Palmer named KWC conductor in residence

By Bobbie Hayse Messenger-Inquirer 

Nick Palmer was named Monday as a distinguished conductor in residence at Kentucky Wesleyan College.

Palmer 2Palmer is the current Owensboro Symphony Orchestra conductor and music director until June 30, which is his official last day with the organization.

Palmer has been the music director and conductor with the symphony for 18 years and is also currently the music director of the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra in Indiana, Evening Under the Stars Music Festival in Massachusetts and the Dubuque Festival Orchestra in Iowa.

He most recently was named music director of North Charleston POPS! in South Carolina.

During a press conference at the college’s Ralph Center for the Arts, Palmer said he would be spending two weeks a month devoted to teaching at KWC. When he’s in Owensboro, he said, he will be at KWC “available to do whatever I can do.”

“I have been so impressed with the growth of the music department (at KWC) over the last several years,” Palmer said. “I have so many fabulous colleagues who I am thrilled to be able to work with more closely, in addition to the students, in any way that I possible can.”

KWC President Barton Darrell said students will also be able to receive career guidance there “from one of the country’s premier conductors and music directors.”

“Our music faculty and department has long been held in the highest regard,” he said. “With Dr. Palmer joining this elite group, the Kentucky Wesleyan College’s music department now moves to an even higher level.”

KWC Music Director Diane Earle said Palmer will be adding to the college’s already-established repertoire of composition and conducting classes. In the new capacity, he will be assisting with composition, especially orchestral, and teach conducting, music appreciation and music history, she said.

“It’s really a coup to have Maestro Palmer on our faculty,” she said. “It’s exciting for our students and our college as well.”

She said that even though he is officially concluding his tenure with the OSO, he will still be involved in the new conductor search for the symphony, which will begin with the 2016-17 season.

Palmer will also be conducting the symphony’s Holiday POPS! concert, as well as the Concert on the Lawn, and concerts at St. Stephen Cathedral and Settle Memorial United Methodist Church, she said.

He and his family will continue to live on their farm in eastern Daviess County, Earle said.

Palmer is a native of Hingham, Massachusetts, who graduated with honors from Harvard University. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in orchestral conducting from the New England Conservatory of Music and the University of Iowa, respectively.

He also studied at Julliard School, Pierre Monteux Domaine School, Aspen Music School, the Festival at Sandpoint and the Academia Chigana in Italy, where he was a student of Franco Ferrara and Carlo Maria Giulini.

He has conducted all over the U.S., Europe and South America, according to Earle.

Bobbie Hayse,, 270-691-7315, Twitter: @BobbieHayseMI