American conductor Na’Zir McFadden is the newly appointed Assistant Conductor and Phillip & Lauren Fisher Community Ambassador of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. In this position, he will work closely with Music Director Jader Bignamini and guest conductors on both the PVS Classical Series and William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series. Additionally, he will lead pre-concert lectures at Orchestra Hall, and conduct a variety of programs on the Educational Concert Series, Young People’s Family Concert Series, PNC Pops Series, as well as DTE Foundation Community Concerts.
To commence with the 2022-23 season, Na’Zir will serve as Music Director and Conductor of the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra under the DSO’s Civic Youth Ensembles (CYE). Together they’ll present three programs, exploring symphonies by Dvorak and Tchaikovsky and will be joined by Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke.
An advocate for arts education, he strives to provide access to the arts for students in underserved communities. This upcoming season, McFadden will make appearances with youth ensembles in Salt Lake City and with the Philadelphia All-City Music Festival. In the past, he’s worked with youth ensembles in Chicago, Philadelphia, Delaware, St. Louis and Los Angeles.
Recent engagements include a recording project with musicians from the Civic Orchestra of Chicago as part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Notes for Peace’ program – which featured Hilary Hahn as guest soloist. Additionally, he served as guest conductor of the Penn Symphony Orchestra, at the invitation of the University of Pennsylvania.
McFadden was the inaugural Apprentice Conductor of the Philadelphia Ballet Orchestra from 2020 to 2022 working closely with Music Director Beatrice Jona Affron. He also served as the Robert L. Poster Conducting Apprentice of the New York Youth Symphony from 2020-2021.
Na’Zir conducted his hometown orchestra – the Philadelphia Orchestra – in their “Pop-Up” series in 2017, meeting their Chief conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin who has been a mentor ever since. The Philadelphia Inquirer praised his “great stick [baton] technique and energetic presence on the podium” in their review of the concert.
Na’Zir studied with Ricardo Muti and Cliff Colnot during his time at DePaul University in Chicago and participated in a masterclass led by Andrés Orozco-Estrada.