Internationally acclaimed conductor and violinist JOSEPH SILVERSTEIN was Music Director of the Utah Symphony Orchestra from 1983 through 1998 and became Conductor Laureate in the 1998-99 season. Music Director of the Chautauqua Symphony from 1986-87 through 1988-89 he has also served as Principal Guest Conductor of Seattle’s Northwest Chamber Orchestra.
Born in Detroit, his first teacher was his father Bernard, who was a music instructor in Detroit’s public school system. His formal training took place at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and his teachers included such luminaries as Josef Gingold, Mischa Mischakoff, and Efrem Zimbalist. After leaving the Curtis Institute in 1950, Mr. Silverstein spent three seasons with the Houston Symphony; one with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and one season as concertmaster and assistant conductor of the Denver Symphony. He joined the Boston Symphony in the fall of 1955 and was a member of the violin section for seven seasons. He became concertmaster in 1962 and assistant conductor in 1971, holding both positions through the 1983-84 season. During his tenure at Boston, he conducted the orchestra on more than 100 occasions in the United States, Canada and abroad. He has also served as artistic advisor to the Hartford, Kansas City, Louisville, Baltimore, Toledo, Virginia, Florida, Alabama, Winnipeg, Oakland and Portland Symphony Orchestras and Interim Music Director of the Florida Philharmonic from January 2002 through May 2003.
As a conductor and soloist, Mr. Silverstein has appeared with hundreds of orchestras in the United States, as well as the Far East, Israel and Europe. As a participant in major international competitions, he was the Silver medallist in the 1959 Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels, and also won the Walter W. Naumburg Award in 1960. In recent seasons, he appeared in recital in Boston, New York, Cleveland, Detroit and Philadelphia. Future and recent-past engagements with Mr. Silverstein conducting and appearing as soloist include the Detroit Symphony, the Milwaukee Symphony, the Utah Symphony, the New Jersey Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the San Antonio Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, France’s Orchestre Nationale de Lille, the Berlin Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan as well as appearances at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, the Aldeburgh Festival of England, the Teatro Comunale di Ferrara in Italy, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and the Aspen Music Festival. He makes frequent visits to work with orchestras in China in cities that include Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou among others. In the fall of 2001, Mr. Silverstein toured major European cities as a member of a piano quartet that includes Pierre-Laurent Aimard, pianist; Tabea Zimmermann, violist, and Jean-Guihen Queyras, cellist.
Mr. Silverstein organized the Boston Symphony Chamber Players in 1964 and served as Music Director of that ensemble until coming to the Utah Symphony. He led eight international tours, as well as many United States tours. He has been a member of the faculties at Yale University, the New England Conservatory, Boston University and the Tanglewood Music Center. He also holds honorary degrees from Tufts University, Boston College, Rhode Island University and the New England Conservatory. A member of the string faculty of the Curtis Institute and was also an artist member of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York for many seasons.
Mr. Silverstein has recorded extensively for RCA, Deutsche Grammophon, CBS, Nonesuch, New World Records, Telarc and Pro Arte. His Telarc recording of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” with the Boston Symphony Orchestra received a Grammy nomination. Other recent recordings, on which Mr. Silverstein is both conductor and featured soloist, are with the Utah Symphony on Pro Arte. They include an all-Mendelssohn album, an all-Beethoven album, an all-Barber, a Grieg/Schumann recording, and recordings featuring the Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak and Sibelius Violin Concerti. His most recent recording with the Utah Symphony features the pianist Michael Boriskin in repertoire by George Perle and Richard Danielpour. Other recent releases include the Bach Brandenburg Concertos with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center on Delos, and the Schmitt Quintet in G Major on Sony Classical, and his recording of the Mozart Sonatas with pianist Derek Han on BMG-Verdi.