The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra has hired as its new music director Giselle Ben-Dor, the resident conductor of the Houston Symphony Orchestra, a native of Uruguay, citizen of Israel and American resident since 1980.
Ben-Dor got a "very strong" favorable evaluation by the 85 symphony members after being a guest conductor Feb. 9-10, said Pat Edwards, executive director. Four other candidates were Karen Deal, resident conductor; Randall Fleischer, Gary Schneider and Christopher Kendall. A sixth, David Miller, was recently chosen to head the Albany Orchestra.
The new maestro replaces Peter Bay, who left last year to become associate conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic and assistant conductor of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Ben-Dor opens the 1991-92 Annapolis season Oct. 4-5 when Herbert Greenberg, concertmaster of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, plays the Brahms Violin Concerto.
Ben-Dor, in her mid-30s, lives in Houston with her engineer husband, Eli, and their 8-year-old son, Roy. She also leads the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston. She is described as an inventive programmer and as articulate in explaining music.
She will continue to hold the Houston and Boston jobs while spending up to 10 days rehearsal time in Annapolis for each of five double Annapolis concerts and two children's concerts. Multiple conductor jobs aided by jet travel are common these days.
The musician left Uruguay with her family and moved to Israel when she was a teen-ager. She studied piano and conducting at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. She moved to the United States in 1980 and later earned a master's degree in conducting at Yale University.
Ben-Dor just conducted groups in Brasilia and Uruguay and this summer conducts in Czechoslovakia. Next season she also leads the Israel Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Arnhem Philharmonic in Holland and several American orchestras.