THEODORE KUCHAR (USA)
Theodore Kuchar, one of the most prolifically recorded conductors of the past decade, has recorded over 90 compact discs for the Naxos, Brilliant Classics, Ondine and Marco Polo labels. For the past years, he has served as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of two of Europe’s premiere orchestras, the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra (formerly the Czech Radio Orchestra) and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. Since 1991, he has served as Artistic Director of The Australian Festival of Chamber Music, an annual event regarded as the preeminent chamber music festival of the Southern Hemisphere. He presently also serves as Music Director and Conductor of the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra and the Reno Chamber Orchestra in the United States. During the past several seasons, guest conducting engagements have taken him to major musical centers including Amsterdam, Berlin, Chicago, Helsinki, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Prague, Seoul and Sydney.
With the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra, he has conducted tours of Australia, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Switzerland during the 2006–07 season. In January–February 2009, they undertook a four-week tour of the USA. With the NSO of Ukraine, 11 international tours included Asia, Australia, Central Europe and the United Kingdom. During the 2003–04 season he conducted the opening subscription weeks and a three-week European Tour with the Berliner Symphoniker (Berlin Symphony); during the past two seasons, he will have conducted nearly 40 concerts with this distinguished orchestra. In February 2005, he conducted a three-week United States Tour with the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie. Additional engagements include collaborations in Amsterdam (Concertgebouw), Berlin, Bucharest, Cape Town, Kiev, Milan, Palermo, Prague, Rome and Rotterdam. With the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra and Kuchar have recorded 10 compact discs, devoted to the complete symphonies of Carl Nielsen, the complete overtures and tone poems of Dvorak and the complete orchestral works of Bedrich Smetana.
Under Mr Kuchar’s direction, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine has today become the most frequently recorded orchestra of the former Soviet Union. During the period 1994–2004, the orchestra recorded over 70 compact discs for the Naxos and Marco Polo labels, including the complete symphonies of Kalinnikov, Lyatoshynsky, Martinu and Prokofiev, as well as major works of Dvorak, Glazunov, Mozart, Shchedrin, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky and the symphonies and orchestral works of Ukraine’s leading contemporary symphonist, Yevhen Stankovych. The first of these recordings, devoted to Lyatoshynsky’s Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3, was awarded the ABC’s “Best International Recording of the Year” in 1994. Their recording of the complete works for violin and orchestra by Walter Piston for the Naxos label was hailed by Gramophone (January 2000) as a “Record of the Year” for 1999. The complete symphonies of Prokofiev are regarded by many critics as the most accomplished cycle available on record. As a violist, his recording of works by Walter Piston was awarded the Chamber Music America/WQXR “Record of the Year” for 2001. The releases of the NSOU, in 2003, include recordings, on the Naxos label, of Mussorgsky (Pictures at an Exhibition and Night on Bald Mountain in the familiar Rimsky-Korsakov version and rarely heard original version), Tchaikovsky (Romeo and Juliet, 1812 Overture, Capriccio Italien and Marche Slav) and Roy Harris (Symphonies Nos. 7 and 9). Critical acclaim has included the following:
“Theodore Kuchar, as anyone will know from his Naxos recordings, is an extremely exciting and talented conductor, and his take-no-prisoners approach works very well in this colorful music. He blasts through the Carnival and Hussite Overtures with uninhibited abandon. His performance of the Symphonic Variations is thrilling, as cogently flowing as any, and it concludes with the best, most powerfully roof-raising final fugue that I ever hope to hear.”
Theodore Kuchar continues to devote several periods annually to one of his most serious passions, the performance of chamber music. His colleagues have included James Buswell, Martin Chalifour, Sarah Chang, Lamar Crowson, Leila Josefowicz, Oleg Kagan, Dong-Suk Kang, Isabelle van Keulen, Oleh Krysa, Mark Lubotsky, Truls Mork, Paul Neubauer, Irina Schnittke, Torleif Thedeen and Thomas Zehetmair. In 1994, he participated with colleagues Oleh Krysa and Alexander Ivashkin in the world premiere of Penderecki’s String Trio in New York City. In July of 1999, he appeared as violist in two recordings for the Naxos label, in works by Alfred Schnittke (with Irina Schnittke and Mark Lubotsky) and Walter Piston.