Eckart Preu, Music Director of the Spokane Symphony since the 2004-2005 Season, is celebrating his 14th highly acclaimed season with the Spokane Symphony. A beloved member of the Spokane community, he has received rave reviews from critics, audience members and musicians alike and was featured in the Spokesman Review's leadership series.
The 2017-18 season marks the beginning of his tenure as Music Director position with the Long Beach (CA) Symphony Orchestra. This summer he also started his position as Music Director of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.
Previously, he held the positions of Music Director of the Stamford Symphony (CT), Associate Conductor of the Richmond Symphony, and Resident Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. Other former posts include Resident Conductor of the American Russian Young Artists Orchestra, Music Director of the Norwalk (CT) Youth Symphony and Principal Conductor of the New Amsterdam Symphony (NY). In Europe, he served as Music
Director of the Orchestre International de Paris (1993-1995).
Recent and upcoming guest conducting engagements include concerts with the Orquesta Filarmonica de Jalisco (Mexico), the Jerusalem Symphony, the Auckland Philharmonia (New Zealand), the Christchurch Symphony (New Zealand), the Symphony Orchestra of Tenerife (Spain), the Philharmonie Baden-Baden, and the Orchestra of the State Theater Cottbus (Germany).
Career highlights include performances at Carnegie Hall, the Sorbonne in Paris, a live broadcast with the Jerusalem Symphony, and his first commercial recording of the world premiere of “Letters from Lincoln,” a work commissioned by the Spokane Symphony from Michael Daugherty featuring baritone soloist Thomas Hampson.
A passionate performer of the core repertoire, Mr. Preu believes in presenting neglected works. Past seasons featured compositions by Bloch, Berio, Markevich and Schreker. Promoting and furthering the performance of American music, Mr. Preu conducted the world premieres of Clarinet Concerto No. 4 by William Thomas McKinley with soloist Richard Stoltzman, and “Prayer for Peace” by Roger Davidson. A supporter of contemporary music, he presented no less than 14 works by living composers in the 2016-2017 season. Preu and the Spokane Symphony took home a national First Place award in June 2014 for efforts to expand the symphonic repertoire through adventurous programming. This effort has further developed and educated Spokane Symphony audiences.
A native of Germany, Eckart 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 master’s 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. His education was made possible by scholarships from the Herbert von Karajan Foundation, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the French Ministry of Culture.
Eckart Preu’s early musical training was in piano and voice. 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 studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Weimar, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris in France, and the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut. 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.
He and his wife, Neeley, are the parents of two daughters, Sophia and Victoria.