GREENSBORO, N.C. – Eastern Music Festival (EMF), the nationally recognized music festival and summer educational program based in the heart of North Carolina, is pleased to announce a new four-year contract with music director Gerard Schwarz securing his role with the Festival through the 2023 season.

Schwarz just completed his fifteenth season at EMF, where he is known for his passionate conducting, thoughtful teaching, broad programming, and dynamic engagement with the local community.

“We are so pleased to continue the deep relationship EMF has with Maestro Schwarz,” said Tim Lane, EMF Board Chair. “He has had a lasting impact on the whole Festival community with his genuine commitment to what we do every year at EMF guiding and encouraging our students, acclaimed faculty, and esteemed guest artists in the works of the great masters, past and present.”

“Schwarz’s tenure of leadership has secured the artistic reputation of EMF as a world-class summer institute that also performs,” added Lane. “EMF’s Board of Directors chose Schwarz to continue with the Festival, especially as it celebrates 60 years of musical excellence in the 2021 season and the great future that is yet to come.”

Each summer, the 58-year-old Eastern Music Festival draws over 265 young artists ages 14 to 23 from across the nation and world to study at its program and 75+ 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 2019 EMF season marked his 12th anniversary as music director.

As EMF music director, Schwarz has been a champion for new orchestral works, receiving commissions for EMF from John Corigliano, Richard Danielpour, Lowell Liebermann, the late Sir André Previn, and HyeKyung Lee. New program initiatives established under Schwarz’s leadership include the Conducting Scholars Institute, the classical Guitar Program, and the new Euphonium Tuba Institute, which just completed a successful inaugural launch earlier this season. Each new program was established to meet the needs and demands of focused study and performance in these specific music categories.

“Our work at EMF is ambitious, invigorating, always inspiring, and something I cherish year-round,” said Schwarz. “When we are finally together in Greensboro for the full five-week season, experiencing the fruits of our year-round efforts to recruit, program, and create a unique school and performance festival is thrilling.”

“Working with EMF is a genuine honor and privilege. We broaden the education of hundreds of young, talented artists, and we bring beautiful music to our audiences,” added Schwarz. “I am delighted to extend my contract with EMF and look forward to making beautiful music together for the years to come.”

Eastern Music Festival recently concluded its 58th season on July 27, 2019, and planning is already underway for the 59th season, June 27 – August 1, 2020, 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 and Conductor Emeritus of the Mostly Mozart Festival. From the fall of 2019, he assumes the position as Distinguished Professor of Music; Conducting and Orchestral Studies of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.

His considerable discography of over 350 albums showcases his collaborations with some of the world’s greatest orchestras, including The 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 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. 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 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 named the street alongside the Benaroya Hall “Gerard Schwarz Place” in his honor. His book, Behind the Baton, was released by Amadeus Press in March 2017.


About Eastern Music Festival: For almost six decades, Eastern Music Festival (EMF) has been produced each summer on the campus of Guilford College, UNCG, and other venues in the Greensboro area. EMF is distinguished by its accomplished faculty, exhilarating repertoire, and world-renowned visiting artists. A powerful teaching institution, EMF provides encouragement and guidance to over 265 young musicians from across the country and around the globe as they take their first steps towards careers in the performing arts. During EMF’s five-week annual season (June 27 – August 1, 2020), the Festival presents more than 65 concerts under the artistic direction of Gerard Schwarz. In addition, 30-plus outreach performances are performed throughout the region.

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