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VOL. 132 | NO. 137 | Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Crust Named MSO Assistant, Youth Symphony Conductor

By Kate Simone

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ANDREW CRUST

Andrew Crust, who recently was named assistant conductor of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and conductor of the Memphis Youth Symphony, shares why young musicians inspire him and how orchestras can reach a younger audience in this week's Newsmakers Q&A.


Andrew Crust has been named assistant conductor of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and conductor of the Memphis Youth Symphony Program.
Along with serving as a backup for MSO principal conductor Robert Moody and guest conductors, Crust’s role with MSO includes conducting a variety of concerts, taking part in artistic planning and acting as a liaison with donors, patrons and the media. As Memphis Youth Symphony conductor, he will program and conduct both the youth symphony and string orchestra, recruit players, and lead rehearsals and auditions.

Hometown: Kansas City, Kansas 

Experience: Assistant conductor and community liaison, Portland Symphony Orchestra, 2016-present; assistant conductor, National Youth Orchestra of the USA, 2017; Doctor of Musical Arts, orchestral conducting, University of Colorado-Boulder; Master of Arts, orchestral conducting, McGill University; Bachelor of Music Education, Wichita State University.

What talent do you wish you had? I’d like to be a polyglot – speak about 10 languages. 

What attracted you to the Memphis Symphony and the Memphis Youth Symphony Program? They are two organizations which not only try and present the best artistic product, but truly change lives through music as well. The MSO is very community-centric in its programming and does its best to represent the rich history of the region. On top of that, both groups play extraordinarily well!

Before you get settled into your new roles in Memphis, you’re slated to serve as assistant conductor for the National Youth Orchestra at Carnegie Hall this month. What do you enjoy most about working with young musicians? I am inspired so much by young musicians – as a professional, it is very easy to get lost in the daily routine of the work and forget that what you do for a living is an incredible privilege. There is no such thing as a jaded 17-year-old who is annoyed about playing Beethoven’s Fifth for the hundredth time – for them everything is new and exciting. Also, when I work with young people I am filled with optimism and feelings that classical music has a bright future, and that even kids raised on iPhones understand the universal value of art. 

Apart from conducting, one component of your new job is community engagement – particularly with millennials and young people. What barriers do you see in trying to connect that demographic with live orchestral music, and how do you overcome them? My philosophy is that young people actually have more interest in the arts these days, because of the internet. The reason you don’t see them turning out in droves at traditional concerts is a matter of time and money – they simply have less of both compared to retirees. One mistake orchestras often make is to pander to young audiences, and they can smell that from a mile away. The interest is there, we just have to be innovative and genuine in our approach.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? Honestly, it’s being able to make a living as a musician. It was such a long and difficult journey to reach this place of security, in a field which is very difficult to break into. That being said, the great thing about this kind of field is that there is no “arrival.” I will never stop growing and learning, and each time I attain a goal, a new one appears. 

If you could give one piece of advice to young people (musicians or otherwise), what would it be? In general: You’ll never have as much time and freedom as you do when you’re young – so take advantage of it! Take a road trip on a whim. Start an art project. Write a novel (hopefully not as bad as the one I wrote in high school). Watch every Kubrick movie ever made. Boredom is inexcusable – in the 21st century, no one should be bored. 

To musicians: Practice, yes, practice more than any of your friends, play chamber music, always strive to be a total musician, but also take the time to figure out who you are as a person. No one wants to listen to a brilliant technician with no personality and nothing to say. That means travel, read, take risks, embrace your unique self, and as Christian Tetzlaff said, “Live life without armor.” 


ANGIE DAVIS

TREVOR BENITONE

KRISTEN LOCKHART

COURTNEY ALLEN

Angie C. Davis, a shareholder in Baker Donelson’s Memphis office, has been named vice chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Group. Davis will work with the group’s chair, Jenna Bedsole, to oversee the more than 90 labor and employment attorneys located across Baker Donelson’s 24 office. She also will maintain her practice, which works with clients on all aspects of employment issues.

ERIC MESSER

Adams Keegan, a national managed HR services company based in Memphis, has promoted Trevor Benitone to vice president of business development, Kristin Lockhart to vice president of recruiting and Courtney Allen to director of sales – national accounts. Benitone joined the business development department at Adams Keegan in 2015. Lockhart has been with Adams Keegan for three years, and previously served as director of recruiting services. Allen has been a member of the sales team at Adams Keegan for three years.

DAVID DENHOLM

Dani Rutherford, volunteer & outreach specialist for Memphis Animal Services, has been awarded the Maddie’s Neonatal Kitten Nursery Apprenticeship through Austin Pets Alive. The apprenticeship includes online training, five days of hands-on learning at the Austin Pets Alive neonatal kitten nursery in Austin, Texas, and a travel stipend. Rutherford joined MAS in March and oversees three key programs: fosters, volunteers, and Pet Placement Partner rescue groups. The training will allow her to implement new lifesaving programs in Memphis.

Memphis Jewish Home & Rehab has been recognized with a 2017 Bronze – Commitment to Quality Award by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. The award is the first of three distinctions possible through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program, which honors long-term and post-acute care providers that have demonstrated their commitment to improving the quality of care for seniors and persons with disabilities.

Priority Ambulance has promoted Eric Messer to vice president of operations to serve its ambulance contract with Baptist Memorial Health Care facilities and has hired David Denholm as its Memphis operations manager. Messer has worked for three years as director of marketing for Priority Ambulance’s Birmingham operation. Denholm has a decade of experience in Tennessee EMS operations, previously serving as the state’s regional manager for Lifeguard Ambulance Service.

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