The Winston-Salem Symphony is thrilled to announce the appointment of Michelle Merrill as the new Music Director for the Symphony.An announcement event was held on Tuesday, June 20, at the Gas Hill Drinking Room.

 Michelle Merrill will hold the honorable role of the Symphony’s first female Music Director and the only woman to lead a professional orchestra in the Carolinas. An acclaimed conductor and experienced music educator, Merrill was one of six candidates in a highly competitive international search process. Merrill has inspired audiences nationwide with her sharply detailed and vibrant performances. A passionate and dynamic artist, she served four years as the Assistant and then Associate Conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, where she also carried the title of Phillip and Lauren Fisher Community Ambassador. Merrill currently serves as the Music Director of the Coastal Symphony of Georgia, where she ignited the growth and expansion of the orchestra’s offerings both on and off the stage.

Looking forward to the new appointment, Michelle Merrill stated, “It is truly a privilege to be named Music Director of the Winston-Salem Symphony…I believe that we can make the Symphony’s programs relevant to people from all walks of life, creating experiences that invite as many people as possible to personally experience the joy of this great art…As the Symphony’s next artistic leader, I hope to continue the traditions that have been cultivated over the past 76 years while adding my own style and perspective.”

“The Winston-Salem Symphony is thrilled to welcome Michelle as our new artistic leader. A gifted creative professional, and a warm and welcoming human being, her passion and enthusiasm for the Symphony’s potential to grow and enhance its service to the community is infectious. We can’t wait to see where her innovative leadership, and the lovely way she makes every person she meets feel special, takes us,” said E. Merritt Vale, Winston-Salem Symphony President & CEO.  

Jay Reed, Chair of the Winston-Salem Symphony Board of Directors, added, “We are grateful to Search Committee Chair Dr. Cindy Rothschild and all the members of the Committee who brought us to this exciting conclusion. Michelle demonstrates an unmatched ability to connect with this community and to reach people in a way that will make the Winston-Salem Symphony a more inclusive, relevant, and exciting cornerstone of our arts community.”


Merrill celebrates her first concerts in the role of Music Director on Saturday, September 23, and Sunday, September 24, with a program featuring Brahms Violin Concerto when guest artist Kristen Lee makes her Winston-Salem debut. The season features works from Tchaikovsky, Debussy, and Beethoven, with guest artists including Michelle Cann, Edgar Meyer, and Joe Lovano. The Pops season includes Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, The Music of Fleetwood Mac, and Nia Imani Franklin returning with an evening of gospel and R&B. The annual A Carolina Christmas continues when the Symphony plays live with the classic holiday film “Home Alone.” Subscriptions are now available for the season. Single tickets are available on August 1.


Proud to be one of the Southeast’s most highly regarded regional orchestras, the Winston-Salem Symphony enters its 76th season, inspiring listeners of all ages throughout North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad with various concerts, education programs, and community engagement initiatives each year. Website Linked HERE.