GALVESTON — Trond Saeverud will be appearing as a guest conductor with the Galveston Symphony Orchestra, but he really is more of a resident.

Saeverud and his wife, visual artist Joan Siem, have been splitting time between Maine and Galveston.

“We have been down here every winter for close to 16 years,” he said.

Saeverud will be performing with the symphony Sunday and March 10 as part of the GSO’s search for a new resident conductor. Richard Pickar, who served as the symphony’s conductor since its founding in 1979, left after the 2011-12 season.

The concerts are essentially auditions for the resident conductor job, but Saeverud was not solely interested in pleasing the search group.

“This is part of their conductor’s search, so I wanted to show a bit of variety in the repertoire that I can do as a conductor,” he said. “But mostly it is to make a concert that is enjoyable for the audience and for the orchestra to play.”

The Sunday show will be a vigorous performance.

“The first one is kind of a heroic program,” Saeverud said. “We’ll start with the ‘William Tell Overture’ by Rossini. Then continue with a very early work by Richard Strauss, a beautiful wind serenade. He later became very heroic in his music, so that is the connection there.

“Before the intermission, we will have ‘Finlandia.’ After the intermission we have ‘Eroica,’ Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3.”

In the second performance, Saeverud will get a chance to shine on his instrument.

“The concert on March 10 includes ‘Lark Ascending,’ where I’ll play a solo on the violin,” he said.

Getting the chance to perform at The Grand 1894 Opera House is a plus.

“It’s a beautiful place,” Saeverud said. “I played solo there some years ago with the orchestra on violin and I really enjoyed that. I have always enjoyed beautiful, historic buildings, and this is one. It has savoir faire. It has class. It has style. It inspires your performance.”

Born in Norway, Saeverud comes from a musical family. His father, Ketil Hvoslef, and grandfather Harald Saeverud are noted composers. His grandfather, in particular, is considered to be one of his country’s greats.

“I remember playing my grandfather’s violin concerto,” Saeverud said. “As a 20-year-old, I was concerned with what he thought about my playing, but as a composer, he listens to the piece differently. Afterward, he rushed on stage and instead of saying anything about me, he said ‘I have to do something about the horn parts.’ That wasn’t a very satisfying response.”

Coinciding with the March 10 performance, the GSO will also host an art competition for students Kindergarten through 12th. Works should be inspired by “Lark Ascending.”

The deadline for submissions is Feb. 28. Entries must be submitted as JPEGs to

Contact reporter John DeLapp at 409-683-5244 or


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