The Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra in New London, CT., is thrilled to announce the appointment of Toshiyuki (Toshi) Shimada as its new music director. Shimada, currently the music director of the Yale Symphony Orchestra (the university's undergraduate orchestra), will be the fifth music director in the ECSO's 63-year history.
Toshiyuki Shimada has been music director of the Yale Symphony Orchestra of Yale University since 2005. He is also music director laureate of the Portland Symphony Orchestra, in Portland, Maine, where he served as music director from 1986 to 2006. Prior to his Portland engagement, he was associate conductor of the Houston Symphony Orchestra for six years, beginning in 1981. Since 1998, he has also served as principal conductor of the Vienna Modern Masters record label in Austria. In addition, he is music director and chief creative officer of the Trinity Music Partners, LLC, which holds the worldwide rights to the Vatican Library Music Collection, and he has been serving as artistic adviser of the Tulare County Symphony Orchestra in California since 2007.
Toshi has a background which is rich with credentials. Maestro Shimada has had the good fortune to study with many distinguished conductors of the past and the present, including Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karajan, Herbert Blomstedt, Hans Swarovsky, and Michael Tilson Thomas. He was a finalist in the 1979 Herbert von Karajan conducting competition in Berlin, and a Fellow Conductor in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute, in 1983. In addition, he was named Ariel Musician of the Year in 2003 by Ariel Records, and received the ASCAP award in1989. He has also consistently become an integral and beloved member of every community he joins, receiving the Portland Fire Department's Merit Award, the Maine Publicity Bureau Cultural Award, and the Italian Heritage Society Cultural Award, and having a number of days named in his honor: Toshiyuki Shimada Day in Houston, TX, Toshiyuki Shimada Week in Portland, Maine, and Toshiyuki Shimada Day in the State of Maine. In May 2006 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Fine Arts by the Maine College of Arts. At the Yale University, he has been selected as the Fellow of the Davenport College and a member of the Elizabethan Club.
Maestro Shimada has been a frequent guest conductor with a number of European orchestras, including the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra in the Czech Republic, Karlovy Vařy (Karlsbad) Symphony Orchestra, the Prague Chamber Orchestra, the Slovak Philharmonic, NÖ Tonkünstler Orchestra in Vienna, L’Orchestre National de Lille in France, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at the Edinburgh Festival. He has also guest conducted the Houston Symphony, Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, San José Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops Orchestra, Pacific Symphony Orchestra, New York Chamber Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and many other US and Canadian orchestras. During May and June of 2008, the Yale Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Shimada made a highly successful Italian tour performing in Rome, Florence, Bologna and Milan.
He records with the Vienna Modern Masters label, and with the Moravian Philharmonic, and currently he has fifteen Compact Discs. He also records for the Capstone Records, the Querstand-VKJK (Germany) and the Albany Records. His recording of Gregory Hutter's Skyscrapers has just been released through the Naxos label.
Maestro Shimada lives in Connecticut with his wife, concert pianist Eva Virsik, and their son Matias.