AN APPALACHIAN SUMMER FESTIVAL
Music - Dance - Theatre - Visual Arts - Film
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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 pianist Misha Dichter, and Eva Wetzel, first-prize winner of the 2017 Rosen-Schaffel Competition for Young and Emerging Artists. The program includes works by Bernstein, Griffes, Gershwin and Ravel.
Gerard Schwarz, conductor
Misha Dichter, piano
Eva Wetzel, violin
July 15 Program:
Overture to Candide - Leonard Bernstein
The White Peacock - Charles Tomlinson Griffes
Piano Concerto in F - George Gershwin
Adagio - Andante con moto
Tzigane, rapsodie de concert - Maurice Ravel
Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No.2 - Maurice Ravel
Gerard Schwarz enters his 14th year with the Eastern Music Festival in 2018. 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. 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.
Misha Dichter traces his musical heritage to the two great pianistic traditions of the 20th century: the Russian Romantic School as personified by Rosina Lhevinne, his mentor at The Juilliard School, and the German Classical style that was passed on to him by Aube Tzerko, a pupil of Artur Schnabel. Dichter reveals this dual legacy in his solo recitals and appearances with virtually all the world’s major orchestras, performing the grand virtuoso compositions of Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky, as well as music from the central German-Viennese repertoire – works by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms.
Dichter’s acclaimed recordings for Philips, RCA, MusicMasters and Koch Classics further illustrate his musical interests. They include the Brahms piano concerti with Kurt Masur and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Brahms solo works including the Handel Variations, Beethoven piano sonatas, the complete Liszt Hungarian Rhapsodies, the Liszt Piano Concerti with André Previn and the Pittsburgh Symphony and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with Neville Marriner and the Philharmonia Orchestra, as well as music of Chopin, Mussorgsky, Schubert, Schumann, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky. A noted exponent of Liszt’s piano works and a champion of the composer’s forward-looking contributions to the development of music, Dichter was honored in 1998 with the “Grand Prix International du Disque Liszt,” presented for his Phillips recording of Liszt piano transcriptions.
Dichter’s first recording with Cipa Dichter is a three-CD album of Mozart’s complete piano works for four hands on the Musical Heritage Society label. American Record Guide called the recording “an unmitigated delight,” and Music Web International named the album a 2005 “Record of the Year.”
Dichter was born in Shanghai in 1945, his Polish parents having fled Poland at the outbreak of World War II. He moved with his family to Los Angeles at the age of 2 and began piano lessons four years later. In addition to his keyboard studies with Aube Tzerko, Dichter studied composition and analysis with Leonard Stein. He subsequently came to New York to work with Mme. Lhevinne at The Juilliard School.
At the age of 20, while still enrolled at Juilliard, he entered the 1966 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, where his choice of repertoire – music of Schubert and Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky – reflected the two major influences on his musical development. Dichter’s stunning triumph at that competition launched his international career. Almost immediately thereafter, he performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 at Tanglewood with Erich Leinsdorf and the Boston Symphony, a concert that was nationally broadcast live on NBC and recorded for RCA. In 1968, Dichter made his debut with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, performing this same concerto.
Dichter is an avid tennis player and jogger, as well as a talented sketch artist. His drawings have been exhibited in New York art galleries. Dichter lives in New York City with his wife, pianist Cipa Dichter, who will join him at EMF for a dual piano chamber recital on July 16, 2018. The Dichters have two grown sons.
Born in Schleiz, Germany, Eva began studying piano at age three and violin at age four. She first worked with Professor Ida Bieler in the pre-college program “Schumann Junior” at the Robert-Schumann-Hochschule Düsseldorf. In 2013, Eva came to UNCSA, where she earned her high school diploma is now pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in the studio of Professor Bieler. She has given multiple solo-recitals in Germany and the U.S., and has collaborated with the Vogtland Philharmonie Greiz-Reichenbach and the LJO Thüringen. Eva has won many national and international competitions, including “Jugend Musiziert,” “Karel-Kunc,” the Omega Talent Hunt, the MANC String Competition and Rosen-Schaffel Competition for Young and Emerging Artists. She has participated in master classes with Viera and Julia Fischer, Rudens Turku, Anne-Katrin Lindig, Ida Bieler and Kyung Sun Lee. She had the opportunity to attend the Aspen Music Festival and School as a Kenan Fellow to study with Professor Cornelia Heard. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and looking at cute puppies and lions. Eva plays a violin by Marc de Sterke from 2011.
This performance has been supported by the Rosen-Schaffel Endowment for Classical Music Programming at An Appalachian Summer Festival, and is dedicated to the memory of Muriel and Arnold Rosen, whose vision and generosity led to the founding of An Appalachian Summer Festival.
Additional support has been provided by Barbara and Larry Freiman.