Benjamin Shwartz was a sensation… With his clear insight and perfection of technique, together with the highly motivated orchestra, he produced an air of excitement and cultivated sound.
Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung
Critics have hailed Benjamin Shwartz for the intensity of his music making and the clear vision of his interpretations. These qualities, applied to a strikingly broad repertoire, flow naturally from the conductor’s profound musicianship and insatiable curiosity.
Shwartz is Chief Conductor of the Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie. From 2013 to 2016 he served as Music Director of the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic, where he oversaw the acclaimed Polish institution’s move to the National Forum of Music and was closely involved with its work during Wrocław’s turn as 2016 European Capital of Culture. Other former positions include Principal Guest Conductor of the Duisburg Philharmonic (2019-20 season), Resident Conductor at the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the San Francisco Youth Orchestra.
Shwartz’s repertoire choices reflect his anti-dogmatic, open-minded approach to programming, embracing everything from Adams’ Chamber Symphony to Mahler’s Symphony No.4, Brahms’ Symphony No.2 to Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle. He toured Age of Anxiety, a project developed in collaboration with the sculptor, painter and stage designer Alexander Polzin. The production, based on the poetry of W.H. Auden, employed music and paintings to show the tumultuous events of early 20th century.
As a guest conductor Shwartz has featured with, among others, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra Gulbenkian, St Paul Chamber Orchestra, Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Orchestre National de Lille.
Opera has been a mainstay in recent seasons with Bernstein’s Candide at Oper Köln, Die Fledermaus and La bohème at the Royal Swedish Opera and Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict at the Deutsches Nationaltheater und Staatskapelle Weimar. As part of a developing collaboration with the ballet company of Opéra National de Paris, Shwartz has conducted, amongst others, Pina Bausch’s choreography of The Rite of Spring, Balanchine’s Jewels, Preljocaj’s Le Parc, and performances of Giselle at Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan and Palais Garnier.
Shwartz’s discography include works by Albert Schnelzer with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for BIS, pieces by Poul Ruders with the Odense Symphony Orchestra and music by Vasco Mendonça with the Gulbenkian Orchestra. He has released a series of recordings of works by Paweł Mykietyn on the NFM’s own label, with the latest being released in January 2022.
Photo credit: Nurit Mozes