Pass the Baton | Missoula Symphony finalist Scott Seaton

North State Symphony music director leads orchestra in two concerts, Feb. 29-March 1

On Stage

The Missoula Symphony Orchestra & Chorale continues its “Pass the Baton” season Feb. 29 and March 1 with concerts featuring conductor candidate Scott Seaton. During this unique concert season, five candidates from around the world are seeking the position of music director. Each candidate has selected a unique program showcasing their talents and distinct styles.

At the fourth masterworks concert of the season, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 29 and 3 p.m. March 1 at the University of Montana Dennison Theatre, Seaton will showcase his “finesse, clarity, and precision.” (Luxembourg Times).

Seaton is in his fourth season as music director of the North State Symphony in Northern California where he has garnered acclaim for his dynamic performances and innovative programming, as well as community and youth outreach. Seaton won the 2011 INTERAKTION competition and was given the opportunity to conduct an orchestra composed of all of Germany’s top orchestras. He is an enthusiastic advocate of contemporary music and also enjoys conducting opera.

Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, Seaton has earned degrees from the Université de Montréal, the New England Conservatory, and Vanderbilt University.  He has also studied at Tanglewood and the National Conducting Institute sponsored by the National Symphony Orchestra.

“… If fireworks could conduct, they’d be named Seaton. His movements ranged from as controlled and explosive as a prize fighter to as fluid and delicate as a ballet dancer.” (

An avid cyclist and runner, Seaton recently did a solo coast-to-coast cycling expedition from Oregon to Massachusetts.  As a marathoner, he has run races in Los Angeles, Calgary, Vancouver, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, and Fargo, to name a few, and qualified for, and ran in, the 2018 Boston Marathon.

Seaton told MSO percussionist Joe Nickell in an online interview that his only previous visit to Missoula was aboard a bicycle, although he knows, and has closely followed the career of former music director Darko Butorac.

As to his approach to serving MSO and the community beyond wielding the baton, he says: “Being out in the community, being visible, talking to people, getting them excited about music, getting them excited about the organization, talking about potential collaborations, finding new and exciting things to do and to experiment with and to take these risks — that’s where the real discovery of the potential of the organization rests.

“You can’t grow unless you actually find ways to grow. If you don’t make these relationships, then you’re trying to grow in a vacuum and that’s just not going to work.”

He and his wife, Julia, reside in Monterey, CA.

About the Masterworks Concert

Masterworks Series #4 concertgoers will hear guest artist Chee-Yun Kim on violin in the Sibelius Violin Concerto – one of the greatest and most deeply moving violin pieces of the repertoire. Chee-Yun, a violinist from Seoul, South Korea, is known for flawless technique, dazzling tone and compelling.

Michael Torke’s Javelin – a ceremonial and pomp-infused contemporary piece – and Dvorak’s cheerful and confident Symphony No. 8 round out the program.

Find tickets and more information online.