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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

'It's Like A Blink': Jaime Laredo On 20 Years Leading The Vermont Symphony Orchestra

A man holds a violin.
Christian Steiner
Frank Salomon Associates, Inc.
Jaime Laredo is leaving the Vermont Symphony Orchestra after the 2020-2021 season.

Renowned musician Jaime Laredo has been the conductor and music director of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra since 2000. He's been acclaimed for the level of musical excellence he brought to the organization.

Now, the VSO has announced Laredo will be departing at the end of the 2021 season.

Laredo was an internationally known violinist and conductor for decades before he took the helm at the VSO. He debuted with the San Francisco Symphony at the age of 11 and went on to win multiple prestigious awards including seven Grammy nominations. He also performed with a number of the world's top orchestras and has recorded more than 100 discs.

For years, Laredo was also the violist for a piano quartet also consisting of Emanuel Ax, Isaac Stern, and Yo-Yo Ma.

Speaking with VPR's Mitch Wertlieb, Laredo said his last season with the VSO will be bittersweet.

"On the one hand it's kind of sad," Laredo said. "I'm very happy about what we've been able to achieve together. The people in the orchestra are very special. I consider them not just my colleagues but my friends. It's been a wonderful time."

He also cautioned: don't say that he's retiring.

"I don't believe in that word!" he said. "I'm not retiring. I'm just stepping down from the VSO, because I really feel strongly that 20 years is a long time. And I think it will be healthy for the orchestra to have new blood, new ideas. It's good for everybody."

Laredo said he plans to devote more time to teaching, and he will continue to live in Vermont during the summer.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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