Carlos Miguel Prieto conducts the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra as Doreen Ketchens performs on the clarinet during the annual Swing in the Oaks concert at the Peristyle in New Orleans, Tuesday, April 25, 2023. (Photo by Sophia Germer,, The Times-Picayune)

Moving to New Orleans is always an adventure, but Carlos Miguel Prieto could never have anticipated how topsy-turvy his first years as music director and conductor of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra would be.

Prieto came to town in 2005, just months before Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods pummeled the city, badly damaged the orchestra’s Orpheum Theater home and scattered its musicians far and wide.

His delayed debut in 2006 became an important step on the long road back.

"If you're looking for signs of recovery, come see the LPO," Prieto said at the time.

He wasn’t wrong. Under Prieto’s exuberant leadership, the musician-owned orchestra didn’t just survive; it thrived, playing in various venues around the area before finally returning to the Orpheum 10 years after the storm. On the program that night, fittingly, was Mahler’s "Resurrection" Symphony.

Over 17 years, Prieto helmed an orchestra that became known and loved for its technical skill and ambition, and also its accessibility; the LPO on his watch might offer up standard symphony fare one week, and partner with musicians from the one city’s many other genres the next.

We thank Prieto for his time here and wish him well in his future adventures — and hope, for his sake, that they may be a little less dramatic.