As Timothy Muffitt bids Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra farewell, he reflects on more than 20 years as its music director

After 20 seasons with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, it’s time for Timothy Muffitt to say goodbye. Since 1999, he has led the orchestra as music director and conductor.

During his tenure, he was simultaneously directing orchestras in Lansing, Michigan, and Chautauqua, New York, as well. He also served as host for WRKF’s classical radio show “Sunday Classics.”

Now, Muffitt is ready for a change of pace. This May, the Michigan native is stepping down from in front of the orchestra and transitioning into a new role as the local symphony’s music director laureate. His new position will be less hands-on, but he still plans to return often and support the orchestra as it searches for its next music director.

225 caught up with Muffitt to learn about his plans for the future and hear some of his favorite memories. brso.org

What was your favorite part about being music director at BRSO?

The interactions with the community. Music was the medium, but orchestras are about community building also. It was a great thrill to work with the incredible musicians of the orchestra with the job being to bring the people of Baton Rouge together to celebrate and enjoy great music.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time at BRSO?

I have a few. When what we do is play concerts of the world’s greatest music, every concert is a special and memorable event. I think the things that really stand out as powerful memories are those events that were especially significant to the community. For example, the concert we did called Louisiana Gospel Tradition [in 2013], where we had gospel choirs from all over the city—black and white—coming together in one place, on one night, to make and enjoy music.

If you could go back and do one thing differently, what would it be?

Nothing. I feel like as an organization we consistently brought a great product to this community, and I’m very proud of that.

What are your plans for the future?

In my business, it’s important to shake things up once in a while. My plan is to create a little space and see what might step into that space. I’ll still be involved with the BRSO for a few years to come as music director laureate. I’ll be much less involved with the day-to-day operations of the organization, but I’ll still be a resource to ease the transition to a new music director.

Performing arts events to check out now until June

Opera Louisiane

April 3 and 5
The Tales of Hoffmann, an operatic thriller about a poet, his muse and the quest for love LSU Union Theater uniontheater.lsu.edu

April 14, 16, 22 and 26
Classic music lovers will have multiple chances to see LSU’s Jazz Ensemble, Symphonic Winds, Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble perform.

Baton Rouge Symphony

April 24
Watch Timothy Muffitt’s final concert as music director of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra at First Baptist Church starting at 6:30 p.m. The orchestra will play Beethoven’s Ninth followed by a gala tribute to Muffitt, 8-10 p.m., at The Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center. The gala will feature food, drinks, music, entertainment and the launch of the Timothy Muffitt Artistic Excellence Fund. The fund will be used as supplemental funding for performances outside BRSO’s normal budget but considered artistically important to bring to Baton Rouge. Tickets to the gala are $175.

Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre

May 1-2
She Moves…, a mixed bill dance production inspired by the anniversary of the Woman’s Suffrage Act

Theatre Baton Rouge

April 17-May 3
Anything Goes, the classic Broadway musical

May 15-24
How I Learned To Drive, an off-Broadway memory play by Paula Vogel

June 12-28
Matilda, a musical based on the 1988 Roald Dahl children’s novel

LSU Theatre and Swine Palace

April 22-May 3
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, based on the classic Shakespeare play

New Venture Theatre

April 26
“One Night Only,” an annual fundraiser this year featuring performers covering classics from Luther Vandross

June 19-21
The Bodyguard, a musical adaption of the famed Whitney Houston film

Christian Youth Theatre of Baton Rouge

May 21-24
Godspell, blending a range of song styles to tell the story of Jesus’ life

Playmakers of Baton Rouge

May 29-June 7
School of Rock The Musical, based on the 2003 film with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber

This article was originally published in the April 2020 issue of 225 Magazine.