Eckart Preu, conductor
Eckart Preu is Music Director of the Spokane Symphony (WA) and the Stamford Symphony (CT).
Previously, he held the positions of Associate Conductor of the Richmond Symphony (2001-2004), Resident Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra (1997-2004) and of the American Russian Young Artists Orchestra (1999-2004). 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 (Israel), Symphony Orchestra of Chile, Auckland Philharmonia (New Zealand), Radio Philharmonic of Slovenia, Pecs Philharmonic (Hungary), Varna Philharmonic (Bulgaria), and in Germany with the Jenaer Philharmoniker.
Recent and upcoming guest conducting engagements include concerts with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the Delaware Symphony, the Duluth Superior Symphony, the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, the Wichita Symphony, and the Portland Symphony (Maine). Recent international appearances include performances with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Chile, the Auckland Philharmonia in New Zealand, and the Philharmonie Baden-Baden in Germany.
Career highlights include performances at Carnegie Hall, the Sorbonne in Paris, a live broadcast with the Jerusalem Symphony, and his first commercial recording of the world premiere of “Letters from Lincoln” - a work commissioned by the Spokane Symphony from Michael Daugherty featuring baritone soloist Thomas Hampson. 2012 also saw a live CD recording featuring Paganini's Violin concerto no. 2 with Sergey Malov and the New Zealand Philharmonia.
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 Martin Woldsen Theater at the Fox in Spokane (WA). 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 also believes in presenting neglected works. Past seasons featured compositions by Bloch, Berio, Markevich, Kabalevsky, Weinberger, and Schreker.
A supporter of contemporary music he has presented compositions by Arvo Part, Carlos Surinach, Anne Clyne, Clint Needham, Avner Dorman, Pierre Jalbert and others. In his 2013-14 season he will conduct works by no less than 13 living composers.
In 2010 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 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 William Thomas McKinley's Clarinet Concerto no. 4 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. He also conducted the premiere of Michael Daugherty's "Letters from Lincoln" with baritone Thomas Hampson.
As opera conductor he has lead fully staged productions of Rigoletto, The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, La Finta Giardiniera, and Les Enfants Terribles among others.
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 concerts in a unique collaboration with the Spokane Tribe of Indians, Wellpinit.