The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has named Jherrard Hardeman as its new Assistant Conductor (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Education and Community Engagement Chair).
Hardeman will also serve as Music Director of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (RPYO).
The 25-year-old Hardeman will serve as assistant to RPO Music Director Andreas Delfs and RPO Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik.
“Jherrard convinced the audition committee with his superb musicianship, affable personality and spirited presentation of ideas and programs,” Delfs said. "The entire RPO family wishes him a happy and rewarding tenure with a great American orchestra.”
Previously, Hardeman was named Assistant Conductor of the Chicago Sinfonietta in September 2022.
Hardeman will lead the RPO’s signature OrKIDStra family series, education concerts at Kodak Hall, concerts for the community and beyond, the July summer series, and a Mozart and Dvořák program on the Sunday Matinee series March 24, 2024 – all in addition to his responsibilities as music director of the RPYO.
“My hope at this point in the game is to create a year for the RPYO that is unforgettable, that is filled with so many moments that are not just musical moments, but human moments,” Hardeman said.
Hardeman, a native of Detroit, Michigan, was a child prodigy. He attracted national attention as a classical conductor, composer and violinist by his mid-teens. He studied orchestral conducting under internationally renowned conductor David Robertson at The Juilliard School.
He says he cannot overstate the importance of mentorships by conductors Mei-Ann Chen, Music Director of the Chicago Sinfonietta, and Kevin Noe, Executive Artistic Director of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble.
“Jherrard is an exceptional musician and a fine example of how the skills developed in the Freeman Fellowship Program and mentoring from Maestra Mei-Ann Chen truly prepare talented young conductors like Jherrard,” said President and CEO of Chicago Sinfonietta Blake-Anthony Johnson in a statement. “We send our congratulations to Jherrard on his new post with Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.”
Hardeman has appeared with the Seattle Symphony, Grosse Pointe Symphony, Juilliard Orchestra, Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Symphony Orchestra and the Longy Conservatory Orchestra. An innate leader, he has also formed and/or conducted orchestras at such prestigious institutions as the New England Conservatory of Music, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and the AVANTI Summer MusicFest.
Hardeman says he is excited to begin work with the RPO in late summer, as the orchestra kicks off its centennial season. “This is something that many organizations never get to ever experience: being around for a whole century. I see the season as a celebration of both the orchestra and its audiences. The only reason we’re here is because of the people who supported us,” he said.
“My goal is to make sure that community is at the forefront of everything that we do. Service to the community is the key to our future.”