ICWF 2004: Beethoven/Mozart
June 16, 2004
Mozart Impresario Overture
Mozart Symphony #40
Beethoven Violin Concerto
Ayano Ninomiya, violin
Benjamin Loeb, conductor
June 19, 2004
Ayano Ninomiya, violin
Benjamin Loeb, piano
June 22, 2004
Beethoevn Egmont Overture
Mozart Piano Concerto #24 in c minor
Beethoven Symphony #7
Dimo Dimov, piano
Carl St.Clair, conductor
Matthew Hooper (US)
Sophia Kokkori (Greece)
Tara Villa (US)
Ana Brajovic (Serbia)
Jeffrey Grogan (US)
Steven Huang (US)
Sharon Lavery (US)
Juan Munoz (South Africa/Chile)
Takuya Nishiwaki (US/Japan)
Carole Ott (US)
Julian Pellicano (US)
Till Fabian Weser (Germany)
William H. Reed (US)
Benjamin Winkler (US)
Kathryn Greene (US)
Christopher Hill (US)
Jeffrey Specht (US)
Eric Damewood (US)
Nathan Schneider (US)
In his 15th season as Music Director of Orange County's Pacific Symphony, Carl St.Clair has guided the Symphony to national prominence through acclaimed recording projects, commissions of new works, world premieres, live broadcasts, and innovative music education programs.
Under St.Clair's dynamic leadership, the Symphony has built a relationship with the Southern California community by understanding and responding to the community's cultural needs through such programs as Classical Connections, an informal concert and discussion format which serves as an introduction to the Pacific Symphony by eliminating barriers that often exist between an orchestra and its audience.
During his tenure with the Pacific Symphony, St.Clair has nourished audiences with an eclectic mix of respected classics and new works by modern composers. Under his guidance, the Pacific Symphony has commissioned and performed many world premieres, including works by former Composers-in- Residence Richard Danielpour and Frank Ticheli. Danielpour's Symphony-commissioned An American Requiem was premiered in the fall of 2001 and subsequently recorded and released on the Reference Recordings label in January of 2002.
A recording by St.Clair and the Pacific Symphony of two piano concerti by Lukas Foss was released on the harmonia mundi label in 2000 and nominated for a Grammy Award. St.Clair also led the Pacific Symphony in a dynamic Sony Classical recording of the music of Toru Takemitsu and the percussion ensemble Nexus, released in the spring of 1998.
St.Clair's concept of a large-scale, symphonic/ choral work reflecting on the human experience of the Vietnam War was brought to life when the Pacific Symphony commissioned Elliot Goldenthal to compose Fire Water Paper:A Vietnam Oratorio. The work was premiered and recorded by the Pacific Symphony and released to critical acclaim on the Sony Classical label in 1996, featuring the Pacific Chorale with Yo-Yo Ma as cello soloist.
Dividing his time between America and Europe, St.Clair is a guest conductor for orchestras throughout the world. In the United States, St.Clair has conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Houston Symphony and the Indianapolis Symphony. In Europe, St.Clair was the principal guest conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Sinfonie from 1998-2004, where he successfully completed an ambitious three-year recording project of the complete Villa-Lobos symphonies. St.Clair is also a frequent guest conductor for orchestras in Berlin, Bonn, Frankfurt, Hannover, Hamburg and Bamberg, and has guest conducted for orchestras in Jerusalem, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and Mexico City and South America.
In 1990, St.Clair received the NEA/ Seaver Conductors Award - the most prestigious such prize in the nation.
Benjamin Loeb, a native Texan, is an accomplished conductor, accompanist, soloist, arranger, and educator. He has been hailed in El Paso as “a walking genius of unique ideas for making concerts fun to perform and hear, as well as subtly exposing youngsters to the pleasures of good music, [El Paso, Inc.]” while his recent performance with the Greater Bridgeport (CT) Symphony Orchestra as a “double-threat” both playing and conducting Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue was called “a total triumph that triggered a well-deserved, spontaneous standing ovation. Loeb and the GBS captured every ounce of imagination and emotion Gershwin packed into his ground-breaking musical portrait. [Connecticut Post]”
Other widely varied projects range from concerts of Beethoven and Bruckner Symphonies to recordings with Yo-Yo Ma of Italian 16th century madrigalists to tours with popular rock musicians to world premieres of the most cutting-edge avant-garde contemporary music. As the Associate Conductor of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, Loeb founded and served as both Executive and Music Director of the El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestras – El Paso’s only national-level, NEA-recognized, multiple-orchestra system serving the best young musicians in the El Paso, southern New Mexico and Juarez region. He held the position of Assistant Conductor for the Haddonfield Symphony for four years and Assistant Conductor for the Greater Bridgeport (CT) Symphony Orchestra for two, and served for three summers as Assistant Conductor for the TodiMusicFest in Portsmouth, VA. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of the International Conducting Workshop and Festival, now in its ninth year, hosted by orchestras around the world. He has also served as Director of Orchestras at the Music Institute of Chicago.
Benjamin Loeb’s projects have shown his tremendous range. With the Haddonfield Symphony (now Symphony in C) he led the MET Life award-winning musical outreach into schools in southern New Jersey in which he introduced children of all ages to the instruments of the orchestra. At Rutgers University, the Peabody Conservatory and Harvard University, he led operas in full productions. In El Paso he has conducted the El Paso Symphony in Young Peoples’ Concerts, Family Concerts and Christmas Concerts. In one recent concert, both the El Paso Symphony and El Paso Youth Orchestra performed together combining to make over 150 musicians on stage. With the Pueblo (CO) Symphony, he both played and conducted Beethoven Emperor Concerto. A frequent guest conductor in China, he often leads all-American programs while giving master classes and performing recitals with Chinese instrumentalists on his off days. At the Peabody Conservatory, as a musical response to the attacks of September 11, Loeb organized and led what Tim Smith of The Baltimore Sun called “a remarkable concert” of Bruckner Symphony #7 and the world premiere of John Traill’s “In Memory”, a set of four orchestral miniatures based on the themes of the Bruckner. He has been asked by Yo-Yo Ma to create and conduct arrangements of 16th century madrigals for his Silk Road Project, and he has toured with his sister Lisa Loeb leading orchestral accompaniments to her rock music.
This year marked the eighth of the International Conducting Workshop and Festival (ICWF) – an five-day workshop for conductors in Ciudad Chihuahua, Mexico, which has trained over 275 conductors from 28 countries since its inception, and which has included both full orchestra concerts and chamber music with international artists. The ICWF has included past faculty members such as Larry Rachleff, Don Schleicher, Carl St.Clair, and Rossen Milanov. Last January’s workshop with over 26 active participants was led by Loeb, Gustav Meier, Director of Conducting Studies at Peabody Conservatory and Music Director of the Greater Bridgeport (CT) Symphony, and Jacob Chi, Director of Orchestras at Colorado State, Pueblo.
As a pianist, Benjamin Loeb has been praised by the Boston Globe: “[his] vigorous, cogent playing signaled the kind of equally weighted partnership, plus competition, plus mutual quest, etc. that [makes] this music live.” Past season highlights include three performances of the Beethoven Emperor Concerto including one in which he both conducted and performed as soloist. Some of the conductors with whom he has worked include Alan Gilbert, JoAnn Falletta, and Carl St. Clair. His concerts have taken him around to world to major venues and on radio and TV in New York City, San Francisco, Dallas, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Berlin, Seoul, Shanghai, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Panama City, Helsinki, St. Petersburg and tours across the United States. He has performed for Community Concerts and has been featured as Artist-in-Residence on NPR’s Performance Today with violinist Livia Sohn. As one of the last Artistic Ambassadors for the United States Information Agency he toured Argentina and Chile with clarinetist David Gresham. He has served three times as an official pianist for the Joseph Joachim/Hanover International Violin Competition, as well as for the Walter Naumberg Violin Competition, Marlboro Music Festival and Concerts Artist Guild auditions. He served as staff pianist for the Steans/Ravinia Festival and SMU Summer Conservatory among others. He can be heard on many labels having recorded CD’s with violinists Joseph Lin (Korngold and Busoni), Takako Nishizaki (Mozart), and Livia Sohn (Opera Fantasies) on Naxos, Judy Kang for the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, and with soprano Allison Charney on the DSCLabel. He also has a recently released solo album on Naxos of Joplin Rags and has two recordings in production of Christmas and Children Songs with soprano Katrina Swift.
He holds a Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory in Conducting, as a student of Gustav Meier, a Master in Music from the Curtis Institute and a Doctor in Musical Arts from the Juilliard School in Accompanying and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University.
He resides in El Paso, Texas with his wife, Quyen, his 4-year-old daughter, Anna Sofia Uni, and his 20-month-old, Lulu Ladybug. He continues to tour worldwide as conductor, pianist, educator and arts advocate, and to teach at the new El Paso Conservatory of Music.
Loeb’s far-ranging interests do not limit him to music; he has directed plays, cooked gourmet meals for 65, tutored over 500 people in test preparation for the Princeton Review, and played and enjoyed almost every sport. He is also an active member of the Rotary Club of El Paso. Moreover (or most important), he is a lifetime Dallas Cowboys fan.