Associate Professor and Director of Orchestral Studies
Harvey Felder, described by Symphony Magazine as "one of America's promising conductors," brings to the podium a refreshing combination of talents. He is known for his deeply moving performances of the great "Classical" repertory as well as his entertaining performances on Pops' stages across this country. Mr. Felder has distinguished himself as a leader among his generation of conductors. "Felder is widely regarded for his effective and quality programming and performances" (Saint Louis Star). He has been characterized as having an affable and magnetic podium demeanor which helps audiences feel immediately welcomed, comfortable, and connected to his performances.
Mr. Felder is entering his eighteenth season as music director of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra. He has also served as assistant conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony, Resident conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony, conductor of special projects with the Atlanta Symphony, and artistic adviser/conductor of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. Additionally, Mr. Felder has held the post of music director with the Fox Valley (WI) Symphony, the Johns Hopkins Symphony (MD), and the Ann Arbor Summer Symphony (MI).
During the 1991 “Carnegie Hall at 100” celebration, Mr. Felder was invited to make his Carnegie Hall debut, conducting the American Symphony Orchestra. The success of these performances led to the beginning of an exciting and active guest conducting career. He has appeared as guest conductor with the Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Delaware, Grant Park, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Kansas City, National, New Jersey, North Carolina, Saint Louis, San Antonio, Spokane Symphonies, Dayton, Florida, Rochester, Orange County Philharmonics, as well as the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra (OH), the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, the Missouri Symphony Society, Chicago Sinfonietta, Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Costa Rica, the New Japan Philharmonic, Mikkeli City Orchestra of Finland and the Osaka Telemann Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Felder comes with a long list of engagements; but perhaps more telling, he also possesses a long list of reengagements. During the 2011-2012 concert season Mr. Felder will accept a second invitation to guest conduct the Chicago Sinfonietta, make his debut appearance with the San Francisco Bay Brass and serve as “Artist in Residence” at the University of Oklahoma.
Under Mr. Felder’s leadership as music director of the Tacoma Symphony, the orchestra has realized artistic goals before unimagined. The Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, once a valued and respected amateur community orchestra has been developed into one of the finest professional symphonies in the Northwest. Mr. Felder’s artistry, professionalism and passion have helped to craft the TSO into one of Tacoma’s true artistic treasures.
Mr. Felder's ability to communicate sophisticated musical ideas to young people, his public speaking ease and his engaging professional demeanor have made him a valued asset to the organizations he has represented. "Audiences like his style...a reserved and dignified conductor who knows the score and what he wants to do with it" (Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel).
Mr. Felder has garnered Mayoral Proclamations, Citations of Excellence, Outstanding Citizenship Awards, all of which attest to his involvement in the community. As an advocate for arts education, Mr. Felder served on the Kennedy Center/Getty Center’s Commission--a nonpartisan body organized to study the role of the arts in educational reform.
Mr. Felder has studied conducting with Max Rudolf, Gustav Meier, Gunther Schuller, Elizabeth Green, Zdenek Macal, David Zinman, Gennady Rozdestvensky, Kurt Mazur, and Seiji Ozawa. He attended the Festival at Sandpoint, the Conductor’s Guild Summer Institute, and the Tanglewood Music Center. Felder holds degrees in music from The University of Wisconsin- Madison and The University of Michigan.