San Antonio Symphony regulars will notice a missing person in upcoming concerts, a fixture in the organization for the past five years.
"I am excited. I am also sad to leave San Antonio," says Akiko Fujimoto.
When Akiko Fujimoto moved here from Virginia to become the symphony's associate conductor, she didn't know the city would claim such a place in her heart.
"You can be sure that I'm going to miss the warm climate here. The sunshine and everything that San Antonio has to offer. It's bittersweet. But I'm also very excited to grow in a new environment with new challenges and a new orchestra. So I'm really looking forward to it," she says.
Her new home will be Minneapolis and her new orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra. At $31.7 million, the Grammy Award-winning orchestra's budget is more than four times the size of the San Antonio Symphony.
"At the Minnesota Orchestra I will be the Assistant Conductor, and I will be conducting the education concerts, community concerts, and also covering for the Music Director," Fujimoto says.
The Minnesota Orchestra has a home that was built specifically for it, a facility called Orchestra Hall.
"It's right in the heart of downtown," she says. "Beautiful space, great acoustics"
The Minnesota Orchestra does something that few others do – they go on tour.
"They're actually known for touring, every couple of years. Last year – this past season – was a tour year," she explains.
In the meantime, Ms. Fujimoto will wrap up her time with the San Antonio Symphony next month.
"It ends with the Cirque de la Symphonie, at the Black Box in June. And I will start in Minnesota September first," she says. "It's been a great run, all thanks to the support of the community and of course, the orchestra, the musicians."
One note for Fujimoto fans: she will be back next season to again conduct the San Antonio Symphony, dates to be announced.
For a bio on Ms. Fujimoto, go here.