Leon Botstein


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 co-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. He has been president of Bard College since 1975. He is also conductor laureate and principal guest conductor of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, where he served as music director from 2003–11. In 2018 he assumed artistic directorship of Campus Grafenegg and Grafenegg Academy in Austria.

Mr. Botstein is also active as a guest conductor whose recent appearances include the Mariinsky Orchestra in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has made 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 several publications, and his recent recording of Gershwin piano music with the Royal Philharmonic was hailed by The Guardian and called “something special . . . in a crowded field” by Musicweb International. Forthcoming from Hyperion in fall of 2018 is a CD of music by Ferdinand Ries with The Orchestra Now.

Mr. Botstein is the author of numerous articles and books, including The Compleat Brahms (Norton), Jefferson’s Children (Doubleday), Judentum und Modernität (Bölau), and Von Beethoven zu Berg (Zsolnay). He is also the editor of The Musical Quarterly. 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 Bruckner Society’s Julio Kilenyi Medal of Honor for his interpretations of that composer’s music, and the Leonard Bernstein Award for the Elevation of Music in Society. In 2011 he was inducted into the American Philosophical Society.