/stories/2019/04/frost-school-welcomes-tour-de-force-gerard-schwarz

Frost School welcomes ‘tour de force’ Gerard Schwarz

Internationally-recognized conductor Gerard Schwarz. Photo: Courtesy of Ben VanHouten
By UM News

Internationally-recognized conductor Gerard Schwarz. Photo: Courtesy of Ben VanHouten

Frost School welcomes ‘tour de force’ Gerard Schwarz

By UM News
The internationally acclaimed conductor, composer, recording artist, and educator will conduct the Frost Symphony Orchestra and nurture the great artistic leaders of the future.

Gerard Schwarz, an internationally recognized conductor known for his moving performances, innovative programming, and extensive catalogue of recordings, has been appointed distinguished professor of music for conducting and orchestral studies at the Frost School of Music. He will assume his position as full-time professor of practice in the Department of Instrumental Performance this fall.

Schwarz, who previously conducted the Seattle Symphony and New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, is music director of the All-Star Orchestra, Eastern Music Festival, and the Mozart Orchestra of New York. He has recorded over 350 albums as a conductor, received six Emmy awards, 14 Grammy nominations, eight ASCAP Awards, and numerous other accolades. Also a noted composer and champion of new music, he has 6 million enrollees in his courseware with the All-Star Orchestra for the Khan Academy. 

“We are ecstatic to welcome the esteemed Gerard Schwarz to the Frost School,” said Dean Shelton “Shelly” G. Berg. “He is a tour de force as a conductor, musician, composer, and recording artist. As an educator, maestro Schwarz personifies our Frost Method Curriculum, which holistically trains musical leaders for the 21st century. An embodiment of excellence, Gerard has created iconic organizations and raised the bar everywhere he has been. I have no doubt that working with our world-class colleagues, he will help us achieve new heights.”

Crediting Berg for creating a unique musical and educational environment, Schwarz said he “couldn’t be more thrilled to join him and the superb faculty to support the great artistic leaders of the future. Music education, for professionals and audiences alike, has been a guiding force and passion in my life, and I look forward to bringing that commitment to the Frost School under the mission of creative innovation and artistic excellence.”  

Schwarz, who has conducted more than 300 world premieres, played a leading role in the creation of Seattle Symphony’s Benaroya Hall. He said he hopes to add to the Frost School’s growth with ideas for the orchestral/educational program that are already embraced by faculty. 

“Specifically,” he said, “I would like to expand the graduate conducting program to train conductors, who will lead ensembles of all levels. I have always believed in the interaction of the community with an orchestra or school and I would like to expand this initiative with the Frost Symphony Orchestra.” 

Schwarz said he, Berg, and Robert Carnochan, conductor of the Frost Wind Ensemble and chair of Instrumental Performance, have already begun discussing annual festivals, beginning with one centered on 20th century American music. “Of course,” Schwarz said, “programming for the Frost Symphony Orchestra is very much on my mind and I think of this in three distinct areas: the most important works of the great repertoire of the past; works that have proven to be excellent of the 20th century that need exposure; and new works.” 

Schwarz’s much-anticipated memoir, “Gerard Schwarz: Behind the Baton,” was published by Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group in March 2017. He succeeds Thomas Sleeper, who conducted the Frost Symphony Orchestra with distinction for 25 years. The orchestra maintains an active performance schedule, on campus and beyond. Frost School orchestras have long had the distinction of performing with some of the most celebrated conductors and soloists from around the world, including Pierre Monteux, Leopold Stokowski, Gregor Piatigorsky, Jasha Heifitz, and Arthur Rubenstein. In recent years that tradition has continued to include Joshua Bell, Edgar Meyer, Jennifer Koh, Dawn Upshaw, Eric Owens, James Newton Howard, Bobby McFerrin, Cristian Macelaru, Simone Dinnerstein, and many others.