Leon Botstein



Leon Botstein, born in Zurich in 1946, has been music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992. Between 2003 and 2011 he also performed these roles with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. He is a globally sought-after guest conductor and has conducted ensembles such as the Mariinsky Orchestra of St. Petersburg, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He is the founder and artistic co-director of the Bard Music Festival and director of its in-house The Orchestra Now. Botstein is famous for his contextual approach to music and his finely-honed skill for tracking down excellent works previously undiscovered by the international classical world. Or, in the words of Steve Smith in the New York Times: «When it comes to ambitious, fearless orchestral programming there is Leon Botstein... and then there is everyone else.» Numerous recordings, including with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, testify to Botstein’s championship of little-played repertoire, and his disc with the London Symphony Orchestra of Gavriil Popov’s epic Symphony No. 1 and Shostakovich’s Theme and Variations, op. 3, received a Grammy nomination in the category «Best Orchestral Performance». Botstein is an innovative music teacher, chair of the Central European University in Budapest and, as president of the Bard College of New York, an important voice in the New York cultural and media scene. His most important works in musicology and cultural studies include The Complete Brahms (Norton) and Judentum und Modernität (Böhlau) as well as his editorship of the prestigious Musical Quarterly.

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