Former OSO conductor busy with teaching, conducting

Photo by Alisha Sims

Nicholas Palmer started as the music director for the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra in 1998. He was the longest serving music director in the history of OSO.

Former Owensboro Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor Nick Palmer said he has continued to be heavily involved with music since leaving OSO, traveling the country and parts of Europe as a guest conductor and moving further into his role as music director of the North Charleston POPS!

"I've been doing a lot of guest conducting with different orchestras across the country and also in Europe and doing some recording projects, which really keeps me busy," he said.

Palmer currently works with Kentucky Wesleyan College where he was appointed as the distinguished conductor in residence in 2016. At KWC, he works with students in conducting and composition.

He also began working as the music director for the Lafayette Symphony in Indiana in 2007. He said that he is in his 13th season with the Lafayette Symphony, which is similar to OSO.

"We're doing a lot of very creative programming and new projects there and it's an exciting place to work," Palmer said.

Palmer is also working with the North Charleston POPS! in South Carolina, where he is currently in his fourth season as music director.

In an interview with the Charleston City Paper, Palmer said "The North Charleston Pops continues to see exciting growth and development ... Our educational program, called PopsKidz, allows us to give private lessons to North Charleston students," he said. "We plan to add a full orchestra component this season as well as a special pops concert just for children."

Palmer was hired as the OSO music director in 1998 and conducted for a total of 18 seasons, which he said was the longest-serving music director tenure in the history of OSO. During his time there, he said the symphony encountered several positive transitions.

"It was an exciting time for the orchestra. We added a lot of concerts and events and we moved to our new office which is right next to RiverPark, and added a lot of educational programs," Palmer said.

He said that during his time as the OSO music director, the symphony was also able to start giving private lessons and classes for children.

Palmer left OSO in 2015 when he took a job as the conductor of the North Charleston POPS!

"I'm moving more and more into doing pops conducting, so that would be popular music, like movie music, broadway, stuff like that, and that's all we do in North Charleston," Palmer said.

Additionally, Palmer worked in London with the London Philharmonic Orchestra recording music written by American composer Arnold Rosner. He conducted on two recordings that were done at Studio One at Abbey Road, releasing two CDs in 2017. He also conducted on "Requiem," which was recorded at Abbey Road in July 2018.

Palmer said Requiem was a large-scale orchestra piece with a 95-piece orchestra and a 90-voice chorus. He said the chorus that performed on the recording was the Crouch End Festival Chorus that also did the background voices in the 2019 movie "Rocketman."

Requiem is 70 minutes long and is in seven different languages, according to Palmer.

Palmer has a home in both Owensboro and Charleston, South Carolina, and currently splits his time between working with KWC and the North Charleston POPS!, 270-691-7360

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