GRAMMY Award-winning conductor JEFF VON DER SCHMIDT is known for his innovative programming and insightful performances. He has received two Grammy Awards and nine nominations for 30 compact disc recordings, and has led concerts around the world – from Vienna, Austria, and New York City, to UNAM in Mexico and the Hanoi Opera House in Vietnam. As Founding Artistic Director and conductor of Southwest Chamber Music, the Summer Festival at The Huntington and the LA International New Music Festival, he curates programs to excite, inform and challenge both performers and audience members. Equally at home with classical masters to composers of our time, Mr. von der Schmidt led the groundbreaking 2010 Ascending Dragon Music Festival and Cultural Exchange, the largest in history between the U.S. and Vietnam, sponsored by the U.S. State Department. He has also conducted programs for the 2006 World Culture Expo at the Temples of Angkor, the Royal University of Fine Arts in Cambodia, UNAM in Mexico City and the 2009 Guadalajara FIL Festival. His history of commissioning composers of our time resulted in a long association with soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson, receiving a standing ovation at the Library of Congress for Felciano’s An American Decameron. Mr. von der Schmidt also conducted the ensemble at Cooper Union in New York, followed by performances at the Arnold Schoenberg Center in Vienna, Austria, the first Americans appearing there in concert. He led an Asian tour featuring Grawemeyer Award-winner Chinary Ung’s Aura, and he conducted five programs at UNAM in Mexico City featuring the Grammy Award-winning 5 CD recordings of the complete chamber music of Carlos Chávez. Mr. von der Schmidt has initiated over 40 commissions in the past 30 years, and he has conducted over 100 world, west-coast and local premieres as part of his programming of American, Asian, Latino, African-American and numerous women composers.
Mr. von der Schmidt received the Henri M. Kohn Award as the outstanding student at the Tanglewood Music Festival in 1980 from Gunther Schuller and Seiji Ozawa, and studied French horn with Roland Berger of the Vienna Philharmonic, holding a certificate in German from the University of Vienna. His commission and recording of William Kraft’s Horn Concerto, conducted by Kent Nagano, led to performances at Symphony Space in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, winning the 1990 Friedheim Award. He has lectured on music at the Getty Center, Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella Series, Arizona State University, University of Colorado, Ohio State University, Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the Vietnam National Academy of Music, and the Hochschule für Musik in Lübeck, Germany.