Eastern Festival Orchestra
Festival Orchestra Series
Cynthia Phelps, viola
Villano y Ricercare: Adagietto – Andante moderato
Españolet and Fanfare for the Cavalry: Adagio – Allegretto molto ritmico
Dance of the Axes: Allegro con brio
Canario: Allegro ma non troppo
Jason Vieaux, guitar
2018 marks GERARD SCHWARZ’ 14th year with EMF. He joined EMF as Music Advisor in 2005, became Principal Conductor in 2006 and music director in 2008.
Schwarz is music director of The All-Star Orchestra, an ensemble of top musicians from America’s leading orchestras which includes eight members of the EMF faculty. The All-Star Orchestra is featured in 16 television shows that have aired throughout the U.S. on PBS reaching millions of viewers with over 2,000 broadcasts per year. It is the basis for their Khan Academy education platform serving over six million students. As in baseball, Schwarz created an “all-star” team of top musicians to encourage a greater understanding and enjoyment of classical music. All shows have been released by Naxos and have been awarded six Emmy Awards and the Deems Taylor Television Broadcast Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
Schwarz is also music director of the Mozart Orchestra of New York, conductor emeritus of the Mostly Mozart Festival and conductor laureate of the Seattle Symphony. He is a renowned interpreter of 19th century German, Austrian and Russian repertoire, in addition to his noted work with contemporary American composers, and performs internationally as guest conductor with the world's most renowned orchestras.
2017 marked his 70th birthday year and was celebrated by the release of his much-anticipated book Gerard Schwarz: Behind the Baton. An American Icon talks Music and the internationally critically acclaimed 30 CD boxed set by Naxos, The Gerard Schwarz Collection containing previously unreleased and limited release works spanning his entire recording career.
With more than 300 world premieres to his credit, Schwarz has always felt strongly about commissioning and performing new music. As EMF Music Director, he initiated the Bonnie McElveen-Hunter 10-year Commissioning Project that has thus far commissioned John Corigliano, Richard Danielpour, Lowell Liebermann, André Previn and HyeKyung Lee.
During Schwarz’ tenure with the Festival, he has expanded audiences to the largest in its history, incorporated a composer in residence program, developed three new concert series and added new educational initiatives. The Festival Orchestra has also recorded a critically praised recording of the music of Alan Hovhaness for Naxos.
A prolific recording artist, Schwarz’s total discography numbers over 350. His pioneering cycles of American symphonists such as William Schuman, David Diamond, and Howard Hanson have received high critical praise, as have his acclaimed series of Stravinsky ballets, symphony cycles of Robert Schumann, Gustav Mahler and Dmitri Shostakovich as well as orchestral works of Wagner, Strauss, and Rimsky-Korsakov.
More than 50 discs featuring Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony – with works by 54 composers ranging from the Baroque to contemporary periods – were released in the last four years on Naxos, Delos, Artek and Brilliance Audio. Representing the breadth and depth of the conductor’s vast repertoire, the recordings vary in genre, including major 20th-century ballets by Stravinsky, Strauss, Bartók, Ravel, and Prokofiev, as well as multi-disc cycles of works by
Schumann, Strauss, Wagner, and Stravinsky. Schwarz’ dedication to the promotion of American music is also represented with recordings featuring the works of 26 American composers.
The Hanson cycle, first released on Delos, was a mainstay on Billboard’s classical music best-selling list for 41 weeks; earned Grammy nominations and was named 1989 Record of the Year by Stereo Review. The new Russian series on Naxos has been acclaimed as “a high point in the extensive Schwarz/Seattle discography” (Classics Today), “very fine” (The Guardian) and “a powerhouse in Russian Romantic repertoire” (Music Web International). In addition to his numerous recordings with the Seattle Symphony, he has also recorded with the Berlin Radio Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Juilliard Orchestra, London Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Symphony, New York Chamber Symphony, Orchestre National de France, Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic and, of course, EMF. His most recent release is of Rimsky-Korsakov’s 1st and 3rd Symphonies with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra.
The Maestro’s long-standing commitment to education continues through his partnership with The All-Star Orchestra and Kahn Academy, the ground-breaking organization that provides a free world-class education to anyone anywhere. Thus far their educational platform has reached over 6 million students.
A gifted composer and arranger, Schwarz has expanded his compositional activities in recent years. His Trio for Violin, Horn, and Piano was called a work of “sophistication and intelligence” by The Seattle Post Intelligencer. Earlier works include In Memoriam and Rudolf and Jeanette (dedicated to the memory of his grandparents who perished in the Holocaust), both recorded by Naxos; Human Spirit, a composition for choir and orchestra and his duos for violin and cello was called “redolent of the gentle humanism central to much of the music Schwarz loves to conduct” by The Seattle Times.
His arrangements of suites from Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier, Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel as well as many orchestral works are programmed in concerts worldwide. A Journey, a large-scale orchestral tone poem, was commissioned by Dave Gannet and received its world premiere at EMF in July 2012. Above and Beyond, Schwarz’s work for concert band was premiered by the U.S. Marine Band in 2013 and is now available on Naxos. His newest work for that ensemble, a new version of Rudolf and Jeannette, was premiered in February 2016. His orchestral work A Poem was recently given its first performance by the Hartford Symphony. Last season presented premieres at Barge Music in New York and with The Symphonia, Boca Raton in Florida.
A sought-after guest conductor, Schwarz has led the most renowned orchestras throughout the world. He is also known for his operatic performances in addition to his concert work, having appeared with the Juilliard Opera, Kirov Opera, Mostly Mozart Festival, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera and Washington National Opera conducting the operas of Wagner, Verdi, Janáček, Strauss, Mozart, Bizet, Weber, Debussy, Bartók, Stravinsky, Beethoven and Gluck.
Born in America to Viennese parents, Schwarz began studying piano at the age of 5 and soon focused on the trumpet. A graduate of both New York City's High School of Performing Arts and The Juilliard School, he joined the New York Philharmonic in 1972 as co-principal trumpet, a position he held until 1977. Schwarz’s numerous previous positions include music director of New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival (1982-2001), where he presided over sold-out houses, developed the orchestra’s international touring, maintained a nine-year residency in Tokyo, considerably expanded its Mozart repertoire lead numerous televised Live from Lincoln Center appearances. His tenure as music director of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra initiated the long-standing partnership between the orchestra and Classic FM, expanded recordings on the RLPO Live label, initiated a new partnership with Avie records created the enormously popular Sunday matinee Musically Speaking concert series, led highly acclaimed tours to Spain and Prague and brought the orchestra to National Television in BBC Proms broadcasts. As music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and New York Chamber Symphony, he expanded concert series and audiences, made award-winning recordings and championed new works. In addition, he served as artistic advisor to the Tokyo Philharmonic.
Gerard Schwarz completed his final season as music director of the Seattle Symphony in 2011 after an acclaimed 26 years. During his leadership, Schwarz was instrumental in the building of Benaroya Hall, spearheading efforts that resulted in the acoustically superb new home for the Seattle Symphony. The many legacies of his extraordinary leadership in Seattle include a critically acclaimed discography of more than 140 recordings; numerous television programs and concert broadcasts resulting in two Emmy Awards; major strides in music education programs including new series and the successful Soundbridge Seattle Symphony Music Discovery Center; regular programming of innovative themed festival weeks; in addition to dramatically increased audience attendance and classical subscription weeks. Schwarz’ final season in Seattle was emblematic of the conductor’s passionate dedication and support for contemporary music, with a total of 22 world premieres, 18 of these premieres being a part of the Gund/Simonyi Farewell Commissions, an unprecedented commissioning initiative celebrating his farewell season as music director.
In his nearly five decades as a respected classical musician and conductor, Schwarz has received hundreds of honors and accolades. Over the years, he has received six Emmy Awards, 14 Grammy nominations, 8 ASCAP Awards and numerous Stereo Review and Ovation Awards. He holds the Ditson Conductor’s Award from Columbia University, was the first American named conductor of the year by Musical America and has received numerous honorary doctorates, including from his alma mater, The Juilliard School. In 2002 the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers honored Schwarz with its Concert Music Award and in 2003 the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences gave Schwarz its first IMPACT lifetime achievement award.
Active in music advocacy on a national and state level, he served on the National Council of the Arts and is honorary chairman of the Board of Young Musicians Excelling, an organization in Washington State which supports music education in the Pacific Northwest. The City of Seattle recognized his outstanding achievements by naming the street alongside the Benaroya Hall “Gerard Schwarz Place” and the State of Washington gave him the honorary title of “General” for his extraordinary contributions as an artist and citizen.
Grammy-winner Jason Vieaux, “among the elite of today's classical guitarists” (Gramophone), is the guitarist that goes beyond the classical. NPR describes Vieaux as, “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation.” His most recent solo album, Play, won the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo and earned a place on NPR’s “50 Favorite Songs of 2014 (So Far)” for Vieaux’s recording of “Zapateado.”
Vieaux has earned a reputation for putting his expressiveness and virtuosity at the service of a remarkably wide range of music, and his schedule of performing, teaching, and recording commitments is distinguished throughout the U.S. and abroad. His solo recitals have been a feature at every major guitar series in North America and at many of the important guitar festivals in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Mexico.
Vieaux returned to the Caramoor Festival as the 2017 Artist-in-Residence, a distinguished position which has been held by pianist Jonathan Biss, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and many other world-class musicians in recent years. Other recent and future highlights include returns to the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, New York's 92Y, Ravinia Festival, and performances at Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colon, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Seoul Arts Center, and Shanghai Concert Hall. Vieaux’s appearances for Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Bard Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Strings Music Festival, Grand Teton, and many others have forged his reputation as a first-rate chamber musician and programmer. He collaborates in recitals this season with Escher Quartet; Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke; violinists Anne Akiko Meyers, Kristin Lee, and Tessa Lark; acclaimed harpist Yolanda Kondonassis; and will tour the US with accordion/bandoneon virtuoso Julien Labro in support of their duo album Infusion, which was recently released on Azica Records to critical acclaim by classical and jazz critics alike. Vieaux’s passion for new music has fostered premieres of works by Avner Dorman, Dan Visconti, Vivian Fung, Keith Fitch, Kinan Abou-Afach, David Ludwig, Jerod Tate, Eric Sessler, José Luis Merlin, Jeff Beal, Gary Schocker, and more.
Jason Vieaux has performed as concerto soloist with over 100 orchestras, including Cleveland, Houston, Toronto, San Diego, Fort Worth, Buffalo, Arkansas, Edmonton, Illinois, IRIS Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Jason recently gave world premiere performances of Visconti’s “Living Language” Guitar Concerto with the California Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and Reading Symphony. During the 2017-18 season, Jason Vieaux will be concerto soloist with Columbus Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Eastern Music Festival Orchestra, and New Mexico Philharmonic.
Vieaux continues to bring important repertoire alive in the recording studio as well. Upcoming recording projects include a new album with Escher Quartet featuring Boccherini’s Guitar Quintet and Aaron Jay Kernis’ 100 Greatest Dance Hits (Azica), Jeff Beal’s “Six Sixteen” Guitar Concerto with the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra (BIS), and Jonathan Leshnoff’s Guitar Concerto with the Nashville Symphony (Naxos). Recent recordings include Infusion (Azica), a collaboration with bandoneonist Julien Labro featuring the duo’s original arrangements Leo Brouwer, Piazzolla, Radamés Gnattali, Pat Metheny, and Tears for Fears’ Everybody Wants to Rule the World; Ginastera’s Guitar Sonata, which is featured on Ginastera: One Hundred (Oberlin Music) produced by harpist Yolanda Kondonassis; and Together (Azica), a duo album with Kondonassis. Of his Grammy-winning 2014 solo album Play, Soundboard Magazine writes, “If you ever want to give a friend a disc that will cement his or her love for the guitar, this is a perfect candidate,” while Premier Guitar claims, “You’d be hard-pressed to find versions performed with more confidence, better tone, and a complete understanding of the material.”
Vieaux’s previous albums include a recording of Astor Piazzolla’s music with Julien Labro and A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra; Bach: Works for Lute, Vol. 1, which hit No. 13 on Billboard’s Classical Chart after its first week and received rave reviews by Gramophone, The Absolute Sound, and Soundboard; Images of Metheny, featuring music by American jazz legend Pat Metheny (who after hearing this landmark recording declared: “I am flattered to be included in Jason's musical world”); and Sevilla: The Music of Isaac Albeniz, which made several Top Ten lists the year of its release. Vieaux’s albums and live performances are regularly heard on radio and internet around the world, and his work is the subject of feature articles in print and online around the world, including such magazines as Acoustic Guitar, MUSO, Gramophone, and on NPR’s “Deceptive Cadence.” Vieaux was the first classical musician to be featured on NPR’s popular “Tiny Desk” series, on which he made a rare repeat performance in 2015 with Yolanda Kondonassis.
In 2012, the Jason Vieaux School of Classical Guitar was launched with ArtistWorks Inc., an unprecedented technological interface that provides the one-on-one online study with Vieaux for guitar students around the world. In 2011, he co-founded the guitar department at the Curtis Institute of Music, and in 2015 was invited to inaugurate the guitar program at the Eastern Music Festival. Vieaux has taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music since 1997, heading the guitar department since 2001.
Vieaux is affiliated with Philadelphia’s Astral Artists. His primary teachers were Jeremy Sparks and John Holmquist. In 1992 he was awarded the prestigious GFA International Guitar Competition First Prize, the event’s youngest winner ever. He is also honored with a Naumburg Foundation top prize, a Cleveland Institute of Music Distinguished Alumni Award, and a Salon di Virtuosi Career Grant. In 1995, Vieaux was an Artistic Ambassador of the U.S. to Southeast Asia.
Jason Vieaux is represented by Jonathan Wentworth Associates, Ltd and plays a 2013 Gernot Wagner guitar with Augustine strings.
For more information, visit www.jasonvieaux.com.
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