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Theodore Kuchar conducting

Theodore Kuchar will be leading the Springfield Symphony Orchestra at our Beauty Amid Chaos concert on May 13, 2023. Tickets are available online or through our box office.

The multiple award-winning conductor Theodore Kuchar is the most recorded conductor of his generation and appears on over 130 compact discs for the Naxos, Brilliant Classics, Ondine, Marco Polo, Toccata Classics and Centaur labels. He was recently appointed Principal Conductor of the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine and has served as the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of two of Europe’s leading orchestras, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra (formerly the Czech Radio Orchestra) while also serving as the Principal Conductor of the Slovak Sinfonietta. In the 2011-12 season he commenced his tenure as the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Venezuela and prior to that served as the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra in Brisbane, Australia. In addition to his conducting activities he has served as the Artistic Director of two of the world’s pre-eminent chamber music festivals, The Australian Festival of Chamber Music (1991-2007) and the Nevada Chamber Music Festival (2003-2018). In September, 2021 he commenced duties as the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of The Thomas de Hartmann Project, a concert and recording project which BBC Radio 3 recently described as “arguably the most important recording project by a major, yet relatively unknown, composer of this new decade.” The project will be divided between record labels including Pentatone, Toccata Classics and Nimbus and including soloists Joshua Bell and Matt Haimovitz.

Mr. Kuchar’s longest titled affiliation and relationship is with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, of which he was appointed the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor in 1994. They have appeared together in over 250 performances, in Kyiv and on tour on four continents while their discography totals over 80 compact discs. Most recently, they completed a 44-concert tour of North America under the auspices of Columbia Artists Management in January-March, 2017. In September, 2018 he commenced a relationship with the National Opera and Ballet of Ukraine – Lviv, directing a new production of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (Vesna Svyashchena) and Pulcinella. In February, 2020 he directed the world premiere of the opera Lys Mykyta by the Ukrainian composer Ivan Nebessniy. With the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine, he will undertake a six-week United States Tour during the period January-February, 2023, including performances in New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Washington DC’s Kennedy Center.

Conducting engagements during the 2019-20 season included the major orchestras and opera houses of Ankara, Antalya, Beijing, Buenos Aires (Teatro Colon), Helsingborg, Helsinki, Istanbul, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Odessa and Prague, among others. The opening two months of the 2017-18 season have included a three- week residency at The Cleveland Institute of Music where he opened that distinguished institution’s orchestral season and conducted daily masterclasses and seminars for advanced tertiary conductors and instrumentalists and a two-week engagement with the Staatskapelle Weimar in Bayreuth, Dresden and Weimar. Highlights of the past several seasons have included a four-week, 20 concert tour of the USA with the Czech Symphony Orchestra and guest conducting engagements including the BBC Symphony, BBC National Symphony Orchestra of Wales (filling in on one day’s notice to conduct Josef Suk’s epic Asrael Symphony), Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel Symphony Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. Equally committed to musical theatre he has held a special relationship, totaling over 200 performances, with the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. He has collaborated with major artists including James Galway, Jessye Norman, Lynn Harrell, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Sarah Chang, Mstislav Rostropovich, Joshua Bell, Joseph Calleja and Frederica von Stade, among others.

Among Mr. Kuchar’s numerous accolades include BBC Record of the Year, Australian Broadcasting Corporation Record of the Year, Chamber Music America Record of the Year, Gramophone Magazine’s Editor’s Choice, the WQXR Record of the Year and a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Instrumental Album of 2013. Recent releases of seven new compact discs, devoted to the complete symphonies of Ukrainian Boris Lyatoshynsky and Yevhen Stankovych (National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine), orchestral works by the Turkish composer Ulvi Camal Erkin (with the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra). In March, 2019 the Brilliant Classics label released a 13 cd compilation – Theodore Kuchar – The Complete Edition devoted to the conductor’s complete discography for that label.

During his tenure with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Kuchar conducted cycles of the complete symphonies by Beethoven, Bruckner, Mahler, Mozart, Prokofiev, Schubert and Shostakovich, and led eleven international tours to Asia, Australia, Central Europe and the United Kingdom. Under Mr. Kuchar’s direction, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine became the most frequently recorded orchestra of the former Soviet Union. Between 1994 and 2004 the orchestra recorded over 80 compact discs for the Naxos and Marco Polo labels, including the complete symphonies of Kalinnikov, Lyatoshynsky, Martinu and Prokofiev, as well as major works of Chadwick, Dvorak, Glazunov, Morton Gould, Mozart, Piston, Shchedrin, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky. They also recorded the symphonies and orchestral works of Ukraine’s leading contemporary symphonist, Yevhen Stankovych. The recording of Lyatoshynsky’s Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3 was awarded ABC’s “Best International Recording of the Year” in 1994. Their recording of the complete works for violin and orchestra by Walter Piston for the Naxos label was hailed by Gramophone (January, 2000) as a “Record of the Year” for 1999. The complete symphonies of Prokofiev, on the Naxos label, are regarded by many critics as the most accomplished cycle available on compact disc.

As an educator and orchestral trainer he has held a longterm relationship with The Cleveland Institute of Music and served as Resident Conductor of the Kent/Blossom Music Festival, the educational institution established by the late George Szell, in cooperation with The Cleveland Orchestra (2003-2012), where he was responsible for the orchestral program while also coaching chamber music and giving masterclasses to violinists and violists. Since 2003, he has devoted himself to annual residencies at The Cleveland Institute of Music, the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, the Canberra School of Music at the Australian National University, the Czech National Academy of Music, the National Academy of Music in Kiev and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, among others. In 2006, he developed the annual conductor’s courses in cooperation with the Paris Conservatoire and hosted by the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra in the Czech Republic. In March, 2012 he served on the faculty of the Conductor’s Guild Workshop hosted by The Cleveland Institute of Music. During the period 1996-2002 he served as Professor and Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In 2021 he was appointed as Artistic Director of the inaugural Gustav Meier Memorial Masterclasses, an annual training program for advanced orchestral conductors. with the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine.

Kuchar remains as strong an advocate of composers of the present day as he does of the great composers of the past. In addition to his recordings of contemporary works with the NSO of Ukraine, he has also conducted premieres of works by Lukas Foss (the Capriccio for Cello and Orchestra, with Yo-Yo Ma as soloist), Giya Kancheli, Joseph Schwantner, Alfred Schnittke, Peteris Vasks, Osvaldo Golijov and Rodion Shchedrin, among others. He has led numerous operatic productions in centers including Buenos Aires, Caracas, Helsinki, Kyiv, Prague and San Francisco with soloists including Jessye Norman, Frederica von Stade, Joseph Calleja, Jorma Hynninen, Isabel Bayrakdarian and Kelley O’Connor, among others.

Theodore Kuchar graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of Robert Vernon, Principal Violist of The Cleveland Orchestra. He was awarded the Paul Fromm Fellowship from the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, subsequently reinvited for the following summer.

He continues to devote several periods annually to one of his most serious passions, the performance of chamber music and has been a participant at major international festivals, including Kuhmo, Lockenhaus, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music and the Nevada Chamber Music Festival. His colleagues have included Sergei Babayan, Noah Bendix-Balgley, James Buswell, Martin Chalifour, Sarah Chang, Lynn Harrell, Alexander Ivashkin, Robert Levin, Truls Mork, Irina Schnittke, and Thomas Zehetmair. In 1994, he participated with colleagues Oleh Krysa and Alexander Ivashkin in the world premiere of Penderecki’s String Trio in New York City. He has appeared as violist in recordings on the Naxos label of works by Alfred Schnittke (with Irina Schnittke and Mark Lubotsky – this recording was awarded the BBC’s “CD of the Year” award for 2002), Bohuslav Martinu and Walter Piston. The latter recording was awarded the Chamber Music America/WQXR “Record of the Year” for 2001.

(December, 2021)