Wichita Falls, Texas (March 28, 2017) – The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra (WFSO) has named Fouad Fakhouri as its next Music Director and Conductor effective June 1, 2017. The Search Committee chose Fakhouri after an 18-month-long international search.
Maestro Fakhouri will take the podium on Saturday, October 14, 2017, as the orchestra opens its 70th season. “For me this is similar to a homecoming. Having spent a significant amount of time in Texas, it is wonderful to get back and contribute to the state that I practically grew up in,” said Fakhouri, who was educated at West Texas A&M University and the University of North Texas. “I felt a genuine, almost immediate, connection with the musicians and was thrilled by their high level of professionalism, commitment, and dedication to the art of music making,” said Fakhouri of his work with the WFSO in February.
With over two decades of international credits as a conductor and composer, Fouad Fakhouri is committed to actively engaging with audiences through powerful artistic experiences. Known for his “musical accuracy” and “emotional intensity,” his performances have been celebrated for their broad, dynamic and powerful interpretations, which go beyond the score to capture both the essence and spirit of the music.
Kristen Van Cleve, WFSO Concertmaster, said, “I am thrilled that Fouad Fakhouri has agreed to be the next Music Director of the Wichita Falls Symphony. Maestro Fakhouri demonstrated skill, musicianship and understanding of the art of conducting when he led the symphony in February. I am looking forward with great anticipation to working with him during the 2017/18 season – this is an exciting time for the WFSO!”
In June 2016, Fakhouri was named Music Director of the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra (Michigan). From 2004 – 2016 Fakhouri served as Music Director and Conductor of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra (North Carolina). Previous appointments include Principal Guest Conductor of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra (North Carolina) as well as Music Director and Conductor of the Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra where he led the orchestra on its first international tour to Austria and Germany. He continues to be in high demand as a guest conductor. Among his many recent appearances are the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra (Lebanon), Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (New York), Cairo Symphony Orchestra (Egypt) and the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra (Sophia, Bulgaria).
In addition to conducting, Fakhouri is an active composer of a multitude of symphonic, chamber, choral and solo music. His works have been premiered and performed by the English Chamber Orchestra (UK), the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra, the Mediterranean Orchestra (Italy) and the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra to name a few.
Fakhouri hails from a musical family whose roots go back four generations. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition from the University of North Texas, and a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting, as well as a Master of Music in Composition/Theory from the Pennsylvania State University. He earned his Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition from West Texas A & M University.
In December 2014 in recognition of “his impressive career achievements, phenomenal leadership of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra (FSO), and dedication to music and the community” Methodist University (NC) bestowed upon him an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. In March 2016 he was inducted into the Fayetteville (NC) Music Hall of Fame and in April 2016, upon the completion of a highly successful 11-season tenure with the FSO, individual symphony donors honored him with establishing “The Fouad K. Fakhouri Endowment for Artistic Excellence” – a $1.1 million fund that will “continue his legacy of excellence forever”.
Fakhouri resides in New York City with his wife Diane Lavelle, an advertising executive, and their daughter Isabella.