Tom Hall has decided that 35 is the magic number.
As music director of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Hall will step down at the end of the 2017 season, 35 years after he first accepted the baton.
“This is the right time to do this,” he said. “The organization is in really good shape, and I wanted to hand it over at a time when I knew the new person would take it to new heights.”
Hall is only the second music director in the history of the 130-member chorus, which is celebrating its 50th season. His tenure has seen growth in the organization, an expanded relationship with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and other Baltimore arts organizations, four recordings, and two international concert tours.
“His incomparable talents have helped make our chorus a shining beacon of artistic excellence,” board president Richard Dellheim said in a press release.
Hall stresses it was not an easy decision. “It’s emotional,” he said, particularly so when he told the chorus of Monday night, as some members have been with him his entire tenure.
As for what’s next, Hall says he will stay in Baltimore, continue to host WYPR shows including Maryland Morning, and wouldn’t be opposed to guest conducting. He also is up for helping his successor adjust in any way, though he won’t be directly involved in the national search to select that person.
“I’ve had a terrific run, and we’ve never sounded better,” Hall said. “This will be a very good job for somebody.”