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2019 Competition Judges To Be Announced!

 2018 Competition Judges 

Gerard ScwarzGerard Schwarz, conductor

Born to Viennese parents, EMF music director Gerard Schwarz has served as the Seattle Symphony Orchestra’s music director since 1985 He is a recipient of the Ditson Conductor’s Award from Columbia University and was the first American to be named Conductor of the Year by Musical America. Recent highlights for Maestro Schwarz include two consecutive Emmy Awards in 2007 and 2008 for televised performances with Seattle Symphony; leading Seattle Symphony in its recent Southern California Tour; and conducting Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the 600-member community orchestra and chorus for His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his recent visit to Seattle. In 2009, Maestro Schwarz was honored with the First Citizen of Seattle Award and the key to the City of Greensboro. Maestro Schwarz has received 13 Grammy nominations, six ASCAP awards, and numerous Stereo Review and Ovation awards. In June, 2007, he received an Emmy for his performance with Seattle Symphony of Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony. Moreover, he won critical acclaim that season for his remarkable collaboration with Dale Chihuly to present Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle. His extensive discography of some 265 releases showcases his collaborations with some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras. In addition to his leadership at Eastern Music Festival, Maestro Schwarz has also served as music director of New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and New York Chamber Symphony, as well as artistic advisor to Tokyo Bunkamura’s Orchard Hall. Maestro Schwarz serves as artistic partner for An Appalachian Summer Festival, and has provided valuable assistance to the festival in developing the Rosen-Schaffel Young Artist Competition.

CWG Image Jacomo Bairos, conductor

After an extensive 2-year search beginning with over 200 applicants from 15 countries around the world, Jacomo Rafael Bairos becomes the 17th Music Director for the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra beginning in the Fall of 2013. Described as “expressive and passionate” [Malaysian Straits Times], and lauded by the Leipziger Volkszeitung as an “impressive conductor… who is elegantly demanding”, Mr. Bairos enjoys an emerging career as an imaginative and inclusive conductor, dedicated educator and ardent champion of new American music.    

During his tenure as Associate and Guest Conductor for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra from 2010-2013, Mr. Bairos reached tens of thousands of enthusiastic listeners through the broad spectrum of concerts he programed and conducted. His performances on the innovative Knight Sounds and heralded Pops series garnered consistent praise for not only his adventurous programing, but his collaborations with dancers and visual artists as well as his use of technology to enhance and bring more excitement to the concert experience. Mr. Bairos regularly performed and premiered new music by living composers on every series he conducted in Charlotte, including reinventing famous classics with modern twists on his Family, Education, Outreach and Parks concerts.

Guesting engagements with orchestras in the U.S. and abroad include the Symphony Orchestras of Atlanta, Iceland, Singapore, Leipzig (Germany), Jacksonville (FL), North Carolina, Charleston (SC), Greater Bridgeport, Tallahassee and Bangor (ME), as well as the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta National do Porto (ONP, Portugal), Lake Forest Symphony, and the Florida Orchestra.

Mr. Bairos has collaborated with an array of distinguished artists such as violinists Shlomo Mintz and Elena Urioste, Latin-Grammy winner, Nestor Torres, the eclectic and versatile cross-over group ProjectTrio, and 3-time Grammy Nominated Cuban Band, Tiempo Libre.

Awarded the prestigious 2012 Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholarship by Maestro Kurt Masur, he traveled to Leipzig Germany to share concerts with the Leipzig Symphony Orchestra, assist at the Gewandhaus Orchestra and further his studies and mentorship with Mo. Masur.

Mr. Bairos primary conducting mentors are Gustav Meier, Robert Spano and Kurt Masur.  He also has studied intensively with Jorma Punula, Marin Alsop, Edward Polochick, Hugh Wolff, and Larry Rachleff.

Roger Kalia, conductor

Winner of the 2013 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, Roger Kalia has been hailed as a conductor who conducts with “vigor” and “commitment” by the Charlotte Observer and for bringing a “fresh view to classical music” by The Republic.  Roger is the newly appointed Assistant Conductor of the Pacific Symphony and Music Director of the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra.  He recently completed a successful two-year tenure as Assistant Conductor of the Charlotte Symphony, and served for three years as Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra of Los Angeles.  During the summer, Roger serves as Music Director of the Lake George Music Festival in upstate New York.  In the summer of 2016, Roger will lead the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra on their first-ever tour of China. 

Roger has worked with orchestras across North America and Europe including the Pittsburgh Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Utah Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Memphis Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, and the Orquestra de Cadaques, among others.  During the 2014-2015 season, he guest conducted the Bakersfield Symphony, and served as a guest cover conductor with the St. Louis Symphony and Indianapolis Symphony.  That same season, he was invited as a finalist to the Assistant Conductor audition for the New York Philharmonic.

An advocate of new music and unique collaborations, Roger commissioned four works with the Debut Orchestra from 2012-2014.  Their performance of Paul Dooley’s Coast of Dreams was featured on American Public Media’s Performance Today with Fred Child this past season, and received funding from the National Endowment of the Arts.  Roger has collaborated and shared the stage with such artists as Jack Black in a performance of Stravinsky’s Histoire du Soldat at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Randy Newman for the Debut Orchestra’s 60th anniversary gala concert, violinist Glenn Dicterow at UCLA’s Royce Hall, and the Angel City Chorale in a performance of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare.  Always trying to introduce new audiences to classical music, Roger conducted the Debut Orchestra at the Ford Theater in a concert titled Gamers Jam, which featured music by leading video game composers from around the world.  

A passionate proponent of music education in the concert hall, Roger conducted for more than 12,000 students annually during his tenure with the Charlotte Symphony.  He expanded the On Campus and Education concert series’ to include collaborations with dancers, visual artists, and multimedia.  Roger shared the stage with Michael Boudewyns, Classical Kids Music Education, Grey Seal Puppets, Charlotte Ballet, Metropolitan Ballroom, and students from Northwest School of the Arts, Central Piedmont Community College and UNC Charlotte.  Roger regularly led pre-concert conversations for every Classics concert, and he was also featured on Charlotte’s WBTV.  He was also part of Creative Loafing’s “15 People to Watch in Charlotte” during 2015.

Robert Moody, conductor

Robert Moody has been Music Director of the Winston-Salem Symphony (North Carolina) since 2005, Artistic Director of Arizona Musicfest since 2007, and Music Director of the Portland Symphony Orchestra (Maine) since 2008.

Mr. Moody’s 2014-15 season includes engagements with the Toronto, Memphis and Spokane Symphonies. Hist most recent guest conducting appearances include the Chicago Symphony at Ravinia, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, in addition to the symphonies of Houston, Indianapolis, Detroit, Seattle, Pacific, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Buffalo, Louisville, and, in Europe, the Slovenian Philharmonic. Summer festival appearances include Santa Fe Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, Brevard Music Center, Eastern Music Festival, PortOpera, and the Oregon Bach Festival.

Equally at home in the opera pit, Moody began his career as apprentice conductor for the Landestheater Opera in Linz, Austria. He has gone on to conduct at the opera companies of Santa Fe, Rochester, Hilton Head, and the Brevard Music Center. He also assisted on a production of Verdi’s Otelloat the Metropolitan Opera, conducted by Valery Gergiev. He debuted with the Washington National Opera and North Carolina Opera in 2014.

Moody served as Associate, then Resident Conductor, of The Phoenix Symphony (AZ) from 1998 through 2006. There he conducted a wide variety of concerts, including Classics, Chamber, Pops, Family, Handel’s Messiah, and the New Year’s Eve gala. His ability to speak with ease from the podium helped new converts to classical music and enthusiasts alike to gain a greater appreciation for orchestral music. Audiences at his concerts grew considerably during his time in Phoenix. Moody also founded The Phoenix Symphony Chorus, and for seven years was Music Director of the Phoenix Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Prior to Phoenix, Maestro Moody served as Associate Conductor for the Evansville (IN) Philharmonic Orchestra, and Music Director (and founder) of the Evansville Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Moody conducted the first professional performance of a work by the brilliant young composer Mason Bates, now Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and was instrumental in the commissioning and premiere performances of several of his important new works for orchestra.

Maestro Moody has accompanied many of the world’s greatest performing artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Renée Fleming, Denyce Graves, Andre Watts, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Midori, Time for Three and Chris Thile.

His work can be heard on several commercially released compact disc recordings. He collaborated with the Canadian Brass for their “Bach” and “Legends” CDs; he is also the conductor for the CD “4th World,” highlighting the music of Native American recording artist R. Carlos Nakai (available on the Canyon Record label); and in 2010, the Winston-Salem Symphony released their performance (live from 2009) of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. A DVD of Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with Arizona Musicfest was released in 2012.

Robert Moody is a member of the Winston-Salem Rotary Club and has served on the boards of the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina and AIDs Care Services. He enjoys snow-skiing, hiking, running, and other outdoor activities. He was a founding member of The Phoenix Symphony Running Club, completed his first marathon in 2004, and competes in various runs each year, including the “Mistletoe Half Marathon” in Winston-Salem, and the “Beach to Beacon 10K” in Portland.