Arts & Culture: SONA Announces Musical Director

Jill M. Rohrbach
Paul Haas has been appointed music director for the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas. SoNA is the new name for the North Arkansas Symphony (NASO), which was founded in 1954. Under the musical direction of Haas, SoNA will present classical and pops performances for symphonic music lovers in northwest Arkansas.

Haas was selected after a nationwide search and comes to SoNA with outstanding credentials. His recent positions include music director of the renowned New York Youth Symphony, which performs regularly at Carnegie Hall. Haas is also the founder and artistic director of Sympho, a groundbreaking and critically acclaimed concert production company. His other conducting engagements include performances with the San Antonio Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. He was selected out of hundreds to perform in the League of American Orchestras’ prestigious National Conductor Preview.

Haas has an active composing career, receiving the Selden memorial Award and Friends of Music Composition Prize of Yale University. According to the New York Times, Haas “is surely on the brink of a noteworthy career.” The Washington Post said, “Haas is headed for a significant podium career.”

He is a graduate of Yale University and the Juilliard School, where he studied conducting as a Bruno Walter Fellow with Otto-Werner Mueller. He also studied conducting in Dresden, Germany at the Hochschule fur Music.

He currently resides in New York City with his wife, Suzette, and daughter, Ciel. But he plans to develop deep ties in the area. Haas showed his sense of humor this morning at a press conference by taping a Wooo Pig Sooie sign on his back and showing it off as he described how amazed he was the first time he came to northwest Arkansas.
SoNA has a partnership with the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville and has developed a sustainable operating model and comprehensive funding strategy. The symphony has secured much of the funding needed for the first season with an opening concert in the spring of 2011.
For more information, contact Karen Kapella t 479-521-4166 or visit
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