AN APPALACHIAN SUMMER FESTIVAL
Music - Dance - Theatre - Visual Arts - Film
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Gerard Schwarz, Music Director
Hunter Bockes, Saxophone
Under the direction of Maestro Gerard Schwarz, the Eastern Festival Orchestra returns to the festival for an afternoon of memorable symphonic music featuring internationally renowned violinist Midori, and Hunter Bockes, first-prize winner of the 2016 Rosen-Schaffel Competition for Young and Emerging Artists.
The program for July 9 includes:
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Suite from The Snow Maiden
Introduction - Le beau printemps
La danse des oiseaux
Le cortège du roi
Le danse des bouffons
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto, Op.35
Allegro moderato—Moderato assai
Finale. Allegro vivacissimo
GLAZUNOV Saxophone Concerto, Op.109
Hunter Bockes, saxophone
MUSSORGSKY Pictures at an Exhibition
Gerard Schwarz enters his 13th year with the Eastern Music Festival in 2017. He joined the Festival as music advisor in 2005, became principal conductor in 2006 and music director in 2008.
He also serves as 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. All-Star Orchestra is featured in a new television series that has aired throughout the United States on PBS reaching 3.5 million viewers. It is the basis for their Khan Academy education platform. As in baseball, Schwarz created an “all-star” team of top musical athletes who have thus far recorded 12 episodes to encourage a greater understanding and enjoyment of classical music. All 12 programs have been released by Naxos and have been awarded four Emmy Awards and the Deems Taylor Television Broadcast Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
Schwarz is conductor laureate of the Seattle Symphony and is a renowned interpreter of 19th century German, Austrian and Russian repertoire, in addition to his noted work with contemporary American composers.
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 Commissioning Project that has thus far commissioned John Coriglian, Richard Danielpour and Lowell Lieberman. For the 2016 Festival, renowned Academy and Grammy Award winning conductor, composer and pianist Andre Prévin, has agreed to create a new work. In all, McElveen-Hunter has committed to 10 new works from American composers.
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 Richard Wagner, Richard 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 two 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, including six weeks at number three; 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, Eastern Music Festival. 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 3.5 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 critic R.M. Campbell. 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 children’s choir and orchestra and his duos for violin and cello were 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 the Eastern Music Festival in July 2012. Schwarz’s work for concert band Above and Beyond was premiered by the United States Marine Band in 2013 and is now available on Naxos. His newest work for that ensemble, a transcription of Rudolf and Jeannette, was premiered in February 2016. His orchestral work A Poem was recently given its first performance by the Hartford Symphony.
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 (where he has led 21 productions) and Washington National Opera conducting the operas of Wagner, Janáček, Strauss, Mozart, Bizet, Weber, Debussy, Bartók, Stravinsky, Beethoven and Gluck.
Born in America to Viennese parents, Schwarz began studying music 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, where he presided over sold-out houses, developed the orchestra’s international touring, maintained a nine-year residency in Japan, considerably expanded its Mozart repertoire and through its televised Live from Lincoln Center appearances earned several Emmy nominations. His tenure as music directorof the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO) 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 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 four Emmy Awards, 14 Grammy nominations, eight 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. Most recently, 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.
Midori is one of the most admired violinists of her generation. In addition to performing at the highest levels internationally, giving master classes and participating in prominent artistic residencies, she has made a sustained commitment to the violin repertoire of the future, commissioning new concerto and recital works over a period of many years.
Beyond her performing and recording career, Midori has been recognized as a dedicated and gifted educator and an innovative community engagement activist throughout the US, Europe, Asia and the developing world. Among many honors she has received in recent years, she was named a Messenger of Peace by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and received the prestigious Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum in Davos.
In recent seasons, Midori has added several new recordings to her extensive discography – Bach’s complete Solo Sonatas and Partitas, a recital of sonatas by Bloch, Janáček and Shostakovich with pianist Özgür Aydin, and Paul Hindemith’s violin concerto with the NDR Symphony Orchestra and conductor Christoph Eschenbach in a recording that won a Grammy for Best Classical Compendium. In February 2016, Sony Classical released The Art of Midori, a 10-CD set containing some of her most important recordings for the label. DoReMi, the violin concerto written for her by Peter Eötvös and performed with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under the baton of the composer, was released in May 2016.
In 1992 Midori founded Midori & Friends, a non-profit organization in New York City that brings music education programs to underserved schoolchildren. Two other organizations, Music Sharing, based in Japan, and Partners in Performance, based in the U.S., also bring music closer to the lives of people who may not otherwise have involvement with the arts. Midori’s commitment to community collaboration and outreach is further realized in her Orchestra Residencies Program, which involves week-long residencies with American youth orchestras.
Midori was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1971 and began studying the violin with her mother, Setsu Goto, at an early age. In 1982, Zubin Mehta invited the11-year-old Midori to make her debut at the New York Philharmonic’s traditional New Year’s Eve concert, on which occasion she received a standing ovation and the impetus to begin a major career.
Today, in addition to her performing and outreach activities, Midori serves as Distinguished Professor of Violin and holds the Jascha Heifetz Chair at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. She is also a Guest Professor at Japan’s Soai University and at Shanghai Conservatory and an Honorary Professor at the Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music.
Midori plays the 1734 Guarnerius del Gesù ‘ex-Huberman’. She uses four bows – two by Dominique Peccatte, one by François Peccatte and one by Paul Siefried.
Saxophonist Christopher “Hunter” Bockes is currently in his first year of graduate studies at Northwestern University in pursuit of his masters of music in saxophone performance. He has been a member of their Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and Contemporary Music Ensemble and is a graduate assistant in their chamber music program. Hunter earned his bachelor of music in saxophone performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in Winston-Salem, NC. During his studies he has collaborated with dancers, actors, and other musicians in various ensembles and venues. Among those collaborations was a performance with Olympian Jeremy Abbott at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships with the group “uncsaX.”
Hunter has been a member of award-winning saxophone quartets including ~Nois, Atchara Saxophone Quartet, Half and Half Saxophone Quartet, and Minerva Saxophone Quartet. Among his awards as a chamber musician are First Prize at the Chicago Chamber Music Competition, 2nd Prize at the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Southeastern Regional Conference, and multiple First Prize awards at the North Carolina State MTNA conference. Among his awards as a soloist he most recently received First Place at the 2016 Rosen-Schaffel Competition in Boone, NC. He has also been a finalist in the 2015 and 2016 UNCSA concerto competitions. Outside of his current and past school music groups he has performed with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, the North Carolina Saxophone Ensemble, and Twin City Stage Theater in Winston-Salem, NC.
He has performed in masterclasses held by world-renowned saxophonists Jean-Michel Goury and Kenneth Tse. He has also worked with saxophonists Timothy McAllister, Otis Murphy, Carrie Koffman, John Sampen, Griffin Campbell, Zachary Shemon, Susan Fancher, Robert Young, and Jonathan Yanik, among others.