“Eckart Preu is one of the most impressive talents in the group of younger conductors working today in America. He is deeply musical, he cares about orchestras, and he conducts with elegance, style, and intensity.”
League of American Orchestras
“It’s a certain type of energy that he has. He’s just ready to soak in the world.”
Concertmaster, Stamford Symphony
“I hate very stuffy, formal atmospheres. When I go to a concert, I want to have fun and feel good.”
"He is the conductor credited with making the SSO stylish, relevant and even cool." - Click here to read more in the Stamford Magazine's article, Hitting the Right Notes, about Eckart.
ECKART PREU is Music Director of the Spokane Symphony (WA) and the Stamford Symphony (CT).
Previously he held the positions of Associate Conductor of the Richmond Symphony (2001-2004), Resident Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra (1997-2004), and the American Russian Young Artists Orchestra (1999-2004). Other former posts include Music Director of the Norwalk (CT) Youth Symphony and Principal Conductor of the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra (NY). He was associated with the Bard Music Festival from 1997 to 2004 as both Assistant and Guest Conductor.
In Europe, Mr. Preu served as Music Director of the Orchestre International de Paris (1993-1995).
As a guest conductor, he has appeared with the Jerusalem Symphony (Israel), the Radio Philharmonic of Slovenia, the Pecs Philharmonic (Hungary), the Memphis Symphony, the Portland (ME) Symphony, the Fairfax Symphony, the Duluth Symphony, and in Germany with the Jenaer Philharmoniker and the Hallesche Philharmonic. During the 2011/12 season Mr. Preu will appear with the Wichita Symphony, Delaware Symphony, Philharmonie Baden-Baden (Germany), and the Auckland Symphony (New Zealand).
Career highlights include his second performance at Carnegie Hall in January 2008, a performance at the Sorbonne in Paris, and a live broadcast with the Jerusalem Symphony in 2005. His concerts are have been aired by WPKT Stamford, KPBX Spokane, WCVE Richmond and Jerusalem Radio.
His tenure as Music Director saw the reopening of the newly renovated Fox Theater in Spokane. The theater serves as the new home for the Spokane Symphony as well as regional performing arts center.
A passionate performer of the core repertoire, Mr. Preu believes in presenting neglected repertoire. The 2008-2009 season in Spokane features compositions by Schreker, Markevich, Bloch and Berio. Mr. Preu initiated the exploration of the extraordinary music collected in Spokane in the Archives of Hans Moldenhauer, which includes compositions by Webern, Kabalevsky, Weinberger, Schoenberg, Griffes, Honegger and Wagner. Music from the archives was performed over several seasons in the main series as well as at a special festival.
Promoting and furthering American music, Mr. Preu conducted the world premieres of the clarinet concerto no. 4 by William Thomas McKinley (with Richard Stoltzman), "Prayer for piece" by Roger Davidson, the Connecticut premiere of "Made in America" by Joan Tower, "Lewis and Clark" by Leigh Baxter and others. Next season will see the world premiere of a commission from Michael Daugherty, "Letters from Lincoln", with soloist Thomas Hampson. During the 2013-2014 season he will perform 13 works by living composers.
As opera conductor he has lead fully staged productions of Rigoletto, The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, La Finta Giardiniera, and Les Enfants Terribles among others.
He has collaborated with internationally reknowned soloists like Richard Stoltzman, Horacio Gutierrez, Vladimir Feltsman, Jean-Phillipe Collard, Leila Josefowicz, Louis Lortie, and Sarah Chang.
A native of Germany, Mr. Preu came to the United States as winner of the National Conducting Competition of the German Academic Exchange Service (1996) for graduate studies with Harold Farberman at the Hartt School of Music where he also received the Karl Boehm Scholarship. In Germany he earned a masters degree in conducting from the Hochschule für Musik in Weimar studying under Gunter Kahlert and Nicolas Pasquet. He also studied under Jean-Sebastien Bereau at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris in France. Mr. Preu's education was made possible by scholarships from the Herbert von Karajan Foundation, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the French Ministry of Culture. In November 1998, Mr. Preu took 3rd place at the International Competition for Young Conductors of the European Union in Spoleto, Italy.
Eckart Preu's early musical training was in piano and singing. At the age of 10, he became a member of the Boys Choir Dresdner Kreuzchor and went on to work with them as soloist, rehearsal pianist, and Assistant Conductor. He subsequently served as a vocal coach with the Altenburg Opera and the Erfurt Opera House in Germany. Mr. Preu was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Bard College, NY (1999-2000) and in summers 2000 and 2001 he served on the guest faculty of the C.W. Post Chamber Music Festival.
Eckart Preu is also a frequent guest speaker for local businesses, community organizations and schools.