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Steichen Praised for 'Stellar' Season at Ridgefield Symphony
Alumnus Gerald Steichen closed his first season as music director of New Jersey’s Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra with rave reviews. “It's been a stellar start for Steichen,” wrote arts critic Jan Stribula of the Ridgefield News-Times on his leadership during the 2008-09 season. “We've seen him polish some musical gems, adding dancers, soloists, taking full advantage of some of the talent available on this planet.” In addition to his post at the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, Steichen is associate conductor of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, conducting classics concerts, the Pops series, Young People's Concerts, and the summer parks concert series. With a career that ranges from symphony to opera, Broadway to chamber music, Steichen also has conducted the Boston Pops, the Utah Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, New York City Opera Orchestra, New York Pops, Hartford Symphony, Wheeling Symphony and the Eastern Connecticut Symphony. His international credits include the NDR Orchestra - Hanover (Germany), the NRK Orchestra (Oslo, Norway), and the Tokyo City Symphony. Steichen’s passion for arts education has led to guest appearances with student orchestras and choruses throughout the United States; at New York's Lincoln Center, he has spent 18 years with the "Meet the Artist" series as conductor, clinician, and pianist. With a strong commitment to new music and emerging composers, Steichen conducts readings of new American operas as part of City Opera's VOX American Composer's Showcase, and serves as conductor for the New York-based Azure Chamber Ensemble.? At City Opera, Steichen recently conducted Jonathan Miller's production of “The Elixir of Love” and a new production of “The Pirates of Penzance.” Also for NYCO, he conducted Jake Heggie's “Dead Man Walking,” two different productions of “The Mikado,” Rodgers & Hammerstein's “Cinderella” and Rachel Portman's “The Little Prince.” Steichen served as an on-stage pianist for NYCO's acclaimed productions of “Porgy and Bess” and “Carmina Burana,” and at the harpsichord for Platee and Stephen Wadsworth's production of Handel's "Xerxes." He has conducted the Memphis Symphony, the Columbus (Ohio) Symphony and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic.? ?Steichen made his Lincoln Center debut at the State Theatre conducting performances of “La Bohème” for New York City Opera. He has appeared with the Utah Opera (A Little Night Music, HMS Pinafore, The Gondoliers, The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance, and this season's La cenerentola); Glimmerglass Opera (Bluebeard); Anchorage Opera as principal guest conductor (Il barbiere di Siviglia, Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni; Il trovatore); New Jersey Opera Theatre (Falstaff); Opera East Texas as artistic advisor (Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Carmen); and Utah Festival Opera (Les contes d'Hoffmann, The Magic Flute, Il barbiere di Siviglia, La cenerentola and Handel's Giulio Cesare) and Yale Opera (Gianni Schicchi and Orphee aux Enfers).? ?Steichen played the role of Manny the Accompanist in Terrence McNally's Tony Award-winning Broadway production of “Master Class, “starring Dixie Carter as Maria Callas. As associate conductor, he toured nationally with “The Phantom of the Opera,” Lucy Simon's “The Secret Garden,” and with Cathy Rigby in “Peter Pan.” He conducted “Barnum” for Music Theatre of Wichita, Kansas, led the world premiere of “Tom Sawyer” for Music Theatre Works in New York City, and spent two years conducting the Broadway production of “CATS,” leading the show’s Broadway finale.