The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is saying goodbye to one of its conductors and extending the contract of another.

Assistant conductor Joseph Young, who led the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra for three years, is moving to the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. The contract of principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles, meanwhile, has been extended two years through the 2018/19 season.

Joseph Young (left) and Donald Runnicles.
Men with batons: Joseph Young (left) and Donald Runnicles.

At the Peabody, Young becomes the Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Artistic Director of Ensembles. He’ll lead the programming and direction of all instrumental ensembles and work with Baltimore Symphony music director Marin Alsop, who leads the graduate conducting program. Young, who’s in his mid-30s, was chosen after an international search. Stephen Mulligan, a Baltimore native and freelance conductor, succeeds Young. He joins the ASO in the fall for the 2017/18 season.


His new gig is a homecoming. In 2007, Young became the first recipient of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra-Peabody Conducting Fellowship, studying with Alsop and others.

In his three years with the ASO, Young has been the primary conductor for all education, community and ASYO concerts, a job considered a career steppingstone. He joins the Peabody as it prepares to launch a new curriculum model designed to help students hone performance, career development and citizen artistry skills in order to meet the demands of today’s classical music world.

The Runnicles agreement will extend the guest conductor’s ASO tenure to 18 years. Like music director Robert Spano, Runnicles joined the orchestra during the 2001/02 season. He will continue to appear as a guest conductor for about four weeks each season.