Paul Polivnick, conductor
Paul Polivnick has been one of our most consistent guests on the podium due in large part to the wide range of materials at which he excels. He has brought four world premieres to our audiences, including SCENES by Jon Magnussen in our very first season; a pair of David Amram premieres, Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie and “Three Songs,” a concerto for Piano and Orchestra commissioned for Jon Nakamatsu; and Gordon Lee’s Young Impressions of the Old City.
Along with more classical fare, he also conducted the wildly popular Gershwin 1920’s Radio Hour– clear evidence of the diversity of his skills.
Maestro Polivnick spent 17 years as music director of the New Hampshire Music Festival, which he shaped into one of New England's premier musical organizations.
In November of 2011, he was named the festival's "Conductor Laureate" in recognition of the magnitude of his success, and will return this summer to conduct the first three weeks of its 60th anniversary season.
Polivnick maintains an active international conducting schedule. His appearances abroad have included the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Orchestra, National Orchestra of Lille, Orchestral Ensemble of Paris, National Orchestra of Barcelona, Gulbenkian Orchestra of Lisbon, Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra of Prague, Russian Philharmonic of Moscow, Luxembourg Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, Telemann Chamber Orchestra of Osaka, Puerto Rico Symphony, Brno Philharmonic, Kiev Camerata, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and many others. In addition, Polivnick has guest conducted over forty orchestras and opera companies in the United States.
Prior to his appointment in New Hampshire, Polivnick served as Music Director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. His success there was manifested by the lenghtening of the season to 46 weeks, the creation of a variety of new series, major expansion of the orchestra's outreach throughout the state, commercial recording and national touring. Earlier positions included Associate Principal Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony, Associate Conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony, Founder/Conductor of the Los Angeles Radio Orchestra and Conductor of the Debut Orchestra of the Young Musicians Foundation of Los Angeles. In addition, from 1997 to 2002 Polivnick was the Music Director of the Oberlin Conservatory Orchestras, and from 1988 to 1993 he was the Principal Conductor of Harmonia Classica of Vienna, a composer's society devoted to contemporary Austrian music. This post enabled him to conduct concerts and recordings in the principal halls of Vienna- the Musikverein and Konzerthaus. The tonal qualities of these great musical spaces have become an inseparable part of Maestro Polivnick's "sound."
Since debuting in 1976 as an opera conductor, Maestro Polivnick has led numerous
productions of the Mozart, Rossini, Verdi and Puccini operas, working with many top singers including Marilyn Horne and Kathleen Battle. He has also introduced several premieres, including Conrad Sousa's Transformations, and is the author of an original libretto titled 2001, A Space Opera, with music by the Viennese composer Alexander Blechinger. Polivnick’s discography includes over 20 commercial recordings for such labels as Naxos, Harmonia Mundi, Nonesuch, Albany, Harmonia Classica, Christal and Universal France. His most recent release is a first-ever recording on Naxos of the two symphonies by Stephen Albert performed by the Russian Philharmonic, which has received stellar praise from critics.
Maestro Polivnick began his musical studies at an early age with his father, Sidney Polivnick. He went on to attend the Juilliard School of Music, studying violin with Oscar Shumsky and conducting with Jean Morel. He spent his summers at the Tanglewood Music Festival working with Leonard Bernstein, the Aspen Music Festival with Walter Susskind, and the Academia Chigiana in Siena, Italy with Franco Ferrara.