British-American conductor Sean Newhouse made an acclaimed last-minute debut with the Boston Symphony in 2011, conducting Mahler’s Ninth Symphony on two hours’ notice in place of James Levine. No stranger to eleventh-hour substitutions, he also stepped in for Mario Venzago on short notice to open the Indianapolis Symphony season in 2008, to rave reviews commending his “expert” conducting and hailing the performances as “electrifying”.
Notable engagements in North America have included the Vancouver Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, Tucson Symphony, Charleston Symphony, California Symphony, and Knoxville Symphony. In Europe, he has conducted the Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, and Silesian Philharmonic, among others.
His opera credits include the world premiere of Patricia Leonard’s My Dearest Friend, Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, and Hänsel und Gretel. He has served on the music staff of Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Glimmerglass Opera, and assisted James Levine in performances of Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle and Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex.
He is a winner of the Aspen Conducting Prize and major prizes at the Fitelberg and Malko competitions, as well as a Career Assistance Award from the Solti Foundation U.S. In 2011, he was one of six conductors chosen from across the US to participate in the League’s Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, hosted by the Louisiana Philharmonic.
Mr. Newhouse began his career by winning the highly coveted position of Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra in Los Angeles, which has launched conductors from Michael Tilson Thomas to Myung-Whun Chung to Lawrence Foster. Highlights of his three seasons with the YMF Debut Orchestra included seven world premieres, a nationally televised holiday concert, a performance for the President and First Lady of the United States, and a special invited performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall, for the League of American Orchestras National Conference. Mr. Newhouse returned with the Debut Orchestra to Disney Hall in 2007 for an acclaimed performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, as part of the LA Philharmonic’s “Shadow of Stalin” festival.
After a successful three-year tenure with the Debut Orchestra, he then spent two seasons as Associate Conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, conducting multiple subscription weeks and concerts on virtually every ISO series. At the conclusion of his tenure with the Indianapolis Symphony, NUVO wrote: “From his first appearance…Newhouse has impressed us with his incredible sense of balance throughout a work, his ability to personalize not only through his body language, but equally through a dimension of musicality and energy one felt with Leonard Bernstein on the podium.” Of his German debut, Die Rheinpfalz commented: “Newhouse was completely in his element in this program… [He] animated the energetic Staatsphilharmonie to play a lively, intense, and stylistically informed performance.” The New York Times called his performance of Joan Tower’s “Strike Zones”, in Tanglewood’s Festival of Contemporary Music, “the real dazzler of the festival”, singling out its “vitality and color.”
Mr. Newhouse studied at the Tanglewood Music Center, the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Eastman School of Music, among others. His conducting mentors have included James Levine, David Zinman, Carl Topilow, and Neil Varon. Originally trained as a violinist, his teachers included Devy Erlih at the Alfred Cortot School in Paris and Joanna Owen at the Eastman School.