Wesley Schulz - Music Director

Wesley Schulz - Music Director

Conductor Wesley Schulz is garnering attention for his fresh programming and imaginative performances as well as building orchestras and growing audiences. In constant demand, Schulz is Music Director of the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Festival Orchestra and serves as Director of Orchestras at University of Puget Sound. In 2014-2015 Schulz was the Conducting Fellow at the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. He has been lauded by musicians for his “intensity and emotion” in performances and for his “approachable and inspiring” leadership. Upcoming and recent conducting engagements include the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Port Angeles Symphony, Auburn Symphony, Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra, and the Juneau Symphony.

Schulz made his Seattle Symphony Orchestra debut in a sold-out performance with singer/songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov. In addition to serving as cover conductor for Maestro Ludovic Morlot and guest conductors, Schulz led seven world premieres at the Merriman Family Young Composers Workshop and assisted with recordings for the symphony’s Grammy-winning label, Seattle Symphony Media. A leader of educational and family concerts, Schulz makes frequent appearances with the Austin Symphony Orchestra conducting their Halloween Spooktacular concert as well as their Young Peoples Concerts, the latter reaching over 30,000 Texas students.

Since the beginning of his tenure in 2011, Schulz has revitalized the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra with impressive artistic success. Smashing box office records and increasing fundraising support for the orchestra’s mission, Schulz and the orchestra have broken new ground by every possible measure. Together they have commissioned new music, including a work by Christopher Theofanidis, performed with outstanding soloists such as Christopher Guzman, Rachel DeShon and Emma McGrath, sold out numerous performances, and engaged in unique collaborations ranging from an improv troupe to youth orchestras to chorale groups.

From 2009 to 2013 Schulz was the assistant conductor of the Britt Festival Orchestra, a professional summer orchestra in Jacksonville, Oregon. In addition to serving as cover conductor Schulz was responsible for programming and conducting the annual Symphony Pops concert. In these performances Schulz collaborated with world-class musicians such as Project Trio, Christopher O’Riley and Platypus Theater. Most significantly, through creative programming and energetic performances, Schulz and the orchestra transformed the Pops concert into the most highly-attended program at the Britt Classical Festival – growing the number of attendees from 400 to over 2,000.

A passionate teacher as well as conductor, Schulz is deeply committed to working with young musicians. In addition to teaching tomorrow’s musicians at the University of Puget Sound he teaches conducting and score study at the Seattle Conservatory of Music: a pre-college program for incredibly gifted musicians. Further, Schulz has served as Music Director for both the Everett Youth Symphony Orchestras and Bainbridge Island Youth Orchestras and is a frequent clinician and adjudicator all across the Pacific Northwest. A believer in quality music for young musicians, Schulz led the commissioning of two works for string orchestra by nationally-recognized composer Alan Lee Silva. “Adventure on Bainbridge Island” and “Pictures of Puget Sound” have received rave reviews by performers and conductors alike.

From 2007-2011 Schulz directed the Texas Chamber Group, a group he founded in Austin, Texas dedicated to performing chamber orchestra works in creatively-designed performance contexts. A special performance, the Rite of Spring Project, drew a standing-room-only crowd in witness of a discussion panel, dancers, and pianists as well as a full orchestra performance of the ballet score. This performance of Rite of Spring earned Schulz and the Texas Chamber Group the 2010 American Prize in Orchestral Performance. One judge commented “astonishingly good and…extremely impressive in almost every detail.”

Schulz has appeared as guest conductor with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Northwest Mahler Festival, Juneau Symphony, Port Angeles Symphony, Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, Oregon East Symphony, Powder River Symphony, Rainier Symphony, the San-Francisco All-City Honors String Orchestra, Austin Chamber Music Center, and he was chosen to lead the International Clarinet Associations’ Showcase Concert at ClarinetFest 2010. Schulz has participated in a variety of masterclasses and conductor training programs including the Pierre Monteux School, the Eastman Summer Conducting Institute, and workshops sponsored by the Conductor’s Guild and International Conducting Workshops and Festivals. He has worked with Larry Rachleff, Donald Schleicher, Gustav Meier, Neil Varon, Thomas Wilkins, Mark Gibson, Michael Jinbo, Kirk Trevor, and Bridget-Michaele Reischl, among others. His primary mentors include Gerhardt Zimmermann and Peter Bay.

Schulz graduated magna cum laude with Bachelor degrees in Percussion Performance and Music Education from Ball State University and Doctorate and Master’s degrees in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Texas at Austin. When not on the podium, Schulz can be seen hitting the pavement in preparation for his next marathon.

Contact Wesley Schulz.

Photo: Ben Aqua