Behind the Music

A2SO principal clarinet Chad Burrow rejoins the orchestra and music director candidate Morihiko Nakahara as soloist in Bright Sheng’s Wild Swan concertino for clarinet and orchestra. Heralded as “a fresh voice in cross-cultural music,” Sheng’s work joins the charmingly joyful D’un matin de printemps by French composer Lili Boulanger and Rachmaninoff’s beloved Symphony No. 2 as centerpieces on the Michigan Theater stage. The younger sister of renowned composer and pedagogue Nadia Boulanger, Lili Boulanger’s work sparkles with joie de vivre, representing the last of her compositional output before her untimely passing a year later at the age of 24. Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 continues to stand as one of the composer’s best known works, the hugely successful premiere redoubling his confidence after the harsh criticism levied at his first attempt at the symphonic form over a decade earlier.


BOULANGER D’un matin de printemps

SHENG Wild Swan Concertino for Clarinet and Orchestra

RACHMANINOFF Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op, 27

Morihiko Nakahara, conductor

Chad Burrow, clarinet

This program is co-sponsored by Rebecca Horvath


Michigan Theater at 7pm, featuring Morihiko Nakahara, Bright Sheng and Chad Burrow

Presented by Rehmann


Morihiko Nakahara, conductor and music director candidate


Music Director of the South Carolina Philharmonic and Resident Conductor of the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, Morihiko Nakahara also serves as Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Known for his charismatic presence on and off the podium, innovative and audience-friendly programming skills, and thoughtful interpretations of both standard and contemporary repertoire, Nakahara was featured in the League of American Orchestra’s prestigious Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview in March 2005. Recent guest conducting engagements include appearances with the Buffalo Philharmonic, symphonies of Oregon, Jacksonville, Charleston, Chattanooga, Stockton, Lansing, Peoria, and Green Bay, as well as with the Chicago Pro Musica and the 2019 Maine All-State Orchestra. Recipient of the David Effron Conducting Fellowship at the Chautauqua Institution in 1999, he recently returned to guest conduct the Music School Festival Orchestra there.

Equally at home in a wide variety of musical styles and concert formats, Nakahara has collaborated with Chris Botti, Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, Edgar Meyer, Brandi Carlile, Pink Martini, Sergio Mendes, and Roby Lakatos to name a few. A tireless champion for the music of our times, Nakahara recently led world premieres of works by Joan Tower, Dan Visconti, and John Fitz Rogers, and has led numerous U.S. premieres of works by Japanese composers. A passionate believer in audience development and music education for all, Nakahara is a popular clinician, guest conductor, and lecturer at various educational institutions. As a personable ambassador for classical music, he is regularly featured on local media outlets, and speaks about wide ranging topics including arts advocacy, leadership and management, and economic development at local businesses and service organizations.

A native of Kagoshima, Japan, Nakahara holds degrees from Andrews University and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He previously served as Associate Conductor of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Holland Symphony Orchestra (Michigan), and served on the faculty at Eastern Washington University and Andrews University.

Nakahara, his wife Lesley Hogg, and their cat Junichi reside in Northampton, MA.

Chad Burrow, clarinet


Chad Burrow is recognized as one of the premiere clarinetists of his generation. He has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician in concert halls across the globe. The European press has said that Chad performs with “brilliant technique and tonal beauty mixed with an expressive ferocity.” Danish critic, Henrik Svane, went on to describe a performance as filled with “virtuosity, energy, and power without compromise.” The New York Times recently called a Carnegie Hall appearance in Poulenc’s Sonata, as giving a “strong impression” and being a “bright and genial account.”

In 2009, Chad was appointed to the clarinet faculty of the University of Michigan, where he teaches clarinet, chamber music and has served as the director for the Michigan Chamber Players. Additionally, he serves as co-artistic director and clarinetist for the Brightmusic Society of Oklahoma and is on the faculty of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival and also the faculty of the Alpenkammermusik Festival in Austria. Chad is the current principal clarinetist with the Ann Arbor Symphony, the Arizona Musicfest Orchestra.  He also regularly performs with the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra and the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings. Chad is the former principal clarinetist of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, the New Haven Symphony, Quartz Mountain Music Festival, and the past Associate Professor of Clarinet at Oklahoma City University.

Chad’s recent concert engagements abroad have included concerts in Austria, Denmark’s Thy Chamber Music Festival, recitals in the National Concert Hall in Taipei, Taiwan, concerts in Strasbourg, France and Concerto appearances with the Taichung Philharmonic, the “Classic” Orchestra of Taichung and the Shin Sharn Ensemble in Taipei. Recent performances in the United States have included appearances with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in Alice Tully Hall, Chamber Music Northwest, and performances on a series of Benny Goodman centennial concerts in Carnegie Hall and Yale University. Other performances have included venues at Rice University, the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, the University of Houston, three International Clarinet Association conferences, Northwestern University, the Music Mansion in Providence (RI), the Notre Dame University, Texas Tech University, University of North Texas, University of, Texas Christian University, the University of Texas, Louisiana State University and the University of Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, and others.  Chad has also performed with numerous orchestras, including the Ann Arbor Symphony, Cumberland Orchestra, and the Longview Symphony.  You can also find a recently released recording of William Bolcom’s, Clarinet Concerto with the University of Michigan Symphony Band on the Equilibrium label.

In addition to his own schedule of performances, Chad is the clarinetist for Duo Clarion, formed in 1999 at Yale University with pianist Amy I-Lin Cheng. Duo Clarion maintains an active series of performances throughout the United States, Europe, and the Far East. Duo Clarion’s work has been recorded and released by Albany Records, CD Baby, and Wei Studios in Taiwan. The Duo’s most recent recording features works of Brahms and Schumann on CD Baby. Violinist Sean Wang joins Duo Clarion to form Trio Solari. The trio has had a regular touring schedule around the world since 2006. Trio Solari released their first recording of eclectic repertoire on the Centaur label.

Chad is the winner of prizes and awards from the 2001 Young Concert Artist International Competition in New York City, the 2000 Woolsey Hall Competition, the 2000 Artist International Competition, and the 1997 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University where he was a student of Russell Dagon, and a Master of Music degree from Yale University, where he was a student of David Shifrin.

Chad serves as an artist for Vandoren and Backun Musical Services. He plays exclusively on Backun, MOBA clarinets.

by the numbers

Lili Boulanger's age when she won the Prix de Rome

Length of Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 (minutes)

Musicians in Your A2SO