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Carneiro is Berkeley Symphony's new leader

January 15, 2009 | 12:20 pm

Joanasmall Another erstwhile assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic has moved up.

Joana Carneiro, the Portuguese-born maestro who served with the Phil from 2005 to the end of last season, will succeed Kent Nagano as music director of the Berkeley Symphony beginning with the 2009-10 season. She will conduct four programs in UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall starting Oct. 15 and lead the orchestra's new music series, called Under Construction.

Carneiro will be the only the third music director in the history of the Berkeley band, which was called the Berkeley Promenade Orchestra when it was founded by Thomas Rarick in 1969; Nagano led it for three decades beginning in 1978. A native of Lisbon, she is currently the official guest conductor of the Gulbenkian Symphony in the Portuguese capital and previously served as assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and music director of the Los Angeles Debut Orchestra, as well as principal guest conductor of the Metropolitan Orchestra of Lisbon.

Nagano -- who also is former music director of Los Angeles Opera -- now serves as music director of the Montreal Symphony and the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. He will continue with the Berkeley Symphony, however, as conductor laureate and artistic director of Berkeley Akademie, a new program from the organization focusing on repertoire for small orchestra.

Among Carneiro's predecessors as an L.A. Phil assistant conductor, Alexander Mickelthwate is now music director of the Winnipeg (Canada) Symphony, and Grant Gershon is music director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale and associate conductor of L.A. Opera.

-- Craig Fisher

Photo: Joana Carneiro conducting at Walt Disney Concert Hall in March 2008. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times