Ken Lam, Artistic Director
Ken Lam is the Director of Orchestral Studies at The Tianjin Juilliard School and resident conductor of the Tianjin Juilliard Orchestra. He is Artistic Adviser of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, resident conductor of the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina and serves as Artistic Director of Hong Kong Voices.
Lam was Music Director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra from 2015 to 2022 and Music Director of Illinois Symphony Orchestra from 2017 to 2022. Previously, Lam also held positions as associate conductor for education of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and principal conductor of the Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra.
In 2011, Lam won the Memphis Symphony Orchestra International Conducting Competition and was a featured conductor in the League of American Orchestra's 2009 Bruno Walter National Conductors Preview with the Nashville Symphony. He made his US professional debut with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in June 2008, as one of four conductors selected by Leonard Slatkin. In recent seasons, he led performances with the symphony orchestras of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Pops, Baltimore, Detroit, Buffalo, Memphis, Hawaii, Brevard and Meridian, as well as the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Seungnam Philharmonic, Guiyang Symphony, and the Taipei Symphony Orchestra.
In opera, he directed numerous productions of the Janiec Opera Company at Brevard and was assistant conductor at Cincinnati Opera, Baltimore Lyric Opera and at the Castleton Festival. In recent seasons, Lam led critically acclaimed productions at the Spoleto Festival USA, Lincoln Center Festival and at the Luminato Festival in Canada. His run of Massenet's Manon at Peabody Conservatory was hailed by the Baltimore Sun as a top ten classical event in the Washington D.C/Baltimore area in 2010.
Lam studied conducting with Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar at Peabody Conservatory, David Zinman and Murry Sidlin at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, and Leonard Slatkin at the National Conducting Institute. He read economics at St. John's College, Cambridge University and was an attorney specializing in international finance for ten years before becoming a conductor.
Lam is the 2015 recipient of the John Hopkins University Alumni Association’s Global Achievement Award, given to individuals who exemplify the Johns Hopkins tradition of excellence and have brought credit to the University and their profession in the international arena.
Jacobsen Woollen, Conductor of Youth Orchestras & Associate Conductor
Jacobsen Woollen is a conductor, cellist, and tenor residing in Springfield, Illinois, where he serves as Associate Conductor of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Conductor of the Illinois Symphony Youth Orchestra, Director of the Springfield Choral Society, and Director of the UIS Orchestra.
An Indiana native, Jacobsen returns to the Midwest after spending six years in Vienna, Austria, where he completed a Post-Graduate Diploma in orchestral conducting under the tutelage of Prof. Mark Stringer at the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, conducted professional ensembles including the Polska Filharmonia Baltycka and Ensemble Ultreia, served as assistant conductor of the Vienna Opera Festival, and led the Schlosschor Hadersfeld. During his Vienna years, Jacobsen was frequently called back to the Midwest to work at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, where he served as assistant conductor and led several workshops for new works, including Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones.
Jacobsen also maintains an active career as a tenor: he recently produced and performed a musical-theatrical concert evening, Lovelace Weave, which explores the father-daughter pair of Lord Byron and Ada Lovelace. As a member of the Grammy-winning Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Jacobsen has participated in opera productions at Theater an der Wien, as well as concerts in Europe’s most renowned venues, including Vienna’s Musikverein and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie.
Prior to his European sojourn, Jacobsen completed a Master’s Degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Michigan under the guidance of Kenneth Kiesler. During this time, he was active in the Ann Arbor musical community as well, serving as founder and director of Paradigm Shift Chamber Orchestra, music director of the Ann Arbor Camerata, and assistant conductor of the Michigan Life Sciences Orchestra.
As a cellist, Jacobsen was a student of Susan Moses in the Indiana University String Academy and later completed a Bachelor’s Degree with Richard Aaron at the University of Michigan. He has appeared as a soloist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, Musical Arts Youth Orchestra, and Voces Novae Chamber Choir. As a chamber musician, he has had the pleasure of collaborating with Joshua Bell, Jaime Laredo, Soovin Kim, and many others. From 2013-16, Jacobsen was cellist and artistic curator with the new-music sextet Latitude 49, and he continues to serve on their Board of Directors.