Leon Botstein,
Music Director

Leon Botstein by Ric Kallaher
Photo by Ric Kallaher

Leon Botstein has been Music Director and Principal Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992. He is also Music Director of The Orchestra Now, an innovative training orchestra composed of top musicians from around the world. He is Artistic Director of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival, which take place at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, where he has been President since 1975. He is also Conductor Laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, where he served as Music Director from 2003–2011. In 2018 he will assume artistic directorship of Grafenegg in Austria.

Mr. Botstein’s recent engagements include the Royal Philharmonic, Wiesbaden, UNAM Mexico, and the Aspen Festival. He has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Russian National Orchestra, NDR-Hamburg, BBC Symphony, and was the first non-Venezuelan conductor invited to conduct an El Sistema orchestra on an international tour. Upcoming engagements include the Magna Grecia Festival in Italy and the Mariinsky Opera in St. Petersburg. Mr. Botstein can be heard on numerous recordings with the London Symphony (including a Grammy-nominated recording of Popov’s First Symphony), the London Philharmonic, NDR-Hamburg, and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Many of his live performances with the American Symphony Orchestra are available online. His recording with the ASO of Paul Hindemith’s The Long Christmas Dinner was named one of the top recordings of 2015 by numerous trade publications, and his recent recording of Gershwin piano music was hailed by The Guardian and called “something special . . . in a crowded field” by Musicweb International.

Mr. Botstein’s most recent book is Von Beethoven zu Berg: Das Gedächtnis der Moderne (2013). He is the editor of The Musical Quarterly and the author of numerous articles and books. He is currently working on a sequel to Jefferson’s Children, about the American education system. Collections of his writings and other resources may be found online at LeonBotsteinMusicRoom.com. For his contributions to music he has received the award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Harvard University’s prestigious Centennial Award, as well as the Cross of Honor, First Class from the government of Austria. Other recent awards include the Caroline P. and Charles W. Ireland Prize, the highest award given by the University of Alabama; the Bruckner Society’s Julio Kilenyi Medal of Honor for his interpretations of that composer’s music; the Leonard Bernstein Award for the Elevation of Music in Society; and Carnegie Foundation’s Academic Leadership Award. In 2011 he was inducted into the American Philosophical Society.