UPDATED 3:04 p.m. Monday with a statement from Ken Hakoda
The Salina Symphony announced today that Ken Hakoda has resigned as music director and conductor of the symphony.
“Ken’s love of music was evident to anyone who watched him conduct,” said Gordon Gorton, symphony board president. “We are grateful for the 15 years of dedicated service Ken gave to the Symphony and to the Salina community.”
The symphony has named David Littrell as interim conductor for the 2019-2020 season. Littrell retired in 2018 as a distinguished professor of music at Kansas State University, where he conducted the University Orchestra and taught cello and double bass.
Following is a statement from Hakoda.
Through the Salina Symphony, I was able to fulfill my dream of being a conductor, conducting major symphonies and compositions by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Mahler, and also produce productions like the symphony at the sunset and Christmas festivals. I’m very thankful for the symphony board, musicians, staff and community members for all the support over years.
My next step is going home to Japan and work on my next dream. I left my family in Japan when I was 16, and have lived in the United States for 30 years (16 of which were in Salina). My parents are getting older and have battled major illnesses in recent years. I felt this would give me opportunities to spend more time with them and also learn from them the new skills for my next step. I’m very excited for the new opportunity and a dream in Japan.