Benjamin Loeb, Conductor
Benjamin Loeb, a native Texan, is an accomplished conductor, accompanist, soloist, arranger, educator, and administrator. He has been hailed in El Paso as “a walking genius of unique ideas for making concerts fun to perform and hear, as well as subtly exposing youngsters to the pleasures of good music, [El Paso, Inc.]” while his recent performance with the Greater Bridgeport (CT) Symphony Orchestra as a “double-threat” both playing and conducting Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue was called “a total triumph that triggered a well-deserved, spontaneous standing ovation. Loeb and the GBS captured every ounce of imagination and emotion Gershwin packed into his ground-breaking musical portrait. [Connecticut Post]” Other widely varied projects range from concerts of Beethoven and Bruckner Symphonies to recordings with Yo-Yo Ma of Italian 16th century madrigalists to tours with popular rock musicians to world premieres of the most cutting-edge avant-garde contemporary music.
He recently served as both the Executive Director of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony and the Music Director of the 2011 New Hampshire Music Festival. As the Associate Conductor of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, Loeb founded and served as both Executive and Music Director of the El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestras – El Paso’s only national-level, NEA-recognized, multiple-orchestra system serving the best young musicians in the El Paso, southern New Mexico and Juarez region. He held the position of Assistant Conductor for the Haddonfield Symphony for four years and Assistant Conductor for the Greater Bridgeport (CT) Symphony Orchestra for two, and served for three summers as Assistant Conductor for the TodiMusicFest in Portsmouth, VA. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of the International Conducting Workshop and Festival, now in its eleventh year, hosted by orchestras around the world. He has also served as Director of Orchestras at the Music Institute of Chicago.
Benjamin Loeb’s projects have shown his tremendous range. With the Haddonfield Symphony (now Symphony in C) he led the MET Life award-winning musical outreach into schools in southern New Jersey in which he introduced children of all ages to the instruments of the orchestra. At Rutgers University, the Peabody Conservatory and Harvard University, he led operas in full productions. In El Paso he has conducted the El Paso Symphony in Young Peoples’ Concerts, Family Concerts and Christmas Concerts. In one recent concert, both the El Paso Symphony and El Paso Youth Orchestra performed together combining to make over 150 musicians on stage. With the Pueblo (CO) Symphony, he both played and conducted Beethoven Emperor Concerto. A frequent guest conductor in China, he often leads all-American programs while giving master classes and performing recitals with Chinese instrumentalists on his off days. At the Peabody Conservatory, as a musical response to the attacks of September 11, Loeb organized and led what Tim Smith of The Baltimore Sun called “a remarkable concert” of Bruckner Symphony #7 and the world premiere of John Traill’s “In Memory”, a set of four orchestral miniatures based on the themes of the Bruckner. He has been asked by Yo-Yo Ma to create and conduct arrangements of 16th century madrigals for his Silk Road Project, and he has toured with his sister Lisa Loeb leading orchestral accompaniments to her rock music.
The International Conducting Workshop and Festival (ICWF) held an eleven-day workshop for conductors in Zlin, Czech Republic, which over the past nine years since its inception has trained over 330 conductors from 31 countries, and which has included both full orchestra concerts and chamber music with international artists. The ICWF has included past faculty members such as Gustav Meier, Director of Conducting Studies at Peabody Conservatory; Otto-Werner Mueller, Conducting Professor at the Curtis Institute of Music; Larry Rachleff, Director of Orchestras at Rice Shepherd School and Music Director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic; Don Schleicher, Director of Orchestras and Conducting at University of Illinois; Carl St.Clair, Music Director of the Pacific Symphony; and Rossen Milanov, Music Director of Symphony in C and the Princeton Symphony.
As a pianist, Benjamin Loeb has been praised by the Boston Globe: “[his] vigorous, cogent playing signaled the kind of equally weighted partnership, plus competition, plus mutual quest, etc. that [makes] this music live.” Recent season highlights include three performances of the Beethoven Emperor Concerto including one in which he both conducted and performed as soloist. As concerto soloist, he has collaborated with many conductors including Alan Gilbert, JoAnn Falletta, and Carl St. Clair. His concerts have taken him around to world to major venues and on radio and TV in New York City, San Francisco, Dallas, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Berlin, Seoul, Shanghai, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Panama City, Helsinki, St. Petersburg and tours across the United States. He has performed for Community Concerts and has been featured as Artist-in-Residence on NPR’s Performance Today with violinist Livia Sohn. As one of the last Artistic Ambassadors for the United States Information Agency he toured Argentina and Chile with clarinetist David Gresham. He has served three times as an official pianist for the Joseph Joachim/Hanover International Violin Competition, as well as for the Walter Naumberg Violin Competition, Marlboro Music Festival and Concerts Artist Guild auditions. He served as staff pianist for the Steans/Ravinia Festival and SMU Summer Conservatory among others. He can be heard on many labels having recorded CD’s with violinists Joseph Lin (Korngold and Busoni), Takako Nishizaki (Mozart), and Livia Sohn (Opera Fantasies) on Naxos, Judy Kang for the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, and with soprano Allison Charney on the DSCLabel. He also has a recently released solo album on Naxos of Joplin Rags and has two recordings in production of Christmas and Children Songs with soprano Katrina Swift.
He holds a Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory in Conducting, as a student of Gustav Meier, a Master in Music from the Curtis Institute and a Doctor in Musical Arts from the Juilliard School in Accompanying and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University.
He is commuting to CT but still living in El Paso, Texas with his wife, Quyen, his almost 7-year-old daughter, Anna Sofia Uni, his 4-and-a-half-year-old, Lulu Ladybug, and 2-year-old son Ryan “Taco”. He continues to tour worldwide as conductor, pianist, educator and arts advocate.
Loeb’s far-ranging interests do not limit him to music; he has directed plays, cooked gourmet meals for 65, tutored over 500 people in test preparation for the Princeton Review, and played and enjoyed almost every sport. He is also an active member of the Rotary Club of El Paso. Moreover (or most important), he is a lifetime Dallas Cowboys fan.