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Still without a contract, classical musicians in Springfield tap Kevin Rhodes to be their artistic advisor

Kevin Rhodes, the former artistic director at the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, will now be the artistic advisor for the Springfield musicians — who have been without a contract and formed a new classical orchestra.
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Kevin Rhodes, the former artistic director at the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, will now be the artistic advisor for the Springfield musicians — who have been without a contract and formed a new classical orchestra.

Musicians in ongoing contract negotiations with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra — who now have their own ensemble known as MOSSO — tapped the symphony’s former conductor to be MOSSO's new artistic advisor.

Kevin Rhodes was the SSO's conductor for 20 years until May 2021 when his contract ended. The musicians have been without a contract since the summer of 2020.

Rhodes, who directs orchestras in Slovakia and Michigan, will be a volunteer artistic advisor for MOSSO. He said he is thrilled to be working again with the Springfield musicians, but he emphasized he is not becoming their music director.

“Basically, the musicians will come up with, you know, ‘We're going to play a concert on this date. We're going to do it with this kind of group, and we want to put a program together, and here's what we are thinking.’”

Rhodes will then offer advice, he said.

MOSSO said in a press release that Rhodes will help them build their repertoire for performances at Symphony Hall and its chamber music performances in communities throughout western Massachusetts.

Rhodes is coming to town next week to conduct MOSSO at Springfield Symphony Hall. The program will feature the film music of John Williams. The event is called, "Return of the Rhodes."

When Rhodes conducts, like the musicians, he will be paid for the performance.

A MOSSO spokesperson said musicians and contract negotiations with the SSO are ongoing.

Corrected: July 19, 2022 at 12:22 PM EDT
An original version of this story said musicians who are in ongoing contract negotiations with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra no longer perform with the SSO. Musicians do perform with the SSO, while negotiations are ongoing.

Jill has been a reporter and host at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent 10 years at WBUR in Boston, producing The Connection with Christopher Lydon, Morning Edition, reporting and hosting. In the months leading up to the 2000 presidential primary in New Hampshire, Jill hosted NHPR’s daily talk show The Exchange. Right before coming to NEPM, Jill was an editor at PRX's The World.
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