Stephen Somary

New York-born conductor Stephen Somary was appointed Music Director of Amor Artis in May 2011. Somary's history with the organization dates back to a concert he conducted in 1982 at the age of seventeen. In April 2011 he led a gala performance of Bach's B Minor Mass in celebration of Amor Artis's 50th anniversary. Other appearances with Amor Artis have included the music of Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, Lassus, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Palestrina, Rossini, Saint-Saens, and Stravinsky, among numerous others.

Stephen Somary's guest appearances with leading orchestras of the world have included performances with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Slovak Philharmonic, and the Thüringen Philharmonic, of which he was Principal Guest Conductor from 1997 - 2001. Many of his concerts in recent years have featured unpublished works by Felix Mendelssohn. In addition to his other activities, Stephen Somary has dedicated a large portion of his time over the past sixteen years to The Mendelssohn Project, an organization he founded and of which he is Artistic Director. This foundation, with branches in New York and Germany, has researched the vast amount of unpublished music, letters, and artworks by Mendelssohn and introduces the world to these lost masterpieces through concerts, seminars, and publications. Recently, The Mendelssohn Project has teamed up with the Chicago-based WFMT Radio Network to produce a series of radio shows, hosted by Maestro Somary, on the life of Felix Mendelssohn.

Stephen Somary's early career was shaped by studies with Henry Bloch, Eiji Oue at Boston University, Norman Del Mar at the Royal College of Music, London, and Leonard Bernstein, for whom he served as Music Assistant from 1984 until 1990 and as Composition Assistant for Bernstein's Arias and Barcarolles and the revisions of Songfest.

An acclaimed interpreter of American repertoire, Stephen Somary's discography includes a recording on the Claves Records label with the Nürnberg Symphony Orchestra of Ives's Symphony No. 2, Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915, and the world premiere recording of Cowell's Symphonic Set. Le Monde de la Musique describes this recording as "a vitally important disc . . . The Ives proves a worthy comparison to the three leading versions - two by Bernstein and one by Tilson-Thomas." Somary has also made three recordings of the music of the American composer David Chesky with the Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg-Berlin and the Slovak Philharmonic: "Excellent playing and recording" (Gramophone), "Well played and beautifully recorded" (Billboard). Another CD for Claves Records with the Thüringen Philharmonic features Elgar's Symphony No. 1. Musical Opinion (London) said of this recording, "A gifted young American, Stephen Somary . . . paces the entire work in a manner which marks him as both a born conductor and a serious, dedicated musician . . . I should not be surprised if his future career establishes him as one of the most admired conductors of his generation."