Conductor of the University Orchestra
A native of Rochester, New York, Ward Stare is one of the most dynamic and engaging conductors of his generation. Described as "a compelling figure on the podium" and "one of the hottest young conductors in America" by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mr. Stare recently completed his tenure as Resident Conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. In April 2009, he made his highly successful Carnegie Hall Debut with the orchestra - stepping in at the last minute to conduct while Music Director David Robertson filled the role of chansonnier in H. K. Gruber's Frankenstein!!.
In August 2007, Mr. Stare made his critically acclaimed debut with the Cleveland Orchestra at the famed Blossom Music Center - The Plain Dealer noting that his performance was "clear and vibrant, with a keen ear for phrasing, balance and pacing". In recent seasons, Stare has appeared as guest conductor with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Bangkok Symphony, Colorado Music Festival, DITTO Festival (South Korea) as well as multiple engagements with both the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.
The 2010-11 season included Mr. Stare's debut with the Norwegian National Opera in a new production of Britten's The Rape of Lucretia. Critics had high praise for Stare, the cast and orchestra noting that the production was "finely tuned", "magical" and "radiated musical quality". Future opera engagements include appearances at Opera Theater of St. Louis as well as Stare's debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel followed by a return engagement in Chicago the following season.
Ward Stare was named 'Musician of the Month' by Musical America in November of 2011. Other highlights of the 11/12 season included Mr. Stare's invitation to the prestigious Allianz Cultural Foundation's 2012 International Conductors' Academy. Over the course of four months, Mr. Stare worked intensively with both the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonia culminating in Stare's debut with the LPO in Royal Festival Hall in April of 2012.
Recent and upcoming engagements include appearances with the Atlanta Symphony, Houston Symphony, Québec Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Mr. Stare's continuing relationship with the Saint Louis Symphony as a regular guest conductor on the orchestra's Family, Special Event and Subscription Series.
Stare was the recipient of both the Robert J. Harth Conductor Prize (2006) and the Aspen Conducting Prize (2007) at the Aspen Music Festival before spending the 2007-08 season as a League of American Orchestras Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Stare has studied conducting with David Zinman, János Fürst and Jorma Panula as well as working with Michel Merlet in composition and musical analysis.
Following in the path of many great orchestral conductors whose careers began as instrumentalists, Stare was trained as a trombonist at the Juilliard School in Manhattan. At the age of 18, he was appointed principal trombonist of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and has performed as an orchestral musician with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, among others. As a soloist, he has concertized in both the U.S. and Europe.