Larry Rachleff (ICWF 2021: Brahms Symphonies)
Larry Rachleff is the Walter Kris Hubert Professor of Orchestral Conducting and Music Director of the Shepherd School Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. He recently completed twenty-one years as Music Director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, and formerly served as Music Director of the San Antonio Symphony. Additionally, he served as Artistic Advisor of the Grand Rapids Symphony.
“A take-charge maestro who invests everything he conducts with deep musical understanding” (Chicago Tribune), Mr. Rachleff is in constant demand as a guest conductor. Recent engagements include the Utah Symphony, Houston Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic and Toledo Symphony among many others. Summer festival engagements include Tanglewood, Aspen, Interlochen, Chautauqua, Brevard Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, Opera Theatre of Lucca, Italy and the Grand Teton Music Festival. In 1993, he was selected as one of four American conductors to lead the Cleveland Orchestra at Carnegie Hall under the mentorship of Pierre Boulez. In Fall 2017, Rachleff was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame (ACMHF).
Mr. Rachleff is especially noted for his rich and productive rapport with orchestra musicians. The Salt Lake Deseret News had this to say about him recently: “His interpretation (Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony) was charged with power and passion that never waned. His reading was compelling, yet he also managed to bring out the lyricism that lies hidden beneath the boldness of the themes. What was especially remarkable, he conducted the work from memory. The orchestra played marvelously. The musicians were at the top of their game, and their rapport with Rachleff was obvious. It was a fabulous collaboration between orchestra and conductor.”
A former faculty member of Oberlin Conservatory, where he was Music Director of Orchestras and Conductor of the Contemporary Ensemble, he also served as conductor of the Opera Theatre at the University of Southern California. He has conducted and presented masterclasses all over the world, including the Chopin Academy in Warsaw, the Zurich Hochschule, the Sydney and Queensland, Australia conservatories, the Juilliard School, the New England Conservatory, and Royal Northern College in the U.K.
Larry Rachleff is an enthusiastic advocate of public school music education. He has conducted All-State orchestras and festivals in virtually every state in the United States as well as throughout Europe and Canada. He has also served as principal conducting teacher for the American Symphony Orchestra League, the Conductors’ Guild and the International Workshop for Conductors in the Czech Republic.
As a dedicated advocate of contemporary music, Mr. Rachleff has collaborated with leading composers including Samuel Adler, the late Luciano Berio, George Crumb, Michael Daugherty and John Harbison among others.
Larry Rachleff holds honorary doctorates in music from both Roger Williams University, and Providence College, Rhode Island. He resides in Houston with his wife, soprano Susan Lorette Dunn, and their son, Sam.
Donald Schleicher (ICWF 2021: Brahms Symphonies)
Now celebrating his 23rd season as Music Director and Conductor of the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra, American conductor Donald Schleicher has also served as Music Director of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and as Music Director and Principal Conductor/Artistic Director for the Pine Mountain Music Festival.
Schleicher has conducted the National Philharmonic of the Ukraine, the Guiyang (China) Symphony, the Gwangju (South Korea) Symphony, the Inchon (South Korea) Philharmonic, the Daegu (South Korea) Symphony Orchestra, the Orquesta Filarmonica de la UNAM of Mexico City, the South Dakota Symphony, and the orchestras of Bridgeport, Tallahassee, and Lansing. He has also appeared as a guest conductor at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Detroit. In 2015, he returned to the PMMF to lead the festival’s 25th Anniversary Season by conducting their production of “The Barber of Seville” as well as leading the PMMF Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s monumental “Symphony No. 9.” In 2016, he guest conducted the Nairobi Orchestra in Kenya.
He is frequently invited to lead performances or provide conducting master classes at many of the countries major music schools such as the University of Colorado, the University of Texas, Oberlin Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, Baylor University, University of Minnesota, Ithaca College, Ohio State University, the University of Missouri, and Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. As an enthusiastic advocate of public school music education, Mr. Schleicher has conducted All-State orchestras, festivals, and youth orchestras in nearly every state of the United States. He is also active as a clinician for public school music educators.
As a conducting professor, Mr. Schleicher’s class at Illinois is an international draw for talented young conductors. Many of his former conducting students have gone on to hold prestigious positions with organizations such as the San Francisco Symphony, the Hartford Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, Richmond Philharmonic, and the University of Chicago. Schleicher has taught conducting in Europe every summer for the past ten years having served as the lead teacher for the International Conducting Workshop and Festival (ICWF). In addition, he has led workshops for the International Conducting Institute in Kromeriz, Czech Republic, the New York Conducting Institute, the Ithaca College International Conducting Workshop, and Conducting Master Class and Workshop Series in Chicago.
As a dedicated advocate of contemporary music, Donald has collaborated with leading composers including Chen Yi, Michael Daugherty, and Frank Ticheli among many others. In December of 2014, his collaboration with Augusta Read Thomas led to a recording project of her works now available on Nimbus Records.
Benjamin Loeb (ICWF Artistic and Executive Director)
Benjamin Loeb is an, accomplished soloist, accompanist, conductor, arranger, educator, arts administrator and entrepreneur. His piano performances have been heralded 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.” In May 2015, he performed Morton Gould’s Interplay with the Boston Pops Orchestra at the invitation and under the direction of New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert. He has also collaborated as concerto soloist with many other conductors including JoAnn Falletta, Carl St. Clair, and Rossen Milanov. His 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.
At the invitation of United States Department of State, Loeb toured Argentina and Uruguay as an Artistic Ambassador, performing recitals of the music of Scott Joplin and giving master classes and workshops with youth orchestras and young musicians. He has recorded for Naxos (both as soloist and collaborative pianist), CBC and the DSCLabel. 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.
Currently, Benjamin Loeb serves as the Executive Director of Congregation Beth Israel in Scottsdale, Arizona. He has served as the Executive Director of the Quad City (Iowa) Symphony Orchestra from 2013 through 2017. He has also served as Executive Director of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony and as Music Director of the 2011 New Hampshire Music Festival. As 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 is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the International Conducting Workshop and Festival, now in its thirteenth year, hosted by orchestras around the world, most recently the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic in Zlin, Czech Republic.
He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife, Quyen, his 14-year-old daughter, Anna Sofia Uni, his 11-year-old, Lulu Ladybug, and 9-year-old son Ryan “Taco”. He continues occasionally to concertize worldwide as pianist, conductor, educator and arts advocate. 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. Moreover (or most important), he is a lifetime Dallas Cowboys fan.