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July 13, 2020 - While many organizations have had to cancel planned events until 2021, the Savannah Philharmonic (SavPhil) remains committed to delivering entertainment and inspiration to the community. Carefully prioritizing safety above all other considerations, SavPhil musicians are set to delight audiences this fall, as Keitaro Harada, the organization’s Music and Artistic Director, has crafted a compelling, revised schedule for 2020/21.

"My heart goes out to those who have been affected by COVID-19,” Harada says. “This pandemic has challenged our team to step away from the traditional form of concertizing and seek new ways of bringing music to our community. Savannah is my new home and I am extremely excited to start my inaugural season sharing the beautiful music-making with our musicians." 

According to Edward J. Lada, SavPhil’s Director of Artistic Operations, "Art is more important than ever right now, whether it's uplifting, enlightening, entertaining, or just simply distracting. To adapt to the current crisis, we're rapidly developing a digital platform that will allow anyone to experience SavPhil’s art from anywhere in the world. But this will not be a replacement for live performances; we see it as an extra option that will remain available for our audience in the future." 

SavPhil is working closely with local venue operators who share the orchestral organization’s devotion to the health and safety of its musicians, patrons, and staff. Lada notes, “Performances will be both indoors; where we can ensure adequate ventilation, sterilization, and space for our performers and audience; as well as outdoors. Details will be released in the fall as we confirm specifics.”

Ticket holders for the previously announced 2020/21 are eligible for refunds, which will be issued beginning Monday, July 13.

SavPhil serves as a cultural beacon for the region, and the orchestra’s profile continues to grow internationally, too. In addition to his steadfast leadership of SavPhil’s artistic endeavors, Harada has been named Associate Conductor of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra.

“I feel incredibly lucky to join two important musical families in Savannah and Tokyo,” Harada says enthusiastically. My role as Music and Artistic Director of the Savannah Philharmonic will remain my primary responsibility and Savannah will be our main residence for our family. I take SavPhil with me everywhere I go. Every time I conduct, I represent Savannah.”

Scott Lauretti, chairman of the organization’s board of directors said, “Kei’s exceptional artistic and leadership credentials and skills wowed our music director search committee from the moment we met him. When Kei walked out of the room after our first meeting, we looked around the table at each other and said, seemingly in unison, ‘He’s the one.’ His musicianship, charm and charisma have quickly endeared him to both our traditional audiences and new friends of the Philharmonic. 

“Kei is an ascendant star in the orchestra world, and he performs globally, to the delight of international audiences. His forthcoming appointment with the Tokyo Symphony, a logical complement to his unflinching commitment at the helm of SavPhil, is a great honor for Kei and for our organization. From his platform in Asia, when he’s not performing with us and building a world-class artistic asset for his Savannah neighbors, Kei will represent us proudly and elevate our stature among globally-relevant and forward-thinking arts organizations.”

Along with these exciting announcements, SavPhil names its 2020/21 Board of Directors: 


  • Scott Lauretti – Chair
  • Bud Green – Vice Chair
  • Wim Salien- Treasurer
  • Phyllis Albertson – Secretary
  • Nina Eidell – Executive Committee Delegate
  • Kelley Parker– Executive Committee Delegate
  • Susan Whitaker – Executive Committee Delegate
  • Rhegan White-Clemm – Immediate Past Chair

Board Members

  • Carol Bell
  • Carolyn Brown
  • Patricia Clark
  • Staci Donegan
  • Rachel Fields
  • Dick Foster
  • Dr. Joel Greenberg
  • Lyon Jemison
  • Diana Langer
  • Marek Lewanda
  • Roger Moss
  • Daphne Nash
  • Samir Nikocevic
  • Terri O’Neil
  • Michael Thames
  • Mel Whitehead

Ex Officio

  • Keitaro Harada – Music & Artistic Director

The Savannah Philharmonic is a professional orchestra presenting a full range of concerts each season from classics to pops. Savannah Philharmonic Chorus is a community-based auditioned ensemble that performs regularly with the orchestra and in chorus-only concerts. Both are 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations.

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