Harold Farberman

Biography

Born: November 2, 1929; New York, NY  
Despite extensive training as a composer, Harold Farberman found his burgeoning international career as a conductor overtaking his initial pursuit. His broad repertory has consistently featured American works; his persistence in bringing the music of Charles Ives before the public resulted in his being awarded the Ives Medal and a grant from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. His achievements include the founding of both the Conductors Read more Guild in 1975 and the Conductors Institute, the latter a training organization for young conductors. His The Art of Conducting Technique has become a widely used text. Born to a family of musicians (several of them percussionists), Farberman studied music first at home and later through a scholarship at the Juilliard School of Music. Upon graduating in 1951, he joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra as a percussionist, the orchestra's youngest musician at the time. During his dozen years with the B.S.O., Farberman pursued a master's degree in composition from the New England Conservatory of Music, devoting himself to the exploration of percussion in chamber and orchestral works. His first work, Evolution, attracted the attention of Aaron Copland and Leopold Stokowski; Copland invited Farberman to study with him at Tanglewood and Stokowski was one of four conductors to record Farberman's first piece. Farberman's quartet for winds and strings won the New England Composer's Competition in 1956 and seemed to signal a career devoted to composition. During his studies at Tanglewood, however, Farberman participated in the conducting class of Eleazar de Carvalho. By 1963, his new interest led him to resign from the B.S.O. to pursue conducting in America and abroad. Since that point, Farberman has been the music director of the Colorado Springs, Oakland, and Colorado symphonies and principal guest conductor of the Denver and Bournemouth symphonies. Among other orchestras he has conducted in live performance and on recording are the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Stockholm Philharmonic, and the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 1990, he was appointed professor of conducting studies at Hartt School of Music. Commissions for new compositions continued during his podium and teaching years. Among his recordings are the four Ives symphonies, Mahler symphonies, the symphonies of Michael Haydn, and works by American composer Irwin Bazelon. Read less

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