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Chief Conductor of the Noord Nederlands Orkest and Artist in Association at the Tapiola Sinfonietta, Stefan Asbury is in demand with many of the leading orchestras worldwide. The 2011/12 season includes performances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (with Lang Lang as soloist), Sinfonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig amongst others.
Recent seasons have also included guest engagements with the London Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, RAI Turin, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Dresdner Philharmonie, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, West Australian Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of St Luke's. He enjoys frequent collaborations with the Basel Sinfonietta, WDR Sinfonieorchester, hr-Sinfonieorchester, NDR Sinfonieorchester and ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien. Asbury is also regular guest conductor at festivals such as Automne en Normandie, Wien Modern, Wiener Festwochen, Munich Biennale, the Salzburger Festspiele and La Biennale di Venezia.
Since 1995 Stefan Asbury has served on the faculty of the Tanglewood Music Center and currently holds the Sana H. Sabbagh master teacher chair on the Conducting Faculty which he has held since 2005. From 1999 to 2005 he was Associate Director of New Music Activities. In addition to his regular summer teaching he has given conducting master classes at institutions such as the Hochschule der Kunste (Zurich), Venice Conservatory, Tokyo Wonder Site, and his master classes are featured in the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Inside the TMC.
Stefan conducted John Adams' A Flowering Tree for the 2009 Perth International Arts Festival, a performance which won 'Best Symphony Orchestra Concert' for the 2009 Helpmann Awards. Other recent opera productions have included Wolfgang Rihm's Jakob Lenz for the 2008 Wiener Festwochen, a concert version of Benjamin Britten's Owen Wingrave with Tapiola Sinfonietta, the world premiere of Van Vlijmen's Thyeste with Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie and the Nationale Reisopera, Johannes Maria Staud's Berenice at Munich Biennale and Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream in Karlsruhe. Stefan has collaborated with the Mark Morris Dance Group in their production and tour of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet. Performances took place at Lincoln Center and at the Barbican amongst other venues. This season sees him collaborate with them again on Four Saints in Three Acts at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Stefan Asbury has particularly strong relationships with many living composers including Oliver Knussen, Steve Reich, Wolfgang Rihm, Unsuk Chin and Mark Anthony Turnage, and collaborates regularly with Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, Musikfabrik and the London Sinfonietta. He was Music Director of the Remix Ensemble Casa da Musica Porto from 2001-2005, working with them to commission new works and programming an innovative mix of jazz, film and music theatre. Notable amongst his recordings are a recording of works by Unsuk Chin with Ensemble intercontemporain on Deutsche Grammophon. His CD of music by Jonathan Harvey was awarded a 'Monde de la Musique CHOC' award, and his complete cycle 'Espace Accoustique' by Gerard Grisey with WDR Sinfonieorchester won the German music critics award (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik.)
Stefan Asbury, conductor
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THE TRAINING GROUNDS FOR THE MUSICIANS OF
The Tanglewood Music Center Fellowship Program is the Boston
Symphony Orchestra's summer academy for advanced musical study. The
TMC offers an intensive schedule of study and performance for
emerging professional instrumentalists, singers, conductors, and
composers who have completed most of their formal training in
Serge Koussevitzky, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's music
director from 1924 to 1949, founded the school with the intention
of creating a premier music academy where, with the resources of a
great symphony orchestra at their disposal, young musicians would
sharpen their skills under the tutelage of Boston Symphony
Orchestra musicians and other specially invited artists.
The Berkshire Music Center opened formally on July 8, 1940, with
both speeches (Koussevitzky, alluding to the war then raging in
Europe, said, "If ever there was a time to speak of music, it is
now in the New World") and music, including the first performance
of Randall Thompson's Alleluia for unaccompanied chorus, which was
written for the ceremony and arrived less than an hour before the
event was to begin, but which made such an impression that it is
sung every summer at the TMC's Opening Exercises. The TMC became
Koussevitzky's pride and joy for the rest of his life. He assembled
an extraordinary faculty in composition, operatic and choral
activities, and instrumental performance; he himself taught the
most gifted conductors.
Koussevitzky continued to develop the Tanglewood Music Center
until 1950, a year after his retirement as the BSO's music
director. Charles Munch, his successor in that position, ran the
TMC from 1951 through 1962, working with Leonard Bernstein and
Aaron Copland to shape the school's programs. In 1963, new BSO
Music Director Erich Leinsdorf took over the school's reins,
returning to Koussevitzky's hands-on leadership approach while
restoring a renewed emphasis on contemporary music. The TMC's
annual Festival of Contemporary Music, produced in association with
the Fromm Music Foundation, was begun in 1963.
In 1970, three years before his appointment as BSO music
director, Seiji Ozawa became head of the BSO's programs at
Tanglewood, with Gunther Schuller leading the TMC and Leonard
Bernstein as general advisor. Leon Fleisher served as the TMC's
Artistic Director from 1985 to 1997. In 1994, with the opening of
Seiji Ozawa Hall, the TMC centralized its activities on the Leonard
Bernstein Campus, which also includes the Aaron Copland Library,
chamber music studios, administrative offices, and the Leonard
Bernstein Performers Pavilion adjacent to Ozawa Hall. In 1998,
Ellen Highstein was appointed to the new position of Director of
the Tanglewood Music Center, operating under the artistic
supervision of Seiji Ozawa. Maestro James Levine took over as Music
Director of the BSO in 2005 and has continued the tradition of
hands-on involvement with the TMC, conducting both orchestral
concerts and staged operas, as well as participating in
masterclasses for singers, conductors, and composers.
It would be impossible to list all the distinguished musicians
who have studied at the Tanglewood Music Center. According to
recent estimates, 20 percent of the members of American symphony
orchestras, and 30 percent of all first-chair players, studied at
Today, alumni of the Tanglewood Music Center play a vital role
in the musical life of the nation. Tanglewood and the Tanglewood
Music Center, have become a fitting shrine to the memory of Serge
Koussevitzky, a living embodiment of the vital, humanistic
tradition that was his legacy. At the same time, the Tanglewood
Music Center maintains its commitment to the future as one of the
world's most important training grounds for the composers,
conductors, instrumentalists, and vocalists of tomorrow.
Tanglewood Music Center Vocal Fellows