Mr. Lam is Music Director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina, USA and Resident Conductor of the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina. He is also Artistic Director of Hong Kong Voices and Conductor Laureate of the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestras.
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, Memphis, Illinois and Meridian, as well as the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Guiyang Symphony and the Taipei Symphony Orchestra.
In opera, Lam 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, he led critically acclaimed productions at the Spoleto Festival USA, Lincoln Center Festival and at the Luminato Festival in Canada and 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.
Previously he 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.
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.
On October 25, 2015, Lam was presented with a Society of Peabody Alumni Citation for the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association Global Achievement Award. The Alumni Association Global Achievement Award is 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. Ken earned an MA in economics and a law degree from the University of Cambridge in England and spent 10 years as an attorney in London and Hong Kong before turning his focus and energy to music.
Mr. Messersmith attended the Cleveland Institute of Music and received a Bachelor of Music degree (while studying with Franklin Cohen) in 1991. He then went on to receive his Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music while studying with David Breeden (San Francisco Symphony). After graduation, he became the principal clarinet of the Augusta Symphony and performed there for four years. In 1998 he was appointed by national auditions to the Second Clarinet position with the Charleston Symphony, and in 2005 to the Principal Clarinet position. He has performed with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra as co-principal clarinet since 2006.
Along with regular performances with the Charleston Symphony, he performs all around the Lowcountry with local, national, and internationally renowned chamber musicians as well as for Piccolo Spoleto programs in the spring. In the summers he performs in Virginia at the Wintergreen Music Festival in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He has been featured as soloist with the Charleston Symphony on numerous occasions, performing the Copland Clarinet concerto, the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, and the Weber Concerto in f minor. This is the first time Mr. Messersmith has soloed with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Messersmith is on faculty at the College of Charleston and Charleston Southern University, has a thriving private teaching studio, and travels around the greater Charleston area leading masterclasses and clarinet sectionals in elementary schools and high schools.
With tongue-in-cheek, Mr. Messersmith had this to say about himself: Through the formative years of learning, he studied with many great teachers including Mrs Laing, (she was amazed that Charlie would always do just exactly what she asked of him… never more) Mr. Nokes (who told him he would never amount to anything if he didn’t start to practice at least a little… and grow a beard), Mr. Gililand (who told him he had never seen a musician come up with more creative excuses for not practicing than Charlie), he began to practice a little and actually accomplished top prizes in local as well as national competitions. He also fell in love with playing in the orchestra during his tenure with the Sacramento Youth Symphony, and the San Francisco Youth Symphony.