Gisèle Ben-Dor

Biography

Born: Uruguay  
Gisèle Ben-Dor made a spectacular debut as a guest conductor of world-class orchestras, followed up by solid accomplishments in American regional orchestras.

She was born in Uruguay of Polish immigrant parents. After her musical talents became evident, she went to Tel Aviv, Israel, to study at the Rubin Academy of Music on an America-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarship. After completing her studies there, she continued at the Yale
Read more School of Music in New Haven, Connecticut.

She won conducting fellowships at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute and the Israel Philharmonic. At Tanglewood, Leonard Bernstein took an interest in her career and coached her.

Her American conducting debut was at the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra in a 1986 Summerfest concert. In the same year, she was the winner of the Bartók Prize of the Hungarian Television International Competition, resulting in her being awarded an Eastern European tour.

Like her mentor Leonard Bernstein, she was asked at the last minute to replace the scheduled conductor of the New York Philharmonic, in her case Kurt Masur. Performing without a rehearsal and from memory, she won unanimous acclaim and was immediately invited back for further performances. One of them was at Central Park before an audience estimated at 100,000. Bernstein invited her to conduct the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra at the first Schleswig-Holstein Festival. When she made her debut with the Israel Symphony Orchestra, conducting Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, the event was televised by the BBC and broadcast live throughout Europe.

She was appointed Resident Conductor of the Houston Symphony, serving as such in 1988-1991. In that capacity she conducted the orchestra at the 1989 Inauguration of President George H. W. Bush.

She has been named a Musical America "Young Artist of the Year," was invited to debut in Carnegie Hall during the historic concert venue's 100th Anniversary Celebration, and has guest conducted many important orchestras and chamber orchestras in four continents.

Ben-Dor became the Music Director of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. (Annapolis is a small city near Washington, D.C. that is the capital of the State of Maryland and home of the U.S. Naval Academy.) Her next appointment was as Music Director of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra in Boston, followed by her 1994 engagement as Music Director of the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra. These appointments overlapped. She gave up the Annapolis position after six years, and stepped down from Boston after seven. He contract with the Santa Barbara Symphony extended through 2002.

Santa Barbara is a city of substantial size located several miles up the Pacific Coast from Los Angeles, far enough from that city to want to develop its own cultural life, and its orchestra is one of the best of its class in the United States. It is also close enough to L.A. that Los Angeles critics often report on its events. Mark Swed of the Los Angeles times called Ben-Dor "a star on the rise" and concluded that there was "surely no holding back a conductor with so ferocious a talent."

She has been a champion of music of her native Latin American culture. She has recorded for CRI, Centaur, and Koch Classics. Her debut recording on Koch, in music of Ginastera, was widely acclaimed. Her first recording with the Santa Barbara Symphony in two orchestral works by Revueltas and the English Chamber Orchestra in another Revueltas work for smaller ensemble won raves. In 2000, she released Villa-Lobos' sprawling Symphony No. 10 with the Santa Barbara Orchestra for Koch.

Gisèle Ben-Dor is married to engineer Eli Ben-Dor and is a permanent resident of the United States. They have two sons and live near the U.S. east coast. Read less
Bartók: For Children, Divertimento, Etc / Gisèle Ben-dor
Release Date: 05/23/1995   Label: Centaur Records  
Catalog: 2239   Number of Discs: 1
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Ginastera: Panambi, Estancia / Ben-Dor, London Symphony
Release Date: 11/21/2006   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8557582   Number of Discs: 1
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Ginastera: Glosses Sobre Temes De Pau Casals / Gisele Ben-Dor
Release Date: 01/26/2010   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8572249   Number of Discs: 1
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Revueltas: La Coronela, Itinerarios, Colorines / Gisele Ben-Dor
Release Date: 04/27/2010   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8572250   Number of Discs: 1
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Ginastera: Popol Vuh, Ollantay, Estancia, Panambi / Ben-Dor
Release Date: 06/29/2010   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570999   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-8 of 8 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Ginastera: The Vocal Album / Domingo, Martinez, Tola
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 554596 Release Date: 04/08/2016  
    Composer:  Alberto Ginastera
    Performer:  Ana Maria Martinez,  Virginia Tola,  Placido Domingo,  Rafael Sardina
    Conductor:  Gisèle Ben-Dor
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Barbara Symphony
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  • 2.
    Ezra Sims: Night Piece, Flight, Concert Piece, Solo, Quintet
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 643 Release Date: 11/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ezra Sims
    Performer:  Ian Greitzer,  Cynthia Cummings,  Sandra Lechner Kott,  Anne Black  ... 
    Conductor:  Cynthia Cummings,  Gisèle Ben-Dor
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble,  Boston Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Ginastera: Popol Vuh, Ollantay, Estancia, Panambi / Ben-Dor
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8570999 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alberto Ginastera
    Conductor:  Gisèle Ben-Dor
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Revueltas: La Coronela, Itinerarios, Colorines / Gisele Ben-Dor
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572250 Release Date: 04/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Silvestre Revueltas
    Conductor:  Gisèle Ben-Dor
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Santa Barbara Symphony
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  • 5.
    Ginastera: Glosses Sobre Temes De Pau Casals / Gisele Ben-Dor
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572249 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alberto Ginastera
    Conductor:  Gisèle Ben-Dor
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Israel Chamber Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Ginastera: Panambi, Estancia / Ben-Dor, London Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557582 Release Date: 11/21/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alberto Ginastera
    Performer:  Luis Gaeta
    Conductor:  Gisèle Ben-Dor
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 7.
    The Soul Of Tango - Bakalov, Piazzolla / Ben-dor, Et Al
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3345 Release Date: 04/05/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luis Enriquez Bacalov,  Astor Piazzolla
    Performer:  Juan Jose Mosalini,  Virginia Tola,  Luis Enriquez Bacalov
    Conductor:  Gisèle Ben-Dor
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Barbara Symphony
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  • 8.
    Bartók: For Children, Divertimento, Etc / Gisèle Ben-dor
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 2239 Release Date: 05/23/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Conductor:  Gisèle Ben-Dor
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sofia Soloists Chamber Orchestra
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