Gerard Schwarz Named EMF Music Director

(From an EMF press release issued 9/5/07)
Greensboro, NC – Samuel LeBauer, Chair of the Eastern Music Festival Board of Directors, announced today the appointment of Gerard Schwarz to the position of Music Director of the Eastern Music Festival & School through 2011. Maestro Schwarz, Music Director of the Seattle Symphony, has served as EMF’s Principal Conductor since 2005 and now assumes the highest artistic position in the organization. LeBauer noted, “Eastern Music Festival will quickly rise to new heights of artistic excellence under Maestro Schwarz’ continued leadership and more intense involvement. The Board, Staff and audience members are elated that he has committed to four more seasons with EMF.”

Having completed its 46th season in July, the Eastern Music Festival & School is recognized for its prodigious contributions to the field of American music and its commitment to nurturing talented American and international youth through a collaborative learning process. The program brings together a cross-section of America’s most sought-after artists with pre-professional students in a five-week schedule of 100 concerts and music-related events. Principal Conductor Gerard Schwarz led a distinguished list of participating artists in 2007, including Sarah Chang, Evelyn Glennie, Hilary Hahn, Lynn Harrell, Vladimir Feltsman, Julia Fischer, Barry Douglas and many others. The Festival also produces a popular fringe series of alternative programming, featuring everything from Americana to alt country, blues, jazz and gospel.
Maestro Schwarz remarked, “My first three seasons at Eastern Music Festival have been personally and professionally rewarding beyond my expectations. The Festival allows me to fuse my love of orchestral music with my passion for educating the next generation of artists. I look forward to continue spreading the Festival’s artistic goals throughout North Carolina and the national and international community.”
On behalf of the eighty members of the Eastern Philharmonic Orchestra, Musicians’ Committee Chairman Gregory Cox, stated, “I would like to congratulate Gerard Schwarz on his appointment as Music Director of EMF through 2011.
During our five-week festival each summer, the EMF Faculty serves a dual purpose: acting as teacher/coaches for 200 students, and also acting as solo, chamber and orchestral performers. Maestro Schwarz understands the dual purposes of EMF, and he has brought innovative ideas to each area.
Through his conducting, programming and access to international soloists, he has elevated the profile of the Eastern Music Festival, Similarly, his thoughts on scheduling, programming, soloists and conductors for the two student orchestras have made the EMF program more challenging and exciting for the students.”
LeBauer also announced the appointment of General Manager Stephanie Cordick to the position of Executive Director, and said, “Eastern Music Festival welcomes Cordick who will draw on her years of non-profit management experience to build capacity, secure new funding sources and market EMF nationally and internationally.”
“With Tom Philion’s move to Seattle and his continued involvement with the Festival as Artistic Advisor, the EMF Board of Trustees has acted to preserve and strengthen EMF’s financial and music future. The appointment Stephanie Cordick as Executive Director, coupled with Maestro Schwarz’s contract extension, will enable the Festival to confidently approach its 50th anniversary,” noted Gregory Cox.
Cordick stated, “Eastern Music Festival enhances the lives of thousands of students, faculty and audience members each year through its internationally recognized teaching program and festival. I look forward to working with Maestro Schwarz in the coming seasons to continue to build upon the unprecedented growth of the Festival which former President and CEO Tom Philion envisioned. Schwarz emanates an infectious passion for teaching and conducting classical music which he graciously shares with EMF students, faculty and the greater musical community.”
Gerard Schwarz is internationally recognized for his engaging performances, innovative programming and renowned recording history. This season, Maestro Schwarz’s exciting work with Seattle Symphony enters into its 23rd year. He continues the tradition of annual festivals with this year’s season theme, Coming to America: Composers in Pursuit of a Dream, celebrating music by émigré composers as well as works premiered in the U.S. by some of the world’s greatest voices.
Maestro Schwarz’s extensive discography of some 250 releases showcases his collaborations with some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including The Philadelphia Orchestra; the Tokyo, Czech and Royal Liverpool philharmonics; the London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra National de France and Berlin Radio Symphony; the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; and the New York Chamber and Seattle symphonies. He recently worked with six composers and Starbucks Entertainment to release the landmark CD, Echoes. Other recently released recordings include several works by Shostakovich; Howard Hanson’s only opera, Merry Mount; and a host of William Schuman symphonies. Soon to be released are Mahler’s Symphonies Nos. 7 and 9 and the first complete recording of Kurt Weill’s Eternal Road.
Maestro Schwarz is a member of the National Council on the Arts. He has received 11 Grammy nominations, six ASCAP awards, and numerous Stereo Review and Ovation awards. In June 2007, he received an Emmy for his performance with Seattle Symphony of Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony. Moreover, Maestro Schwarz won critical acclaim last season for his remarkable collaboration with Dale Chihuly to present Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle.
Born to Viennese parents, Schwarz is a recipient of the Ditson Conductor’s award from Columbia University, and was the first American to be named Conductor of the Year by Musical America. He holds numerous honorary doctorates, including ones from The Juilliard School, Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle University, University of Puget Sound and Fairleigh Dickinson University.
He has served as Music Director of New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and New York Chamber Symphony, as well as Artistic Advisor to Tokyu Bunkamura”s Orchard Hall in conjunction with the Tokyo Philharmonic.
A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University’s Non-Profit Management Certification Program, Stephanie Cordick has more than two decades of experience as a board or staff member of various cultural arts organizations in North Carolina and Florida. She brings extensive experience in administration, financial development, and marketing to the Festival. Her most recent positions have included Managing Director of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra and Executive Director of the Greensboro Opera Company.

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One Response to Gerard Schwarz Named EMF Music Director

  1. Eastern Music Festival and the young musicians who attend will be well served by Maestro Schwarz. He is a brilliant musician, imaginative, and extremely articulate. With all that, he is a common sense down to earth individual who can relate to young musicians and they can relate to him.

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