Eckart Preu is Music Director of both the Spokane Symphony (WA) and the Stamford Symphony (CT).
Previously, he held the positions of Associate Conductor of the Richmond Symphony and Resident Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and of the American Russian Young Artists Orchestra. Other former posts include Music Director of the Norwalk (CT) Youth Symphony and Principal Conductor of the New Amsterdam Symphony (NY). He was associated with the Bard Music Festival from 1997 to 2004 as both Assistant and Guest Conductor.
In Europe, Mr. Preu served as Music Director of the Orchestre International de Paris (1993-1995). As a guest conductor, he has appeared with the Jerusalem Symphony, Symphony Orchestra of Chile, Radio Philharmonic of Slovenia, Pecs Philharmonic (Hungary), Varna Philharmonic (Bulgaria), and in Germany with the Jenaer Philharmoniker, Hallesche Philharmonic, Thüringer Kammerorchester, and the Landessinfonieorchester Gotha.
Upcoming guest conducting engagements for the 2010-2011 season include concerts with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the Duluth Superior Symphony, the Fairfax Symphony, and the Portland (Maine) Symphony.
Career highlights include his second performance at Carnegie Hall (January 2008), a performance at the Sorbonne in Paris and a live broadcast with the Jerusalem Symphony in 2005. His concerts have been aired from coast to coast and on Jerusalem Radio. His tenure as Music Director saw the opening of the newly renovated Fox Theater in Spokane. The theater now serves as the new home for the Symphony as well as the regional performing arts center. He has collaborated with internationally renowned soloists including Sarah Chang, Anne Akiko Meyers, Jean-Phillipe Collard, Vladimir Feltsman, Horacio Gutierrez, Leila Josefowicz, Louis Lortie, and Richard Stoltzman.
A passionate performer of the core repertoire, Mr. Preu believes in presenting neglected works. His past seasons featured compositions by Bloch, Berio, Markevich and Schreker. and Zemlinsky among others. The 2010-11 seasons in Spokane and Stamford feature compositions by Ligeti, del Aguila, Janacek, Duparc, Martinu and Ben-Haim. Mr. Preu initiated the exploration of the extraordinary music collected in Spokane in the Archives of Hans Moldenhauer which includes compositions by Griffes, Hartmann, Honegger, Kabalevsky, Schoenberg, Wagner, Webern and Weinberger. Music from the Moldenhauer Archives has been performed over several seasons in the main series as well as at a special festival.
Promoting and furthering the performance of American music, Mr. Preu conducted the world and New York premieres of Clarinet Concerto no. 4 by William Thomas McKinley with soloist Richard Stoltzman, “Prayer for Peace” by Roger Davidson, the Connecticut premiere of “Made in America” by Joan Tower, and the world premiere of “Lewis and Clark” by Leigh Baxter with the Richmond Symphony, among others. In 2008 he conducted the world premiere of “Letters from Lincoln”, a work commissioned by the Spokane Symphony from Michael Daugherty featuring baritone soloist Thomas Hampson. This performance was released as commercial recording in January 2010 on the E1 music label (formerly Koch Records). Also on that CD: Anton Webern’s “Im Sommerwind” and “Langsamer Satz”.
A native of Germany, Mr. Preu came to the United States as winner of the National Conducting Competition of the German Academic Exchange Service (1996) for graduate studies with Harold Farberman at the Hartt School of Music where he also received the Karl Boehm Scholarship. In Germany he earned a masters degree in conducting from the Hochschule für Musik in Weimar studying under Gunter Kahlert and Nicolas Pasquet. He also studied under Jean-Sebastien Bereau at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris in France. Mr. Preu’s education was made possible by scholarships from the Herbert von Karajan Foundation, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the French Ministry of Culture. In November 1998, Mr. Preu took 3rd place at the International Competition for Young Conductors of the European Union in Spoleto, Italy.
Eckart Preu’s early musical training was in piano and voice. At the age of 10, he became a member of the Boys Choir Dresdner Kreuzchor and went on to work with them as soloist, rehearsal pianist, and Assistant Conductor. He subsequently served as a vocal coach with the Altenburg Opera and the Erfurt Opera House in Germany. Mr. Preu was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Bard College, NY (1999-2000) and in summers 2000 and 2001 he served on the guest faculty of the C.W. Post Chamber Music Festival.
Eckart Preu is also a frequent guest speaker for local businesses, community organizations and schools. He contributes a music column to the Stamford (CT) Advocate. In 2007 he received the Communicator of the Year Award of the Public Relations Society of America Spokane Chapter.
Recognizing music as tool for outreach, Eckart Preu conducted family concerts in a unique collaboration with the Spokane Tribe of Indians, Wellpinit.