The journey continues! Symphony Number One names Melissa Johnson Lander as its next Executive Director.
Melissa’s involvement with Symphony Number One has grown steadily, from her first performance at our debut in May 2015, to her recent appointment as Executive Director. She is the creator of Symphony Number One's chamber music series, Beethoven’s Kitchen. She also lead the work which culminated in our performance in Baltimore’s inaugural Light City festival. Meanwhile, Melissa continues to perform as principal clarinetist, earning consistent high praise for her remarkable musicianship, particularly on her performance of the music of Pierre Boulez.
Equally accomplished in large ensembles and chamber groups, clarinetist Melissa Johnson Lander is an emotionally captivating artist known for her rich clarity of sound. She has performed in some of the world’s greatest concert halls from Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, and the Kennedy Center to many unique locales including Barrow, Alaska, the castle ruins in Heidelberg and the Royal Norwegian Palace.
During the last semester of her Master’s Degree, Ms. Lander won her first professional audition and served for seven years as Clarinetist with the elite U.S. Army Field Band. She performed more than 800 concerts including joint concerts with the Detroit Symphony, the Boston Pops and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Quickly appointed as Co-Principal Clarinetist, she was a featured soloist in over 35 concerts. Melissa was also a member of The Pentagon Winds woodwind quintet, performing at more than 50 U.S. colleges and universities presenting recitals and master classes.
Melissa gave her solo recital debut at the age of 21 with a LIVE radio broadcast on NPR as a result of winning the Neale-Silva Young Artists Competition. Her orchestral experience includes Principal clarinet of the Heidelberg Schlossfestspiel Opera Orchestra, Associate Principal of the Traverse Symphony, principal positions with all of the schools she’s attended and substitute positions with numerous groups in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area. Melissa has also participated in many of the countries great summer festivals including Interlochen, Chautauqua, Bowdoin, and Breckenridge.
Ms. Lander graduated high school from Interlochen Arts Academy, received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, and a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan. After her career with the Army, Melissa dedicated almost a decade to staying home to care for her 3 children. Rediscovering her passion for performance led Melissa to seek the mentorship of Anthony McGill (Principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic) while studying at Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. She recently completed a Graduate Performance Diploma in clarinet and is currently pursuing a diploma in Chamber Music.
Lander succeeds co-founder Sean Meyers as our next Executive Director, invited unanimously by the Executive Committee. Stay tuned on Facebook for more updates and reactions, and join the conversation; let's give Melissa a warm welcome!