It was a mere four months ago  that conductor Troy Quinn took the stage alongside the Venice Symphony as the seventh of seven guest conductors vying for the role of music director. Baton in hand and “hyperspace” jacket across his shoulders, Quinn won over the crowd with an easygoing manner and steady hand, leading the audience in “A Tribute to Music in Cinema,” featuring everything from James Bond to John Williams, including a special performance by world-famous violinist and former New York Philharmonic Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow of the theme to Far and Away, initially recorded in 1992 by Itzhak Perlman, and unperformed since. “I did the best I could and I thought it went very well,” Quinn recalls thinking at the time, quick to downplay his own role. “[Dicterow] is just an incredible artist, and it’s some of the greatest music of all time. I think that was appreciated.” A week or so later, Bob Anderson, president of the Venice Symphony board of directors, was calling Quinn with a job. Quinn deflects again. “I had the advantage of going last,” he says.

But Quinn’s humility belies the rapid ascent of a powerful young conductor already making waves from Florida all the way to Alaska, where he just finished serving as music director with the Juneau Symphony, and across the pond with institutions such as the London Soloists Chamber Orchestra. Based in LA, he’s also entering his second season as music director for the Owensboro Symphony in Kentucky. Navigating the commercial world with equal ease, he’s recorded with artists such as The Rolling Stones and Josh Groban, appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and recorded for films like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Still, something draws him to the sands of Venice. Perhaps it’s the opposite of Juneau. “I’m a warm weather guy, and it helps to have beach and palm trees nearby,” he jokes. But LA has plenty of palm trees and beaches all its own. Venice offers something else. “It’s going to be a fresh beginning,” Quinn says. “It’s going to be exciting to come to the symphony and see what we’re up to.”

The 45th anniversary Sapphire Season begins with gusto as November brings Festa Italia!, featuring Dimitri Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, op. 96, and an ambitious pairing of Ottorino Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome. “Usually those are done separately,” notes Quinn, citing the large scale of the productions as a key difficulty, but not an insurmountable one. “There’s a lot of offstage brass,” he hints. And although Quinn has not been able to personally program much of the upcoming season he will conduct—“You can’t wait until May to have a concert season to sell,” he says—he has been able to add his own bits of flair here and there, such as an injection of versatile composer William Walton into the January concert. In the future, he says, programming will be one of his most important roles as a music director and conductor, but for now he’ll content himself with getting to know the orchestra and community better, and offering his hand in making each performance as good as it can be. “In essence, the conductor’s role is to teach and guide,” Quinn says. “And I take that job seriously—to inspire these players to play their best, and to stay out of the way of the music.”