American Composers Orchestra


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Gerard Schwarz, conductorGerard Schwarz

Gerard Schwarz has been Music Director of the Seattle Symphony since 1985, of the New York Chamber Symphony since 1976, and of New York's Mostly Mozart Festival since 1982. Under his leadership, he has amassed a vast recording profile of award-winning albums for the Seattle Symphony and brought them to their new home in Benaroya Hall in a gala concert on September 12, 1998; his appearances with Mostly Mozart have continued their prestige as New York's favorite summer festival and brought them a large television viewing audience on the PBS network as well as an international profile with tours; and he has brought the New York Chamber Symphony from a fledgling organization to a full concert season at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. His appearances as a guest conductor have brought him to several major orchestras, including the Washington Opera, the San Francisco Opera, the Kirov Opera, and the Seattle Opera. In addition, he was the Artistic Advisor to Tokyo Bunkamura's Orchard Hall from 1994 to 1997, in conjunction with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.

In the current season, Maestro Schwarz will conduct eleven subscription series concerts in the Seattle Symphony's new home, Benaroya Hall, as well as special concerts with solists Mstislav Rostropovich and Itzhak Perlman and five concerts in the "Musically Speaking" series. His many recordings with the Orchestra have been devoted to music of American composers such as Howard Hanson, Aaron Copland, Charles Tomlinson Griffes, Walter Piston, William Schuman, Donald Hovaness, David Diamond, Paul Creston, as well as music of Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, Bartok, Ravel, Schumann, Shostakovich, and Wagner. These recordings have earned accolades and "Best Classical Album" awards from Stereo Review Magazine, as well as more than ten Grammy nominations. Maestro Schwarz has recorded extensively with other orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish and English Chamber Orchestras, Mostly Mozart, the New York Chamber Symphony, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Making his debut as a conductor in 1966, Mr. Schwarz had been appointed musical director of the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, the Eliot Feld Dance Company, the Waterloo Festival, the New York Chamber Symphony, and the Los Angeles Chamber Symphony by 1976. In 1981, he established the Music Today contemporary music series, serving as its Music Director until 1989. He first conducted opera with the Washington Opera at the Kennedy Center in 1982 with Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and he has led performances with the Seattle and San Francisco Operas, the Juilliard Opera Theatre, and the Kirov Opera in St. Petersburg's historic Mariinsky Theatre.

Mr. Schwarz has received the Ditson Conductor's Award from Columbia University, an honorary Doctorate of Music from The Juilliard School, and other honorary degrees from Fairleigh Dickinson University, the University of Puget Sound, and the Seattle University. In 1994, Maestro Schwarz was named Conductor of the Year by Musical America.


Andrés Cárdenes, violin

Andres Cardenes. photo credit: Christian SteinerRenowned violinist, concertmaster, conductor, and teacher Andrés Cárdenes brings to his performing the passion and the dedication of a master musician. Mr. Cárdenes was born in Cuba and has garnered international acclaim from both critics and audiences alike for his ferocious technique balanced by a remarkable tonal subtlety. Since capturing the top American prize in the 1982 Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition in Moscow, Mr. Cárdenes has appeared with over seventy orchestras world-wide, including Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Houston, Helsinki, Caracas, and Shanghai. He has collaborated with such noted conductors as Lorin Maazel, Charles Dutoit, Eduardo Mata, Andre Previn, David Zinman, Leonard Slaktin, and Sergiu Commissiona. A frequent recitalist, Mr. Cárdenes has performed in many of the world's major cultural capitals, including New York, Washington D.C., Paris, London, Mexico City, and Moscow.

Mr. Cárdenes has been an active teacher for twenty years, beginning with his appointment to the faculty of Indiana University in 1979. A former student and protégé of the legendary Josef Ginold, he has continued the legacy and discipline of the master pedagogue as professor of music at the Universities of Utah and Michigan and at Carnegie-Mellon University, where he has recently been honored as the Dorothy Richard Starling and Alexander C. Speyer Jr. Professor of Music, the first fully endowed chair in the CMU Music Department. Mr. Cárdenes has also given numerous master classes at Rice and Columbia Universities, among others. In November, 1993, Mr. Cárdenes was appointed Artistic Director of Strings in the Mountains--the annual summer music festival held in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, which brings together some of the finest chamber musicians in the world for performances and teaching activities. Mr. Cárdenes is a member of the renowned Carnegie Mellon Trio, which has toured extensively throughout the United States. In July, 1996, he was appointed violinist of the Díaz Trio. Mr. Cárdenes also holds the Rachel Mellon Walton endowed chair with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Together with his family, Mr. Cárdenes has founded a new orchestra, the Culver City Chamber Orchestra, in California for which he programs, conducts, and plays. Cultural Ambassador for UNICEF from 1980 to 1991, and an indefatigable spokesperson for the arts, Mr. Cárdenes has received numerous awards for his community and cultural contributions, most notably from Mayor Tom Bradley of Los Angeles and from the Mexican Red Cross.


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