Year's guest term in China for U.S. conductor

Columbia University's Center for United States-China Arts Exchange has announced that David Gilbert will go to the People's Republic of China in June to serve during the year as principal guest conductor of Peking's Central Philharmonic Orchestra.

Mr. Gilbert, who has conducted the New York Philharmonic 13 times during the past few years, will be the first American musician to hold a position of national prominence in China, said center director Chou Wen-chung in announcing the appointment. He will also be the first American musician invited by the Chinese government to serve as long-term guest conductor of the Central Philharmonic, the most important orchestera in China.

The Columbia University center is the primary agency in the US for programs on arts exchange in China and is administered by Columbia's School of the Arts, of which Professor Chou is vice-dean.

Mr. Gilbert has conducted orchestras throughout the United States, Europe, and the Far East. He won first prize in 1970 in the highy coveted Mitropoulos Competition and then became assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic, a position he continued to hold through 1979.

Among orchestras in the US with which he has made recent guest appearances are the Pittsburgh Symphony, the New Orleans Philharmonic, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, the Louisville Orchestra, and the American Symphony Orchestra. He toured twice with the New York Philharmonic in the Far East and served as principal conductor for the American Ballet Theater. He is also currently musical director and conductor of the Greenwich Philharmonia in Greenwich, Conn.

Mr. Gilbert's reputation as a conductor who communicates easily with Orchestra members and as an individual of personal warmth, sensitivity, and imagination led to his selection as guest conductor of the Central Philharmonic, Professor Chou said.

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