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Eastern Music Festival (EMF), a nationally recognized music festival and summer educational program based in the heart of North Carolina, is pleased to announce a new three-year contract with music director Gerard Schwarz, which will secure his role with the festival through the 2026 season.
Mr. Schwarz just completed his 18th season at EMF, where he is known for his passionate conducting, inspired teaching, broad programming, and dynamic engagement with the local community as well as young artists who attend the summer festival.
"We are delighted that our collaboration with Gerard Schwarz will continue," said Melanie Tuttle, EMF Board Chair. "He brings so much to our festival every summer — music that is both energizing and thoughtful and a genuine love for our community here in Greensboro. Schwarz is an integral part of why our festival is so widely and highly regarded. He attracts and works with outstanding students, acclaimed faculty, and wonderful guest artists. The Board of Directors faced a very easy decision to renew our relationship with Jerry. We look forward to the coming seasons of magical music-making at EMF."
In 2023, the 62-year-old Eastern Music Festival drew over 280 young artists ages 14 to 23 from across the nation and world to study at its program and engaged more than 65 professional musicians to teach and perform during the festival's five-week season.
Schwarz joined EMF as music advisor in 2005. In 2006, he became the festival's principal conductor and rose to the role of music director in 2008. The 2023 EMF season marked his 15th anniversary as music director.
Over the years as EMF music director, Schwarz has overseen the programming of the festival's impressive repertoire, as well as the commissioning and performance of compositions by both world-renowned and up-and-coming composers like Julia Adolphe, Paul Frucht, Adolphus Hailstork, John Corigliano, Richard Danielpour, Lowell Liebermann, and more. New program initiatives established under Schwarz's leadership include the Conducting Scholars Institute, the Classical Guitar Program, and the Euphonium-Tuba Institute. Each new program was established to meet the needs and demands of focused study and performance in these specific music categories.
"It is a great pleasure and honor to continue to make music in my summer musical home of the Eastern Music Festival through 2026," said Gerard Schwarz. "We have one of the premier music festivals and schools in the country and it is a great joy for me to work with so many wonderful musicians, both faculty and students as well as a very supportive staff and board. The vibrance and enthusiasm of the Greensboro area audience is very special, and I am very excited to see what the next three years bring."
Eastern Music Festival recently concluded its 62nd season on July 29, 2023, and planning is already underway for the 63rd season, June 22 – July 27, 2024, in Greensboro, NC.
About Gerard Schwarz:
Internationally recognized for his moving performances, innovative programming and extensive catalogue of recordings, American conductor Gerard Schwarz serves as Music Director of the All-Star Orchestra, Eastern Music Festival, Palm Beach Symphony, and Mozart Orchestra of New York, and is Conductor Laureate of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Emeritus of the Mostly Mozart Festival. He is Distinguished Professor of Music; Conducting and Orchestral Studies of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami and Music Director of the Frost Symphony Orchestra.
His considerable discography of over 350 albums showcases his collaborations with some of the world's greatest orchestras including The Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Tokyo Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, New York Chamber Symphony, and Seattle Symphony Orchestra, among others. In 2017 The Gerard Schwarz Collection, a 30-CD box set of previously unreleased or limited release works spanning his entire recording career was released by Naxos.
Schwarz began his professional career as co-principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic and has held Music Director positions with the Mostly Mozart Festival, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and New York Chamber Symphony. As a guest conductor, he has worked with many of the world's finest orchestras and has led the San Francisco, Washington National, and Seattle Opera companies on many occasions. He is also a gifted composer and arranger with an extensive catalogue of works that have been premiered by ensembles across the United States, Europe, and Korea.
Schwarz 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. He 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 five decades as a respected classical musician and conductor, Schwarz has received hundreds of honors and accolades including 9 Emmy Awards, 14 GRAMMY nominations, 8 ASCAP Awards, and the Ditson Conductor's Award from Columbia University. He was the first American named Conductor of the Year by Musical America and has received numerous honorary doctorates. In 2003, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (now The Recording Academy) gave Schwarz its first "IMPACT" lifetime achievement award. The City of Seattle named the street alongside the Benaroya Hall "Gerard Schwarz Place" in his honor. His memoir, Behind the Baton, was released by Amadeus Press in March 2017. He has been married to his wife Jody for nearly 40 years, has four children, and lives in Florida.
For six decades, Eastern Music Festival (EMF), a nationally recognized classical music festival and summer educational program, is produced each summer on the campus of Guilford College and other venues in the Greensboro, North Carolina, area. EMF is distinguished by its accomplished faculty, exhilarating repertoire, and world-renowned visiting artists under the artistic direction of Gerard Schwarz. A powerful teaching institution, EMF provides encouragement and guidance to hundreds of young musicians from across the country and around the globe as they take their first steps toward careers in the performing arts. EMF's five-week 62nd season is June 24 – July 29, 2023. For more information, visit https://easternmusicfestival.org/. Follow EMF on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.