The SPCO is recognized for its innovative approach to artistic leadership. In 2004, the SPCO transferred broad artistic responsibilities from a music director to the SPCO musicians and a dynamic group of Artistic Partners. The current roster of Artistic Partners consists of British Baroque specialist Richard Egarr, American composer and musical commentator Rob Kapilow, South African cellist Abel Selaocoe and German violist Tabea Zimmermann.
Past Artistic Partners include Jonathan Cohen, Roberto Abbado, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Joshua Bell, Douglas Boyd, Jeremy Denk, Martin Fröst, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Pekka Kuusisto, Nicholas McGegan, Stephen Prutsman, Dawn Upshaw, Christian Zacharias and Thomas Zehetmair. In collaboration with a committee of SPCO musicians and management, the Artistic Partners develop distinctive multi-year programming plans focused on the particular musical interests they share with the SPCO.
“An educator, motivational speaker, and game show host, all rolled up in one … Rob Kapilow’s insightful and entertaining programs … often bring moments of revelation to even the most seasoned aficionados.”
— Karen Campbell, The Boston Globe
“Not since the late Leonard Bernstein has classical music had a combination salesman-teacher as irresistible as Kapilow. … He’s as lively as a top-flight sports announcer and as entertaining as a stand-up comedian. But he’s also got substance in spades.”
— Kansas City Star
“There are few musicians who are able to move seamlessly between headlining the BBC Proms with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales one night and improvising at the London Jazz Festival the next. Abel Selaocoe is one such musician — able to master virtuosic performance with improvisation, singing and body percussion.”
— BBC Music Magazine
“Abel Selaocoe is billed as a cellist and composer, but that doesn’t begin to cover his talents. The South African musician also sings, improvises, dances and directs, seemingly sculpting sound with his hands … Yet Selaocoe’s greatest gift is his irresistible energy, sweeping the audience up into the music in an entirely wholehearted way.”
— The Times
“In a music industry with more than its fair share of superficiality and artificiality, Tabea Zimmermann … has come to epitomize a musicianship based on integrity, on an authentic and personal stance that does not shy away from pointing out uncomfortable truths about the industry … an artist who channels all her energy into getting to the heart of a musical work – and sharing this experience with her audience.” — Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation
“More than any other violist, Zimmermann has boosted the repertoire for her instrument, inspiring composers including Ligeti, Heinz Holliger, Wolfgang Rihm and Enno Poppe to write for her. And she boldly adopts music written for other instruments … she can coax the warmth and depth of a cello out of her viola, just as she can capture the airy sweetness of any violin sonata by Franck or Schumann.” — The Strad