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In the News

Devin Hughes, the New Mattie Kelly Distinguished Chair in Music and Conductor for the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra

Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra Conductor Competing in International Conducting Competition

October 25, 2018

Devin Patrick Hughes, Music Director and Conductor of the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra at Northwest Florida State College, was invited to participate in the Antal Doráti International Conducting Competition in Budapest, Hungary.  The world wide competition takes place from November 5 – 12, 2018 and features prominent young conductors from around the world.


The Budapest Symphony Orchestra MÁV in cooperation with Studiomusica International Artist Management, Studiomusica Hungary, and CIDIM announces the second edition of “Antal Doráti International Conducting Competition.”

Antal Doráti, (9 April 1906 – 13 November 1988) was a Hungarian-born conductor and composer who became a naturalized American citizen in 1947.

He studied at the Franz Liszt Academy with Zoltán Kodály and Leo Weiner for composition and Béla Bartók for piano. His links with Bartók continued for many years: he conducted the world premiere of Bartók’s Viola Concerto, as completed by Tibor Serly, with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1949, with William Primrose as the soloist.

Doráti became especially well known for his recordings of Tchaikovsky’s music. He was the first conductor to record all three of Tchaikovsky’s ballets – Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker – complete. The albums were recorded in mono between 1954 and 1955, for Mercury Records, with the Minneapolis Orchestra as part of their famous “Living Presence” series. All three ballets were at first issued separately, but were later re-issued in a 6-LP set. Dorati never re-recorded Swan Lake, but he did make a stereo recording of The Sleeping Beauty (again complete) with the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam for Philips Classics Records, and two complete recordings in stereo of “The Nutcracker”, one with the London Symphony Orchestra (again for Mercury), and the other with the Concertgebouw Orchestra for Philips – all this within a span of about twenty-seven years.

Other prominent composers in Doráti’s recording career are Béla Bartók and Igor Stravinsky. His comprehensive series of Bartók’s orchestral works for Mercury have been brought together on a 5-CD set. He also made the first stereo recording of Léo Delibes’ Coppélia, with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. An album set of Richard Wagner’s opera The Flying Dutchman is also among Doráti’s more popular recordings.  In 1969 he made the world premiere recording of Sibelius’s tone poem Luonnotar, with Gwyneth Jones as soprano soloist. In 1973 he conducted the world premiere recording of Max Bruch’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, which was written in 1912 but only rediscovered in 1971.

He lived to make digital recordings, for English Decca Records (released in the U.S. on the London label), with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. One of these, the recording of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, received the coveted French award Grand Prix du Disque.

Budapest Symphony Orchestra MAV

The MAV Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1945 by the Hungarian State Railways. Since then, it has developed a wide-ranging repertoire from music of the baroque era to works by contemporary composers, and is currently ranked among the best professional ensembles in Hungary. The orchestra has performed throughout Europe as well as in Cyprus, Lebanon, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Brazil,Argentina, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Oman. Performances have taken place at many of the most important and respected concert halls, such as the Musikvereinssaal in Vienna, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Suntory Hall in Tokyo, and the Shanghai Oriental Art Centre. The MAV Symphony Orchestra was the only Hungarian orchestra to participate in Tokyo’s legendary Three Tenors Production in 1999. The orchestra’s CD recordings are available everywhere in the world by the biggest labels. Since 2012, Péter Csaba is the orchestra’s Artistic Director and Chief Conductor; since 2014, Kobayashi Ken-Ichiro is their Honorary Guest Conductor.

Devin Patrick Hughes joins the Northwest Florida State College community as the Mattie Kelly Distinguished Chair in Music and Music Director and Conductor of the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra.  Concurrently serving as Music Director of the Boulder Symphony and Arapahoe Philharmonic, Devin Patrick Hughes’ prior positions with the Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association, Denver Young Artists Orchestra, Civic Youth Orchestra, Denver Philharmonic Orchestra, and Contemporary Chamber Players accentuate his ambitious spirit as a leader and musician.

Devin was recently featured in Maestro, the Solti International Conducting Competition as a semi-finalist in Budapest. He was the only American selected with eleven other conductors worldwide to compete in the Toscanini International Conducting Competition, and was a conducting fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.  He has conducted orchestras across North America and Europe including the Winnipeg Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Des Moines Symphony, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, San Antonio Symphony, Green Bay Symphony, Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini in Italy and Orchestra of the Hungarian State Opera.

Devoted to music existing for a greater communal purpose, Devin attracts and creatively engages audiences of all stripes by bringing the stories behind the music to life and inspiring critically acclaimed performances.  Showcasing his passion for outreach, Devin founded and developed a high school apprenticeship program, a community chamber music initiative and play-in, summer camp for all ages, and has held benefit concerts for organizations such as the Red Cross, Oxfam International, Cultures in Harmony, and the Colorado Haiti Project.  He has also served as an AmeriCorps tutor, mentor and coach for Nothing But Achievers, and the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony, where he arranged spirituals for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. March.

Devin has partnered to make music more universally assessable through organizations such as I Have A Dream, Circle of Care, Freemasons, El Sistema, Flatirons Strings Academy, and Pinnacle Charter School in Denver.  He has chaired multiple foundational competitions nurturing the development of young performers, composers, and conductors, and serves as guest clinician for multiple school districts across Colorado.  Aside from Devin’s frequent appearances as a clinician and speaker, he has taught courses at the Denver Academy for Lifelong Learning and the Music Schools of the University of Denver, Ithaca College in New York, and New Mexico School for the Arts and serves as an annual guest artist with the International Keyboard Odyssiad and Festival.

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