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PLANO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA ANNOUNCES NEW ASSISTANT CONDUCTOR

Award-winning conductor and forthcoming Juilliard School graduate will join PSO in August

PLANO, TX: The Plano Symphony Orchestra is pleased to announce Shira Samuels-Shragg will be joining Maestro Hector Guzman as Assistant Conductor ahead of the orchestra’s 40th Anniversary Season. Shira is a young American conductor in her final year pursuing a Masters in Orchestral Conducting at the Juilliard School with highly-sought after conductor David Robertson. This full-time position is funded by a generous donation from Tammy and Charles Miller. Shira will assume her role on August 22, 2022.

PSO Music Director and Maestro Hector Guzman states: “The audition process for this position attracted conductors from the USA, Venezuela, Wales, Switzerland, Italy, Mexico, China, and Japan. The final audition consisted of five gifted finalists conducting the PSO. Shira brings to our organization youthful excitement, enthusiasm, and above all, talent! She will be a valuable asset to the ever-growing stature of our outstanding orchestra.”

A graduate of Swarthmore College with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, Shira Samuels-Shragg served in 2020 as music director for the world premiere of Cassandra, an opera by composer Thomas Whitman and poet/librettist Nathalie Anderson. She worked as assistant conductor for the college orchestra, and as part of her studies with Professor Andrew Hauze, enjoyed conducting guest artists such as the Jasper String Quartet.

Shira was honored to finish her studies at Swarthmore with a grant from the music department and the coveted Swarthmore College Oak and Ivy Award. She also enjoyed studying in workshops with such esteemed conductors as Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Octavio Mas-Arocas, Tong Chen, David Effron, and Gary Berkson, among others. During the summer of 2021, Shira was a fellow in the inaugural Conducting Academy at the National Orchestral Institute + Festival, where she studied with Marin Alsop and James Ross and was delighted to premier Just Dreams by Tyler Taylor.

In May 2022, Shira will graduate from Maestro David Robertson’s studio at The Juilliard School with a Masters in Orchestral Conducting. At Juilliard, Shira made her Alice Tully Hall debut, conducted concerts with the Juilliard Lab Orchestra, and served as Cover/Assistant Conductor for conductors including Sir Anthony Pappano, Barbara Hannigan, and Kevin John Edusei.

Prior to joining the PSO in August, Shira will serve as the Assistant Conductor of Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the U.S.A. this summer, where she will work closely with Maestro Daniel Harding and Carnegie’s team as the group performs in concert halls across Europe.