Press Room

Michael Stern conducts Curtis Symphony Orchestra (Apr 27 & 28)

Michael Stern, music director of the Kansas City Symphony and a Curtis alumnus, conducts the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in the final concert of its 2008-09 season on Monday, April 27 at 8pm in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center, Philadelphia.  The program will be repeated at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday, April 28 at 8pm.  Mr. Stern, a 1986 graduate of Curtis, last conducted the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in 2005.

Mr. Stern replaces Paavo Järvi, who has withdrawn due to a scheduling conflict.  The all-Russian program remains substantially unchanged, featuring Stravinsky’s Petrushka (1947 version) and Prokofiev’s Sinfonia concertante with cello soloist Carter Brey, a Curtis faculty member and principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic.  In place of the Suite No. 1 from Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet, Mr. Stern will conduct a selection of excerpts from Suites Nos. 1 and 2.

Tickets for April 27 are priced from $5 to $36 and are available at the Kimmel Center Box Office and through Ticket Philadelphia at (215) 893-1999 or <> .  Tickets for April 28 are available through the Carnegie Ticket Office at (212) 247-7800 or <> .

Michael Stern is in his fourth season as music director of the Kansas City Symphony, which has been hailed for its remarkable artistic and institutional growth since his tenure began.  They have recorded for Naxos and Reference Recordings.  Mr. Stern is founding artistic director and principal conductor of the IRIS Orchestra, recognized for its brilliant playing, its varied programming with special emphasis on American contemporary music, and its recordings on the Naxos and Arabesque labels.  He is principal guest conductor of Orchestre National de Lille, France.

Mr. Stern has served as chief conductor of Germany’s Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, with which he made several recordings of American repertoire, and permanent guest conductor of the Orchestre National de Lyon in France.  He has appeared with the national orchestras of Paris, Bordeaux, Lille, and Toulouse, and conducted orchestras throughout Europe and the Far East.  He led the Vienna Radio Symphony on a tour of China.  He has also been a frequent guest conductor of the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and has recorded both with that orchestra and with the London Philharmonic for Denton Records.

Mr. Stern has conducted the New York Philharmonic; the Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Saint Louis, and Toronto Symphony Orchestras; the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras; the Houston and Seattle symphonies; and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., where he will return in winter 2010. He appears regularly at the Aspen Music Festival and has served on the faculty of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.

Michael Stern graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, where his major teacher was Max Rudolf.  Mr. Stern edited the third edition of Rudolf’s textbook, The Grammar of Conducting, as well as a new volume of Rudolf’s collected writings and correspondence (Pendragon Press).  He also studied at the Pierre Monteux Memorial School under the tutelage of Charles Bruck and earned a degree in American history from Harvard University.

Carter Brey rose to international attention in 1981 as a prizewinner in the Rostropovich International Cello Competition.  He was appointed principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic in 1996 and has performed numerous times as a soloist with the orchestra under the batons of Kurt Masur, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, and Alan Gilbert.  The first musician to win the Arts Council of America’s Performing Arts Prize, Mr. Brey has also won the Gregor Piatigorsky Memorial Prize, Avery Fisher Career Grant, and Young Concert Artists’ Michaels Award.

As a chamber musician, Mr. Brey has made regular appearances with the Tokyo and Emerson String Quartets, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Spoleto Festival in the United States and Italy, and the Santa Fe and La Jolla chamber music festivals, among others.  His discography includes Chopin’s complete works for cello and piano with Garrick Ohlsson (Arabesque), and The Latin American Album (Helicon Records), featuring compositions from South America and Mexico with Christopher O’Riley.  Mr. Brey studied with Laurence Lesser and Stephen Kates at the Peabody Conservatory of Music and with Aldo Parisot at Yale University.

The Curtis Symphony Orchestra has been called “an orchestra that any city would be lucky to have as its professional ensemble” (Philadelphia Inquirer) and has been praised for its “otherworldly ensemble and professional level of sophistication” (New York Times).  Recent visiting conductors include Charles Dutoit, Alan Gilbert, Simon Rattle, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Miguel Harth-Bedoya.  This real-world training has enabled Curtis alumni to assume prominent positions in major orchestras across the United States, Canada, and abroad.  Sixteen percent of the principal chairs in America’s top 25 orchestras are held by Curtis-trained musicians.

The Curtis Institute of Music educates and trains exceptionally gifted young musicians for careers as performing artists on the highest professional level.  One of the world’s leading music schools, Curtis provides full-tuition scholarships to all of its 162 students, ensuring that admissions are based solely on artistic promise.  A Curtis education is uniquely tailored to the individual student, with personalized attention from a celebrated faculty and unusually frequent performance opportunities.  This distinctive “learn by doing” approach to musical training has produced an impressive number of notable artists, from such legends as Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber to current stars Juan Diego Flórez, Alan Gilbert, Hilary Hahn, Leila Josefowicz,Jennifer Higdon, and Lang Lang. <>

Return to Press Room