S.C. Phil renews Morihiko Nakahara

Contract extension runs through 2025

Nakahara, wearing a neon yellow Columbia Fireflies jersey, conducts the orchestra at the Fireflies' ballpark at dusk.

Nakahara and South Carolina Philharmonic musicians perform to a sold-out concert at the Columbia Fireflies’ Segra Park July 3, 2021. Provided photo.

South Carolina Philharmonic Music Director Morihiko Nakahara has renewed his contract with the organization through the 2024/2025 season.

Nakahara joined the S.C. Philharmonic as conductor and music director in 2008.

“I am thrilled to continue making music with our committed and talented musicians and sharing that music with listeners throughout the Midlands and beyond. The COVID-19 pandemic of the last 15 months cemented my belief that the [South Carolina] Philharmonic is a special organization. Our musicians, staff and board members have navigated these challenging times with innovation, determination and an open mind. Music connects us and brings us together, and I look forward to playing my part to connect our orchestra with more South Carolinians over the next few years,” Nakahara said.

“We are so pleased and privileged to have Morihiko Nakahara continue as our Maestro for the South Carolina Philharmonic. His leadership is an unequivocal success,” said Concertmaster Mary Lee Taylor Kinosian.

“His work, along that of our wonderful executive director, Rhonda Hunsinger, has put us into a whole new sphere of musical achievements.”

Immediate Past Board President Lynn Hodge praised Nakahara.

“We are very excited to announce Morihiko Nakahara’s contract renewal. His charismatic personality, imaginative programming and dynamic performances have earned him widespread acclaim and a loyal following in the Midlands. The Philharmonic Board greatly values Nakahara’s artistic vision and commitment to ongoing excellence.  We look forward to his continued leadership in taking the Philharmonic to new heights,” Hodge said.

A passionate baseball fan, he and the orchestra recently played to a sold-out crowd of around 5,000 at the Columbia Fireflies’ Segra Park. The patriotic and Americana-themed concert was performed on the ballpark’s infield and concluded with a large fireworks display set to music. Today’s news coincides with the recent announcement of the orchestra’s 58th season to begin this fall. The opening Masterworks concert is Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 at the Koger Center for the Arts.