GREENSBORO — The Eastern Music Festival will end its 58th season tonight. But its music director will return next summer for four seasons.
The EMF board has signed a new four-year contract with Gerard Schwarz. It secures his role with the festival through the 2023 season.
For five weeks each summer, the classical music festival based at Guilford College offers education to young musicians by professional musicians and concerts for the public.
The New York-based Schwarz, 71, joined EMF as music adviser in 2005. In 2006, he became principal conductor and then music director in 2008. The 2019 EMF season marked his 12th anniversary as music director.
“He has had a lasting impact on the whole festival community with his genuine commitment to what we do every year at EMF guiding and encouraging our students, acclaimed faculty, and esteemed guest artists in the works of the great masters, past and present,” board Chairman Tim Lane said in a news release.
“Schwarz’s tenure of leadership has secured the artistic reputation of EMF as a world-class summer institute that also performs,” Lane added. “EMF’s Board of Directors chose Schwarz to continue with the festival, especially as it celebrates 60 years of musical excellence in the 2021 season and the great future that is yet to come.”
As EMF music director, Schwarz has been a champion for new orchestral works, receiving commissions for EMF from John Corigliano, Richard Danielpour, Lowell Liebermann, the late Sir André Previn and HyeKyung Lee.
New program initiatives established under Schwarz’s leadership include the Conducting Scholars Institute, the classical Guitar Program, and the new Euphonium Tuba Institute.
“Our work at EMF is ambitious, invigorating, always inspiring, and something I cherish year-round,” Schwarz said in the news release.
“Working with EMF is a genuine honor and privilege,” Schwarz added. “We broaden the education of hundreds of young, talented artists, and we bring beautiful music to our audiences.”
In addition to his role with EMF, Schwarz serves as music director of the All-Star Orchestra, Palm Beach Symphony and Mozart Orchestra of New York. He also is conductor laureate of the Seattle Symphony and conductor emeritus of the Mostly Mozart Festival.
After tonight’s season-ending concert, Schwarz will head to Florida — but not to rest.
He has been hired by the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. In the fall, he will take up his new post as distinguished professor of music, conducting and orchestral studies there.
He also has been named music director of the Palm Beach Symphony.
He will return to Greensboro in the summer of 2020 for EMF’s 59th season.