William Henry Curry, conductor
The 1988 winner of the Leopold Stokowski Conducting Competition of the American Symphony Orchestra, William Henry Curry, was born in Pittsburgh in 1954 and started conducting at the age of 14.
From 1983 until 1985 Mr. Curry was resident conductor of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and held the post of resident conductor of the Baltimore Symphony from 1978 until 1983. He previously served as music director and conductor for the Peabody Conservatory, the Baltimore School for the Arts, and was assistant conductor of the Richmond Chamber Orchestra. The same day he was named assistant conductor (at age 21) of the Richmond Symphony, he was called upon to replace the conductor who had suddenly become ill, for the performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony that evening. His unexpected debut was hailed by critics and audience alike.
In 1983, Mr. Curry was appointed associate conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, a post he held until 1988. He served there as artistic director of a number of series, including the orchestra's acclaimed summer series with an annual attendance of some 30,000 concert goers.
Mr. Curry has appeared as guest conductor with orchestras such as the Baltimore, Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis, Detroit, Richmond, San Diego, Denver, Cleveland, New Orleans, Florida, New Mexico and Phoenix Symphonies, as well as the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Syracuse Symphony, the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. He was the featured conductor for the tour and recording of Anthony Davis's Grammy-nominated X, and for the contemporary music festival "Serious Fun at Lincoln Center."
Maestro Curry assumed the role of Resident Conductor with the New Orleans Symphony in the fall of 1990. During the 1990/1991 season Mr. Curry led three subscription concerts in addition to the Pops and Discovery Series of the Symphony. In October of 1991 Mr. Curry conducted the New York City Opera's U.S. premiere of The Mother of Three Sons by Leroy Jenkins; he went on to conduct five performances of the Jenkins opera with the Houston Opera in the spring.
In recent seasons, Mr. Curry has spent time with many orchestras, including the Houston, Altanta and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras, the Nassau Symphony Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony, the Sai Jai Thai Orchestra of Bangkok (Thailand), the National Symphony Orchestra of Taipei (Taiwan), and the Chautauqua Symphony.
Maestro Curry's recent visit to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra included not only four subscription concerts, but rehearsals with that orchestra's well-known Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra combined with the Atlanta Public Schools Orchestra. The subscription program featured a performance of John Taverner's The Protecting Veil with Steven Isserlis as solo cellist. Critic Derrick Henry, in reviewing Maestro Curry's work in Atlanta , wrote - "Curry...showed that he is a musician of imagination and individuality with a fresh, bold and excitingly fast-paced Mussorgsky-Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition, brilliantly executed by the ASO".
Curry made his debut as a conductor of ballet in December 2002 with the New York City Ballet in their famed production of Balanchine's The Nutcracker.
Eulogy for a Dream was performed in Durham and Albuquerque. Curry's composition is based on speeches and other writings of Martin Luther King, Jr.
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"...an engaging conductor, both verbally and musically"
"...he is a musician of imagination and individuality with a fresh, bold and excitingly fast-paced Mussorgsky-Ravel "Pictures at an Exhibition", brilliantly executed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra".
Atlanta Journal Constitution
"Curry made the composer's intentions perfectly clear, and then, with his absolute control and obvious connection to the music, made the best possible case for a complex but ultimately moving work." [Nielsen Symphony #5]
Raleigh News & Observer
"A refreshingly fine all-American program... a magnificent orchestral song cycle led by its composer, Resident Conductor William Henry Curry."
Classical Voice North Carolina