Currently the associate conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C., Emil de Cou will assume the post vacated by longtime PNB music director and conductor Stewart Kershaw.

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Pacific Northwest Ballet has ended its search for a new music director: Emil de Cou, currently the associate conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C., has been hired to replace longtime maestro Stewart Kershaw, who retired last fall. De Cou will conduct performances of “Cinderella” (February) and “Giselle” (June) in PNB’s 2010-11 season, and will join the company full-time in September 2011, overseeing all musical aspects of every production.

Originally from Los Angeles, de Cou has a long history in classical music, both in and out of the ballet world. In 1985, he was hired by Mikhail Baryshnikov as conductor of American Ballet Theatre, where he spent eight seasons, followed by seven years on the staff of San Francisco Ballet. Other ballet companies on his résumé include New York City Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Netherlands Dance Theatre and Hong Kong Ballet.

De Cou has also been a guest conductor for numerous orchestras, including the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall and the orchestras of Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, Saint Louis, Detroit, Montreal, Boston Pops and others. He has been with the National Symphony Orchestra for eight seasons, where he is the conductor of the NSO @ Wolf Trap Festival, and is also a musical consultant for NASA.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

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