Philadelphia Orchestra Appoints Three Assistant Conductors

By Francisco Salazar

The Philadelphia Orchestra and its Music and Artistic Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin have announced that current Conducting Fellows Austin Chanu and Tristan Rais-Sherman will continue to work with the Orchestra throughout the 2023–24 season, and have been promoted to assistant conductors, effective immediately.

Meanwhile, Naomi Woo has been named assistant conductor beginning during the 2024–25 season.

The three conductors will serve as cover conductors and provide valuable assistance to Nézet-Séguin and guest conductors. Chanu, Rais-Sherman, and Woo will actively participate in residency programs, concert tours, and educational activities and they will also lead the Orchestra in various community programs, fostering a deeper connection between the Orchestra and the public.

Chanu is a conductor, composer, and woodwind performer who was a recipient of the 2023 Career Assistance Award from the Solti Foundation US. He made his Philadelphia Orchestra subscription debut in April 2023. He has also appeared as a guest conductor with the Omaha Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He was also music director for the Los Angeles Music and Art School.

Rais-Sherman is an American conductor who recently competed in the 2023 Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition with the Bamberg Symphony. He has conducted The Philadelphia Orchestra and the San Diego Symphony.

Meanwhile, Canadian conductor and pianist Naomi Woo is a 2022 winner of the Canada Council’s prestigious Virginia Parker Prize. She has conducted the Orchestre Métropolitain, the Montreal Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony, and the National Arts Center Orchestra (Ottawa).

In a statement, Nézet-Séguin said, “Mentoring young conductors is one of the most rewarding aspects of my work, and I have enjoyed watching Austin and Tristan develop their skills over the past year. We are thrilled to recognize their artistry on stage and their contributions off stage with these well-deserved promotions and look forward to seeing what they accomplish next season. In addition, we are excited to welcome Naomi Woo to the Philadelphia Orchestra family. After working with her closely at the Orchestre Métropolitain, I know she will bring great insight and talent to our 2024–25 season.”