NSO names new assistant conductor

The NSO has named a new assistant conductor. Ankush Kumar Bahl, 33, will assume the two-year post this fall, at the start of the the 2011-12 season.

Bahl, who hails from California, has a respectable resume for a young conductor on his way up. He was for five years the music director of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, is an assistant conductor with the Orchestre National de France (CORRECTION: This story incorrectly stated that Christoph Eschenbach, the current music director of the NSO, was music director of the Orchestre National de France; in fact, he was music director of the Orchestre de Paris. Daniele Gatti is the music director of the Orchestre National de France where Christoph Eschenbach, the NSO’s music director, was music director until 2010), has held a number of other assistant conductor posts, from the Concertgebouw to Kansas City, and is one of six finalists in the running this season for the music directorship of the Idaho Falls Symphony.

He holds a degree from the University of California at Berkeley (where he majored in music and rhetoric); got his MM in conducting from the Manhattan School of Music, where his teachers included Zdenek Macal and George Manahan; and has been a conducting fellow at Aspen. In 2009, a Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy scholarship funded two months of study with Kurt Masur and Riccardo Chailly with the Leipzig Gewandhaus. As a participant in the Kurt Masur conducting seminar in New York, he won favorable attention from the New York Times.

In short: he’s followed a good course for a young conductor. At the NSO -- where he was selected by a committee headed by Eschenbach after a series of auditions and interviews -- he will conduct young people’s concerts, outreach programs, and act as cover conductor for Eschenbach.

“He is a very gifted young man,” Eschenbach said in a press statement issued by the orchestra, adding, “We will enjoy helping this young artist grow and develop.”

Anne Midgette came to the Washington Post in 2008, when she consolidated her various cultural interests under the single title of chief classical music critic. She blogs at The Classical Beat.

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