accepted the position. We sincerely look forward to working with him and welcoming him to our artistic community."

Wallin, who holds a master's degree in conducting from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Maryland and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota, is the music director for the Washington Idaho Symphony and the WSU Symphony Orchestra.

Wallin couldn't be reached Thursday about the board's decision.

He's been a staunch supporter of music education and supports music in the schools. But he also believes it's important to introduce young people to actual performances rather than just the study of music.

Wallin led the Mid-Columbia Symphony orchestra in its first concert of the 2007-08 season, engaging the audience with stories about the pieces being performed as well as presenting his conducting style.

"Nick worked very well with the orchestra, the musicians loved him and the audience too," said Jan Greenwell, president of the symphony board. "We feel he has a wonderful blend of teaching as well as conducting."

* Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;