J O S E P H   S W E N S E N                                               

Conductor / Violinist

Joseph Swensen is Conductor Emeritus of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada and Artistic Partner of the Northwest Sinfonietta (USA). Sharing his time between conducting and violin playing, Swensen is also Professor of Music (violin) at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and has been appointed Visiting Professor (violin) at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He has previously served as Principal Guest Conductor & Artistic Adviser of the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris (2009-2012), Principal Conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (1996-2005) and Principal Conductor of the Malmö Opera (2005-2011). He enjoys long-established relationships with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre National de Bordeaux, London Mozart Players, and Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música. He has appeared at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York, Tanglewood and Ravinia Festivals, the BBC Proms, the Barbican (London) and the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam). 

Recognized for forging solid bonds with orchestras, this season will see Joseph Swensen appearing with his closest partners, the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse with which he will continue his exploration of Bruckner, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música and Northwest Sinfonietta. New collaborations will include the Estonian Symphony Orchestra and the Wroclaw Chamber Orchestra.

Joseph Swensen has also recently returned to the concert platform as a violin soloist and appearances have included the Colorado Symphony and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, while in the 2016/17 season he will appear with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Oregon symphony. The violinist and conductor naturally meet in the art of play-direct. With a special interest in exploring and developing this art, Swensen has extended the repertoire far beyond the classical period, directing from the violin concertos by composers such as Brahms, Barber and Prokofiev. His series of recordings for Linn Records featuring Brahms, Mendelssohn and Prokofiev’s second concerto, with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra were internationally acclaimed. With the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, Swensen created the first ‘Paris Play-Direct Academy’ in May 2011.

An active chamber musician, Swensen regularly performs with the American pianist and conductor Jeffrey Kahane, and the piano trio KahaneSwensenBrey together with cellist Carter Brey. 

A multifaceted musician, as a composer Swensen's works include Mantram (1998) for string orchestra, Latif (1999) for solo cello with chamber ensemble, Shizue (2001) for solo shakuhachi and orchestra, and the Sinfonia-Concertante for Horn and Orchestra (The Fire and the Rose) (2008).  Swensen's Sinfonia in B (2007), an orchestration of the rarely performed 1854 version of Brahms' Trio Op. 8, has been recorded for Signum Records.

Joseph Swensen plays on a 1715 Antonio Stradivarius and a 2012 Mario Miralles. Joseph and Victoria Swensen present year-round workshops and offer residencies for chamber-music, conducting and instrumental study at their 250 year old, 15 room farm house in Vermont. (SwensenMusicHouse.com)

An American of Norwegian and Japanese descent, Joseph Swensen was born in Hoboken, New Jersey and grew up in Harlem, New York City.

 

V I C T O R I A   S W E N S E N     

Victoria Swensen has an extensive career as a hornist. She has held long-term principal french horn positions with the Stamford Symphony (1984-1996), the Chamber Orchestra of New York (1985-1992) and Solisti New York (1982-1990). She has also made frequent appearances with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra (at Carnegie Hall, on tour, and on recordings for Deutsche Grammophon Records), the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the New York City Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, and in numerous Broadway musical productions.

In the fall of 2012, Ms. Swensen appeared as soloist with the Windham Symphony Orchestra, performing Benjamin Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and String Orchestra. She has participated in the summer festivals of Marlboro, Aspen and Norfolk and in addition to her recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, she has also recorded for Sony Classical and the Marlboro Recording Society.

She is the Founder and Executive Director of Habitat4Music. Habitat4Music is a non-profit organization committed to providing subsidized, participatory music education to under served children taught by graduate students of major universities and music conservatories.

She received her Masters degree from The Juilliard School and her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Purchase College Conservatory of Music.

Victoria Swensen was born on December 21, 1959. She grew up in New York City and is the proud mother of three children.