by Mike Telin
When Matthew Jenkins Jaroszewicz was appointed Music Director Designate of the Canton Symphony in August of 2020, the plan was for him to assume the role of Music Director in 2026. But with the passing in June of Gerhardt Zimmermann, the Orchestra’s longtime Music Director, Jaroszewicz suddenly found himself tasked with filling some big shoes sooner than expected.
On Saturday, October 7 at 7:30 pm, the young conductor will lead the Orchestra’s season-opening concert at Zimmermann Symphony Center. The program, titled “Ode to Freedom,” includes Joan Tower’s Made in America, Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, and two works that will feature Seohyun Kim, winner of the 2022 Thomas and Evon Cooper International Violin Competition: Maurice Ravel’s Tzigane and Jeff Scott’s Song of the Uirapuru, receiving its world premiere. Tickets are available online.
I caught up with Jaroszewicz by phone and began by asking him how he is managing during this period of transition.
Matthew Jenkins Jaroszewicz: It’s been difficult for a lot of reasons. Obviously, in six years serving as Gerhardt’s assistant and then associate, I built a professional and personal relationship with him, and with his wife Sharon as well. The plan was for me to take over as Music Director in 2026, and after that Gerhardt would still be around as the Music Director Emeritus for five more years. So to not only be thrust into the role three years early, but to not have Gerhardt there as someone I could lean on as a mentor was a shock.