Present Music’s New Co-Artistic Directors

Posted on: March 22nd, 2019 by Tai Renfrow

Present Music recently announced the appointment of local musician Eric Segnitz and nationally recognized conductor David Bloom as its future Co-Artistic Directors. The combination of Segnitz and Bloom brings dynamic experience as musicians, leaders, and educators to the highly regarded New Music nonprofit.  

Supported by Present Music’s newly established Artistic Advisory Group, the Board of Directors and Founder Kevin Stalheim will officially welcome the new leadership team in July 2019. Stalheim, who is retiring in June, will host a community celebration of his final concert as artistic director on June 1, 2019 at the Pabst Theater.

The combination of the two Co-Artistic Directors – an experienced Ensemble Member here in Milwaukee and a young but established NYC conductor with ties to New Music around the world — will meld their complementary views and talents into creating PM’s concert series. Says Stalheim, “I am absolutely thrilled that Eric Segnitz and David Bloom have been chosen as Co-Artistic Directors of Present Music going forward. I have the greatest respect for their talents which I think will combust into a bright and imaginative future for Present Music. Community Support for keeping Present Music alive has been overwhelming and has inspired me deeply.”

New York, New York – Feb.11, 2016 : Contemporaneous ensemble lead by conductor David Bloom (seen here) plays Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Kate Moore, Fjola Evans and Joanna Newsom at Pioneer Works in Red Hook Brooklyn Credit: Robert Altman

Bloom has served as visiting conductor for Present Music and recently attended the ensemble’s Thanksgiving Concert to gain an appreciation its annual tradition of music and community. On being asked to serve as Co-Artistic Director, Bloom says, “Working with Present Music over the past three years has been one of the highlights of my artistic life. I am excited to join this intrepid organization and to continue its impactful work in the great city of Milwaukee. I am particularly looking forward to working with Eric Segnitz, whose boundless creativity is matched only by his tireless dedication to this ensemble. I am extremely grateful to Present Music’s visionary Board of Directors, stellar musicians, and fantastic audience; to its indomitable manager Tai Renfrow; and to Kevin Stalheim, who has become and will remain an inspiring role model and a great friend.”

Eric Segnitz tapping a music box with a chopstick
Milwaukee, WI – February 22, 2019 – Eric Segnitz leading Angelica Negron’s Here at the Present Music “In the New Chamber” Concert.

Segnitz, who will also continue to perform with the Ensemble, expressed his delight in taking on this new role, saying, “I’m very grateful to the board and founder Kevin Stalheim for the confidence they’ve shown in me, and also to the people who have been so important in the history of the organization- if you say staff don’t have to say managing directors managing directors, board members, staff, audience members, and musicians – for their continued support. I’m genuinely looking forward to working with David Bloom, who is a skilled, smart, and idealistic guy. He brings a fresh outlook and has already built great rapport with musicians and audience alike. Regardless of the direction we take, I’m very confident that we will ALWAYS be recognizably ‘Present Music’”.


A Milwaukee native, Eric Segnitz has had an extensive career in music reaching both local and international audiences through performance, composition, education, and a wide array of music recording and producing projects. Segnitz is a founding member of the Present Music Ensemble and has served as violinist (among many other musical instruments), educator, composer, arranger, and film scorer for the group. He also is a member of the American Federation of Musicians, has played for years with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, and served as guest concertmaster with a number of other Wisconsin symphony orchestras. Segnitz has been the recipient of several music awards and grants from national New Music organizations such as the Aaron Copland Fund, the Argosy Foundation, the Fromm Foundation, and New Music USA.

New York resident David Bloom currently serves as the co-artistic director for the New Music ensemble Contemporaneous, the resident conductor and artistic advisor for the social justice centered orchestra, The Dream Unfinished, and as the conductor for the nation’s only New Music youth orchestra, Face the Music. Bloom has focused his career in New Music, including having served as Music Director or Conductor for several contemporary operas in the United States. Aside from having appeared as a guest conductor for Present Music, Bloom has worked with the Kronos Quartet, Bang on a Can All-Stars, and NOW ensemble, and collaborated with composers such as Missy Mazzoli, Julia Wolfe, David Lang, and Andrew Norman.