The Tacoma-based Northwest Sinfonietta chamber orchestra has just announced that Gerard Schwarz, outgoing artistic director of the Seattle Symphony, will be guest conductor for a gala season finale in June, 2012. On the program is the Dohnányi Concert Piece for cello and orchestra, with Schwarz‘ son Julian as soloist.
“It is an immense privilege to bring a musician of Maestro Schwarz’ stature to our stage,” said artistic director Christophe Chagnard. “Taking on the reins of the Northwest Sinfonietta for our season finale is the greatest compliment he could pay us.”
Schwarz, who has led the Seattle Symphony since 1985, has a distinguished international career, directing groups such as the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the New York Chamber Symphony and Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Under his leadership the Seattle Symphony has seen a seven-fold subscription increase and the new venue of Benaroya Hall. Schwarz ends his tenure in Seattle this season, allowing him to conduct other local professional groups.
He has supported the Northwest Sinfonietta behind the scenes for a long time, states executive director Neil Birnbaum, including the orchestra’s Benaroya residency, which began in 2008.
“The Northwest Sinfonietta is a fantastic orchestra and Christophe is a wonderful conductor,” said Schwarz.
The Schwarz concert, which will be performed in June, 2012 in Seattle, Tacoma and Puyallup, includes music by Dvorak, Dohnanyi and Beethoven, and features cellist Julian Schwarz as soloist. Son of Gerard Schwarz, the 19-year-old Julian has already established a solo career around the country. This will mark his fourth occasion appearing with or for the Northwest Sinfonietta: concerto performances after winning their Youth Concerto Competition in 2007 and 2008, a recital in their Tacoma Art Museum series in 2009, and as soloist in a double concerto last October.
He was also chosen by Chagnard to be his assistant conductor for the Lake Union Civic Orchestra.
It’s an unusual number of reappearances, but Birnbaum says the cellist was chosen for the finale to attract a bigger Seattle audience, as well as play on the theme: Both the Sinfonietta and Julian Schwarz will turn 21 next year.
It will be the second time the father/son duo will have performed professionally together, and Gerard Schwarz says he’s looking forward to it.
“He plays very well, and of course he’s my son! I have a great respect for him, and he for me. We’ve always worked really well together.”
The Sinfonietta’s season begins next October. Information: 888-356-6040, www.nwsinfonietta.org