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BENJAMIN SHWARTZ recently completed a 3-season tenure as the Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, where he assisted Michael Tilson Thomas, led numerous concerts, and was the Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. A highlight during his Music Directorship of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra was leading their European tour during the summer of 2008. Of one of their performances, a critic wrote: “Benjamin Shwartz practiced precision work; he by no means simply let his orchestra show off with brute sonic force, but shaped each phrase, even those of the solo winds, with the utmost refinement. In the slow movement, he succeeded in creating highly romantic moments of vibrant intensity in the strings. The Festsaal audience was in a frenzy.”
Prior to his appointment as Resident Conductor with the San Francisco Symphony, Shwartz was assistant conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, the Delaware Symphony, and the Reading Symphony in Pennsylvania.
Benjamin Shwartz has conducted the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony, and the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, among others. In the 2010/11 season he will make debuts with the BBC Symphony London, Tokyo Symphony, Duisburg Philharmonic, and the Korea’s KBS Symphony Orchestra.
Last season Benjamin made his opera debut with The Curtis Opera Theatre in Philadelphia conducting Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims. He will return this season to conduct La sonnambula.
Committed to new music, Shwartz has led numerous world premieres of works by composers of his generation. He is the conductor of Mercury Soul, a new music project, which he curates together with composer Mason Bates and designer Anne Patterson. The ensemble presents new music for acoustic and electronic instruments in clubs and other unusual locations, blurring the lines between classical, experimental, and electronic music.
Raised in Los Angeles and Israel, Benjamin Shwartz attended the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he received the Shanis Fellowship to study conducting. While at Curtis, Shwartz worked closely with Christoph Eschenbach in preparing the Curtis Orchestra for concerts. He also studied composition with James Primosch at the University of Pennsylvania, with Karlheinz Stockhausen in Germany, and at IRCAM in Paris.
Benjamin Shwartz has received numerous awards for his work, including the Presser Music Award, and was a prize-winner in the 2007 Bamberg Symphony Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition.