Conductor Steven Lipsitt is widely recognized for his ability to combine precision and passion, intelligence and invigoration. His February 2011 debut with Boston Lyric Opera was hailed by Opera News as “a major triumph…a fiercely intelligent, entertaining production…The orchestra performed beautifully under the guidance of conductor Steven Lipsitt, who had a firm grasp of Ullmann’s exceptional and wide-ranging score”; called “an incisive performance” by The Wall Street Journal; and noticed with rare unanimity by The New York Times (“Steven Lipsitt led a vital, perfectly paced reading”), The Boston Globe (“Conductor Steven Lipsitt led an eloquent account of this remarkable score”), The Boston Herald (“Steven Lipsitt conducted with intelligence and energy”), The Boston Phoenix (“…a memorable production…Lipsitt and his players brought it all to vibrant life”), The Boston Musical Intelligencer (“Lipsitt’s rendering carried the pace and warmth of someone with an intimate knowledge of the score, from both a musical and dramatic standpoint”), and The Berkshire News (“Steven Lipsitt conducted the orchestra as if the music were in his blood”).
First Prize Laureate of the inaugural “Dimitris Mitropoulos” International Conducting Competition in November 1996 (where the field included prizewinners from all the major European and Asian competitions), Steven Lipsitt made his Russian debut with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic in 1997, and has been guest conductor of orchestras in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Foreign critics have hailed his “exalted and well-structured interpretations” (Le Monde de la Musique, Paris) and “soaring conductor-debut” (Musik & Theater, Zurich) and praised his “technically and expressively balanced interpretations” (Adesmeftos Typos, Athens), observing that “[his] technical precision makes possible the realization of his expressive framework” (Estia, Athens) and “the drama and the familiar playful Mozartean mood were combined in ideal proportions” (Aygi, Athens).
Music director of the Boston Classical Orchestra for 17 seasons (1999 – 2016), Steven Lipsitt brought that professional chamber orchestra to the front ranks of Boston’s musical life with freshly designed, vividly realized programs of four centuries of music. Audiences and critics remarked his “razor-sharp intelligence, balanced by a generosity of spirit,” his “committed, vigorous, and often driving performance,” his “impressive demonstration of talent and discipline,” and the fact that “the program was put together with imagination and taste” and “this orchestra and Lipsitt are capable of taking on big challenges.” Steven Lipsitt’s work has twice been recognized as the “Best in Classical Music” by The Boston Globe’s year-end wrap-up.
As a conductor of opera, ballet, and music theater, Steven Lipsitt has collaborated with Scottish Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, English National Opera, Boston Ballet, St. Louis Ballet, the Boston Music Theater Project, Boston Conservatory Opera Theatre, and Opera-at-Longy. He has worked with directors Robert Carsen, James Hammerstein, and Gerald Gutierrez, and choreographers Peter Martins and Daniel Pelzig. He conducted twenty performances of Carousel at the Kennedy Center Opera House with actors Faith Prince, Tom Wopat, and John Spencer.
Also dedicated to the training of young musicians, Steven Lipsitt has served on the conducting faculties of the Tanglewood Institute, New England Conservatory, the Hartt School of Music, Boston Conservatory, and Boston University, and has prepared student orchestras for Kurt Masur, Luciano Berio, Christoph von Dohnányi, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Gunther Schuller, and Leon Kirchner. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University, where he studied with Otto-Werner Mueller, and participated in masterclasses with Herbert Blomstedt, Helmuth Rilling, Charles Bruck at the Pierre Monteux School, and Gustav Meier at Tanglewood. His earlier training included clarinet studies with the Boston Symphony’s Pasquale Cardillo and Yale’s Keith Wilson, vocal studies with Joan Heller and Phyllis Curtin, composition studies with Martin Bresnick and Jacob Druckman, and improvisation studies with John Mehegan.
Composer in residence
The music of Howard Frazin has been called “genuinely touching” by the Dallas Morning News and “clear in design … ingeniously scored … with an almost unbearable poignancy” by The Boston Globe. His works have been commissioned and performed by leading ensembles including A Far Cry, Boston Classical Orchestra, Claremont Trio, Florestan Recital Project, Lorelei Ensemble, Lydian String Quartet, and Triple Helix, and programmed at festivals including Tanglewood, Aspen, Banff, Rockport, Monadnock, Bowdoin, Kneisel Hall, and Yellow Barn. His works are published by Edition Peters and recorded on Ravello Records and MSR Classics.
Mr. Frazin’s oratorio The Voice of Isaac—a retelling of the Abraham and Isaac story from Isaac’s perspective—was commissioned by PALS Children’s Chorus and premiered at Jordan Hall in 2003, and revised and expanded for performance by Coro Allegro at Sanders Theatre in April 2016. Recent orchestral works include In the Forests of the Night, which was commissioned by the Boston Classical Orchestra, performed by multiple orchestras across the United States, and has been programmed by Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra for April 2017. Upcoming projects include a viola concerto in March 2017 for Kim Kashkashian and the Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms Society (with which Frazin is currently Composer-in-Residence), a song cycle in collaboration with poet Donald Hall, and a new string quartet for the Arneis Quartet.
Mr. Frazin is co-founder and artistic director of WordSong and has taught composition at the New England Conservatory and the Longy School of Music. He was a composition student of Dominick Argento.