Robert Ainsley, guest conductor and pianist

Robert Ainsley began his musical career at the age of eleven, studying the piano and violin at Durham School, in England.

He became a Licentiate of Trinity College of Music, London, in solo piano performance at age 17 and won the National Schools’ Chamber Music Competition twice. Rob won the organ scholarship to St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, where he studied with Dr Peter Hurford, Dr John Butt, and David Sanger and directed the chapel choir for three years, conducting and playing in major venues in around the world. In 1999, he graduated with a degree in Mathematics, and later that year was invited to become senior organ scholar at Christ Church, Greenwich, CT.

Since then, he has also served as assistant conductor and accompanist of the New Haven Chorale and Greenwich Choral Society, Musical Director of the Marsh Singers, and completed a master’s degree in solo piano performance at Mannes College of Music, NYC.

After serving as Maestro Joseph Colaneri’s assistant for a year at Mannes College of Music, Mr. Ainsley joined the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the beginning of the 2003-2004 season. He has just completed his two years in the program, which culminated in his acting as assistant conductor and pianist for Wagner’s Die Walküre with Maestro Valery Gergiev and Placido Domingo this season. Mr. Ainsley will continue to work as a vocal coach, repetiteur and church musician, with the intention of eventually conducting some of the music he enjoys so much.

Michael Adelson, guest conductor

Michael Adelson, guest conductor

Michael Adelson is currently conductor of the Auros Group for New Music and a cover conductor for the New York Philharmonic. He made his first appearance with a major American orchestra in 1992, conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His other conducting engagements have included The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

Equally at home in the opera house, Mr. Adelson has led Scandinavian productions of Puccini’s Turandot and La Bohème, Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor, and, in Stockholm, the world premiere of Qu Xiao-Song’s Oedipus. In addition to his position as conductor of the Auros Group for New Music, he frequently makes guest-conducting appearances with new music ensembles, including Speculum Musicae, Locrian Chamber Players, Dinosaur Annex, and the Fromm Players at Harvard. He has led world premieres at the Venice Biennale and the Ultima Contemporary Music Festival in Oslo, and has conducted new American music in Europe and Asia as well as in the United States.

Mr. Adelson, who is also an active composer, regularly leads workshops in conducting and orchestral technique for educators, as well as for college and pre-college musicians sponsored by the New York Philharmonic. As the principal conductor of the first annual Rencontres Musicales Europeenes in France, he led a festival orchestra that included students from France, Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic. With the Orkester Norden, he conducted students from all the Nordic countries. He has written and conducted youth concerts with the Helsinki Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Adelson studied at the New England Conservatory and Mannes College of Music, and graduated summa cum laude from Jorma Panula’s conducting class at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

Lance Friedel, guest conductor

Lance Friedel, guest conductor

American Conductor Lance Friedel is currently enjoying an active career in Europe and the United States.

He has served as Music Director of the Providence Chamber Orchestra in Rhode Island and Assistant Conductor of the Peabody Symphony Orchestra in Maryland, and has also directed numerous orchestras throughout the world.

He was awarded first prize at the 2001 Mario Gusella International Conductors ompetition in Pescara, Italy, and as a result of this prestigious prize, he has been engaged to conduct concerts with orchestras throughout Italy, as well as in Hungary.

In 1994 Lance Friedel was the first-prize winner at the Czech Music Workshop in Hradec Králové, and was invited to conduct the Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra the following season. In 1995, and again in 1996, he was awarded first prize at the Marienbad Conducting Workshop in Mariánské Lázně, and was invited to conduct concerts with the West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra. Since then he has been invited to conduct orchestras throughout Eastern Europe, including the Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra in Poland and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine in Kiev. He has conducted new productions of Aida and Le nozze di Figaro in Slovakia, as well as world première performances of several new American symphonic works in Bulgaria.

Lance Friedel has attended master classes under such esteemed conductors as Leonard Slatkin, André Previn, and Lorin Maazel, and has attended numerous workshops and seminars, including the Mozarteum Summer Academy in Salzburg, t
he Aspen Music Festival, and Tanglewood. His conducting teachers have included Gustav Meier, Michael Charry, and Georg Tintner. A graduate of Boston University, he has also studied at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, and the Mannes College of Music in New York.

Eckart Preu, guest conductor

Eckart Preu, guest conductor

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.