This Sunday at the annual Symphony in the Park, there will be a guest conductor, as the much beloved Darco Butorak has departed after leading the symphony orchestra for 12 years.

Executive Director of the Missoula Symphony Jo May Salonen provided the update on the worldwide search for a new conductor.

“We have brought in Gordon Johnson from the Great Falls Symphony,” said Salonen. “He is the conductor emeritus, but he is going to work with us as our guest conductor for Symphony in the Park, and he’s also going to be our guest conductor for our Holiday Pops Concert in December.”

Salonen said the search for a new conductor truly is a worldwide effort.

“We have five finalists including two women and three men from all over the world,” she said. “We have Julia Tai and she is from Seattle,” she said. “We have Stephen Smith and he most recently was in Virginia. The third gentleman is Scott Seaton and he is currently in northern California, while Paul McShee is from Connecticut, and our last finalist will be Zoe Zeneodi and she is from Greece, hence the world wide aspect of our search.”

Each finalist will spend two intensive weeks in Missoula where they will be immersed in Missoula culture, meeting with musicians, civic groups and community leaders before the new conductor will be chosen.

Julie Tai arrives in Missoula on September 16.

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