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Alexander Platt
La Crosse Symphony conductor and music director Alexander Platt.

Alexander Platt will be named the 13th conductor/music director of the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra today, five days after conducting his last audition concert.

His selection concludes a 2½ year search and season-long series of audition concerts with six finalists to replace Amy Mills, who stepped down last year after 14 years of leading the orchestra.

Platt, who signed a five-year contract, was the “consensus choice” of the 14-member search committee, which includes six musicians, said Jim Gallagher, the committee’s chairman.

“It’s a great day for the symphony,” Gallagher said. “Musicians on the committee are happy with the decision. We’re very enthusiastic about our choice.”

The 45-year-old Platt said he was “joyful beyond words,” and considers his selection as “the capstone to what has been a 20-year odyssey in the upper Midwest.”

The symphony’s board approved the selection Monday. Orchestra musicians were informed of the choice Wednesday night.

“I truly feel, with Alexander, it will allow us to go from good to great,” said Lance Paulson, symphony board president. “He brings a level of maturity, creativity and community involvement to the position.”

Gallagher said the search committee liked Platt’s overall music ability, knowledge and programming. “He submitted a plan that was wonderful, ambitious, visionary, but practical in our times of financial stress,” he said.

The committee also liked Platt’s two decades of conducting experience and his willingness to commit a good amount of time to La Crosse, Gallagher said.

Platt was a finalist  when Mills was selected as conductor/music director of the symphony.

“My job in the next five years is to bring you great, innovative programming, great performances and total community involvement,” Platt said.

Besides the La Crosse job, Platt will continue in his 14th season as music director of the Wisconsin Philharmonic Orchestra in Waukesha, Wis., and his 15th season as music director of the Marion, Ind, Philharmonic.

In the next year, Platt said he plans to move from Chicago to the Twin Cities to be closer to La Crosse. “La Crosse will be my priority, and my job is to bring out the potential I see in this orchestra,” he said.

The first task will be to select the 2010-11 season program by the end of May, Platt said. He said he also plans to conduct the summer pops concert at the Salute to Fourth celebration in Onalaska.

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