- Associated Press - Sunday, June 5, 2016

EL DORADO, Ark. (AP) - After recovering from triple-bypass open heart surgery, Kermit Poling, music director for the South Arkansas Symphony, is back to doing what he loves.

He conducted his first concert since his surgery last week as he returned for the First Financial Bank Symphony on the Square, the El Dorado News-Times (https://bit.ly/25D0256 ) reported.

Poling, who has been having pains while conducting for years, went through the surgery on April 5 and had to cancel a number of events he was involved with. After recovering at his home in Shreveport, Louisiana, he is excited to get back to work.

“I feel great,” Poling said. “I love what I do and I’m so glad to get back to it.”

Poling, who was named by Forum Magazine as one of the top ten faces to watch, has served as the music director for the South Arkansas Symphony for 21 years and also serves as the music director for the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet and the Marshall Symphony Orchestra in Texas. He is also the associate conductor of the Shreveport Symphony and he serves as the general manager of Red River Radio public radio network at LSUS.

As a conductor, Poling performs extensively throughout the United States and around the world. He has been featured with numerous orchestras, including the Orchestra of the Province of Lecco, Italy; the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México; the Guanajuato Symphony (Mexico); the Moscow Chamber Orchestra and Moscow Ballet; the Oklahoma City Philharmonic; Filharmonia Veneta; Shenzhen Symphony of China; University of Hartford and many others.

“I’ve been a conductor since I was 15,” Poling said. “I love orchestral music.”

Poling has been involved in music since the age of five and currently plays the violin and piano. Also a composer, Poling’s most recent ballets include “Peter Pan,” premiered by the University of Hartford in 2014 and “Beauty and the Beast,” premiered by Ballet Oklahoma in 2014. His work, “No Sound of Trumpet nor Roll of Drum,” was premiered in 2011, honoring the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.

“Composing is going great and I can’t wait to move forward with it,” Poling said.

Poling received the Outstanding Artist in Music Fellowship in 2000 from the State of Louisiana and twice received a Music Fellowship from the Shreveport Regional Arts Council. His awards include scholarships to the Boston Conservatory of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Tanglewood Music Center, where he studied with Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Gustav Meier and Seiji Ozawa.

In 2005, Maestro Poling served as one of three international judges for China’s National Young Artists Competition with the China National Symphony in Beijing. In 2012, he was awarded a career advancement award from the State of Louisiana. In 1998 he was chosen by Academy Award winning artist William Joyce to compose the music for his stage adaptation of “The Leafmen and the Brave Good Bugs.”

“I want to perform in as many interesting places as I can,” Poling said. “I would also love to write a major symphony for the South Arkansas Symphony.”

The First Financial Bank Symphony on the Square will take place on the east side of the Union County Courthouse in El Dorado and will be free and open to the public. Guest artists include guitarist Matthew Davidson and vocalist Nancy Carey.

“I hope people will take the time to go see the South Arkansas Symphony,” Poling said. “It has so much to offer.”


Information from: El Dorado News-Times, https://www.eldoradonews.com

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