Schenectady Symphony Announces the Retirement of Long Time Music Director Charles Schneider


The Board of Directors of the Schenectady Symphony would like to announce the retirement of long time Music Director and Conductor Charles Schneider after nearly thirty-five seasons with the orchestra.  Chuck will officially step down on June 30th, 2018 which marks the end of the Symphony’s 84th Season of presenting concerts in Schenectady.

“This will be a big change for all of us”, said Robert Bour, President of the Orchestra.  “For most of us on the board and for many of our musicians, Chuck is the only Music Director and Conductor we have ever known.  Chuck’s contributions to this orchestra and this organization are huge.  Many of our musicians have told the Board how much they enjoy playing under Chuck’s baton – he’s truly a Musician’s Conductor.”

The Board has invited Chuck back to conduct the opening concert of the 85th Season which will take place on the Mainstage at Proctors Theater at 3:00 PM on October 22nd, 2018.  “This will be our Bernstein Tribute concert which will include many of the pieces that Chuck personally selected due to his long time association with Leonard Bernstein”, Bour said.  It will also include, as the Schenectady Symphony is known for, many local ties.  Local composer and Skidmore College faculty member Evan Mack’s “If Only Lenny Were Here” will get it’s world orchestral premiere with guest Soloist Michael Miller.  Also on the program is Sylvia Stoner-Hawkins, Artist-in-Residence at Skidmore who along with Miller will perform selections from Candide and Trouble in Tahiti, two of Bernstein’s most popular compositions.

The concert will conclude with “Westside Story Symphonic Dances”, the piece as Chuck has said, “I’ve conducted more than any other in my career”.  Joining Schneider and the orchestra on stage will be Debbie’s Dancers from the Orlando School of Dance, under the artistic direction of Debra Pigliavento.  “Orlando has been a dance institution in Schenectady since 1954 and the group has performed with the Symphony before”, according to Bour.  Debbie has agreed to specially choreograph the piece as she did several years ago for the Symphony’s performance of Schneider’s Bosnian Dances.

When asked about his time with the Symphony, Schneider had this to say, “during my tenue, it is my belief that the orchestra is and continues to be one of the main cultural arts organizations in the Capital Region.  I have always thought of my orchestras as a team effort and that is especially true with this orchestra.”  As for the most important thing he remembers, Chuck commented, “I am very proud of our Mission Statement and often think of all the young performers who were given the experience of performing with an outstanding orchestra”.  The Board also voted to name Schneider Music Director Emeritus effective July 1, 2018, the start of the 85th Season. “I’m grateful to be given the opportunity to open the 2018-2019 season in October before passing the baton to the new Music Director.  Thank you for the wonderful tribute of naming me Music Director Emeritus”, Schneider added.

The Schenectady Symphony Orchestra is a community-based symphony orchestra  founded in 1934.  Our goals are to provide cultural enrichment, music education and appreciation and a home for the talents of accomplished musicians in the community.

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