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Ward Stare

Ward Stare
Credit: Halski Studio

Music Director

Joined the RPO in 2014

Appointed the 12th music director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in July 2014, Rochester native Ward Stare has been described as “inspiring musicians to impressive heights” by The New York Times, a “compelling figure on the podium” by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and “a dynamic music director” by Rochester CITY Newspaper.

In the RPO’s 2015-16 season, Stare collaborated with highly regarded guest soloists including violinist Simone Porter, soprano Erin Wall, and world-renowned pianist Yuja Wang. Stare also conducted the regional premiere of a flute concerto by Pulitzer-Prize winner Aaron Jay Kernis, performed by leading virtuoso Marina Piccinini. RPO 2016-17 season highlights include an American Music Festival, Puccini’s La Bohème, and the world concert premiere of a new work for orchestra by Academy Award-winning composer Elliot Goldenthal. Stare will also collaborate with noted soloists such as pianist Jeremy Denk, violinist James Ehnes, and soprano Nicole Cabell.

Stare’s recent seasons have seen a number of highly anticipated debuts with orchestras around the world, including performances with the Baltimore Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony, and the Calgary Philharmonic. This season, he makes his debut in November with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra leading a program of Wagner, Liszt, and Sibelius, followed by his return to the St. Louis Symphony in December.

He made his debut with the Grant Park Music Festival in July of 2015, and returned to the New World Symphony in 2016. Stare’s frequent collaboration with the Lyric Opera of Chicago began with his debut in 2012 conducting performances of Hansel and Gretel; he returned in 2013 to lead Die Fledermaus, and again in November 2014 to lead Porgy and Bess to rave reviews. Following his critically acclaimed debut with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (OTSL) in 2013 conducting Il Tabarro and Pagliacci, Stare returned to OTSL the next season for performances of Dialogues of the Carmelites. He made his debut with the Washington National Opera conducting Donizetti’s comic opera L’elisir d’amore in 2014.

Stare served as resident conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra from 2008 to 2012. In 2009, he made his highly successful Carnegie Hall debut with the orchestra, stepping in at the last minute to lead H. K. Gruber’s Frankenstein! The 2013-14 season saw his return to the Atlanta and Detroit symphony orchestras, as well as his debuts with the Syracuse Symphoria, the Jacksonville Symphony, and the Naples Philharmonic with Lang Lang as soloist. Other recent engagements include the Houston, Québec, and Dallas symphonies, as well as numerous engagements with the Saint Louis Symphony where he served as a regular guest conductor on the orchestra’s 2012-13 Family, Special Event, and Subscription series.

Stare was trained as a trombonist at The Juilliard School in Manhattan. At 18, he was appointed principal trombonist of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and has performed as an orchestral musician with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, among others. As a soloist, he has concertized in both the U.S. and Europe. wardstare.com

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