Rebecca & Jack Benaroya Conductor Laureate
Internationally recognized for his moving performances, innovative programming and extensive catalog of recordings, American conductor Gerard Schwarz serves as Music Director of The All-Star Orchestra an ensemble of top musicians from America’s leading orchestras featured in twelve television programs that have aired throughout the United States on public television, worldwide by internet streaming and is the basis for their Khan Academy education platform that has already reached over 6 million students. A further two episodes will air in the fall of 2017. All programs are now released by Naxos on DVD and are awarded six Emmy Awards and ASCAP Award. Schwarz also serves as Music Director of the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina and Mozart Orchestra of New York, and is Conductor Laureate of the Seattle Symphony. His book Behind the Baton was released by Amadeus Press in March 2017.
His considerable discography of over 350 albums showcases his collaborations with some of the world’s greatest orchestras including Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony, Berlin Radio Symphony, Orchestre National de France, Tokyo Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, New York Chamber Symphony and Seattle Symphony, among others.
Schwarz began his professional career as co-principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic and has held leadership positions with Mostly Mozart Festival, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and New York Chamber Symphony. As a guest conductor of both opera and symphony, he has worked with many of the world’s finest orchestras and opera companies.
Schwarz, a renowned interpreter of 19th century German, Austrian and Russian repertoire, in addition to his noted work with contemporary American composers, completed his final season as music director of the Seattle Symphony in 2011 after an acclaimed 26 years a period of dramatic artistic growth for the ensemble.
In his nearly five decades as a respected classical musician and conductor, Schwarz has received hundreds of honors and accolades including Emmy Awards, Grammy nominations, ASCAP Awards and the Ditson Conductor’s Award. He was the first American named Conductor of the Year by Musical America and has received numerous honorary doctorates. The City of Seattle and named the street alongside the Benaroya Hall “Gerard Schwarz Place.”
Photo Credit: Ben VanHouten