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An American Champion – Gerard Schwarz Interviewed by Jeremy Siepmann

January 18, 2011


Gerard Schwarz
Like many people of a certain age, I first knew Gerard Schwarz as a trumpeter—one of the best in the business: a stunning virtuoso with an uncommonly wide expressive and stylistic range. Whatever the period, he seemed at home in it. Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary, you name it. He was not only brilliantly gifted but clearly well-informed. When he moved into the world of conducting, few can have been surprised. Since those days, back in the 60s, he has been associated with many orchestras, on both sides of the Atlantic (he was Music Director of Britain’s Liverpool Philharmonic from 2001 to 2006, and has appeared at the helm of the Czech Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestre National de France, to name only a few). The greatest monument to his achievements, however, is the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, which he leaves this year after a tenure of a quarter of a century. In that time he has transformed the orchestra into a world-class ensemble and raised the subscription base from 5,000 to a staggering 35,000 subscribers. Now 63, he can look back on a lifetime rich in memories. What, musically speaking, I wondered, were his earliest?
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