Music Director and Conductor, Reno Chamber Orchestra
Artistic Director, Nevada Chamber Music Festival
Theodore Kuchar, one of the most prolifically recorded conductors of the past decade, appears on over 100 compact discs for the Naxos, Brilliant Classics, Ondine and Marco Polo labels. He has served as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of two of Europe’s leading orchestras, the Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra (formerly the Czech Radio Orchestra) (2005- ) and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine (1994-2004). In the 2011-12 season he commenced his tenure as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela. He presently also serves as Music Director and Conductor of the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra (2002- ) and the Reno Chamber Orchestra (2003- ). Since January 2013 he has served as Principal Conductor of the Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina. An avid chamber musician, he served as the Artistic Director of The Australian Festival of Chamber Music (1990-2006), and presently serves as the Artistic Director of the Nevada Chamber Music Festival since 2004.
Highlights of the past several seasons have included a four-week, 20 concert tour of the U.S. with the Czech Symphony Orchestra and guest conducting engagements including the BBC Symphony, BBC National Symphony Orchestra of Wales (filling in on one day’s notice to conduct Josef Suk’s epic Asrael Symphony), Berlin Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel Symphony Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. He has collaborated with major artists including James Galway, Jessye Norman, Lynn Harrell, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Sarah Chang, Mstislav Rostropovich, Joshua Bell, and Frederica von Stade, among others.
With the Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra, Kuchar has recorded 15 compact discs devoted to the complete symphonies of Carl Nielsen, the complete overtures and tone poems of Dvorak, and the complete orchestral works of Czech composer Bedrich Smetana for the Brilliant Classics label. Also completed for Brilliant Classics was a world premiere recording of Rachmaninov’s Fifth Piano Concerto, a reconstruction of that composer’s Second Symphony based on the composer’s earliest manuscripts, and the Piano Concertos of Ravel and Bartók. With the Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra, Kuchar has conducted tours of Australia, Germany, Italy, Korea, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and the USA.
During his tenure with the National Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine, Kuchar conducted cycles of the complete symphony by Beethoven, Bruckner, Mahler, Prokofiev, Schubert and Shostakovich, and led eleven international tours to Asia, Australia, Central Europe and the United Kingdom. Under Mr. Kuchar’s direction, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine became the most frequently recorded orchestra of the former Soviet Union. Between 1994 and 2004 the orchestra recorded over 80 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. They also recorded the symphonies and orchestral works of Ukraine’s leading contemporary symphonist, Yevhen Stankovych. The recording of Lyatoshynsky’s Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3 was awarded 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, on the Naxos label, are regarded by many critics as the most accomplished cycle available on compact disc.
Kuchar remains as strong an advocate of composers of the present day as he does of the great composers of the past. In addition to his recordings of contemporary works with the NSO of Ukraine, he has also conducted premieres of works by Lukas Foss (the Capriccio for Cello and Orchestra, with Yo-Yo Ma as soloist), Giya Kancheli, Joseph Schwantner, Alfred Schnittke, Osvaldo Golijov and Rodion Shchedrin, among others.
Theodore Kuchar graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of Robert Vernon, Principal Violist of The Cleveland Orchestra. In 1981, he was awarded the Paul Fromm Fellowship from the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, subsequently reinvited for the following summer. He continues to devote several periods annually to one of his most serious passions, the performance of chamber music and has been a participant at major international festivals, including Kuhmo, Lockenhaus, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music and the Nevada Chamber Music Festival. His colleagues have included James Buswell, Martin Chalifour, Sarah Chang, Lynn Harrell, Alexander Ivashkin, Truls Mork, Paul Neubauer, Irina Schnittke, 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. He has appeared as violist in recordings on the Naxos label of works by Alfred Schnittke (with Irina Schnittke and Mark Lubotsky – this recording was awarded the BBC’s “CD of the Year” award for 2002), Bohuslav Martinu and Walter Piston. The latter recording was awarded the Chamber Music America/WQXR “Record of the Year” for 2001.