Music Director

After an invigorating Conductor Search season comprising 4 concerts spanning Fall/Winter/Spring 2016/17 the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra’s has selected a new Music Director: Jonathan Handman.

Jonathan Handman, conductor, teacher, and cellist, is a co-founder and Artistic Director of Stringendo Inc., a music school that is committed to furthering the growth and talents of string players of the Hudson Valley. Under Jonathan’s direction, Vivace, Stringendo’s most advanced ensemble has garnered numerous awards including the Grand Champion Orchestra at the ASTA National Orchestra Festival in 2016, 2014 and 2009; and it was the American Prize winner in Orchestra Performance – Youth Orchestra Division in 2013. In addition, Vivace has been a featured performing ensemble at the MENC National Conference, the NYSSMA Summer and Winter Conferences and is an Outstanding Student Performance winner on the “Live From Lincoln Center” website.

Jonathan is also in his tweltch year at Arlington High School in LaGrangeville, NY, where he is the conductor of two symphony orchestras and directs an extensive chamber music program. In October of 2015, Arlington’s Philharmonia Orchestra was an invited performing ensemble at the New York State School Board Association (NTSSBA) Convention and in 2014 at the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Winter Conference. In 2012, the same ensemble won the Grand Champion Prize at the ASTA National Orchestra Festival in Atlanta. Repertoire highights in recent years include Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo & Juliet” Fantasy-Overture, Vaughn-Williams’ Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis (with the Jasper String Quartet), and the Finale to Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. His chamber musicians have also received numerous awards and accolades. In 2015, the Llama Cello Quintet was selected to perform in Lincoln Center’s CMS Young Musician’s Concert at Alice Tully Hall and in 2012 the Komar Quartet was the first non-magnet public school ensemble to receive a medal in the history of the St. Paul String Quartet Competition. This quartet also made it into the live quarterfinal round of the 2012 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.

In 2013, Jonathan was the winner of the American Prize in Conducting/Youth Orchestra Division. In addition, he received the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award in Music Education from Oberlin Conservatory and in 2002 was Oberlin’s invited guest speaker representing the decade of the 1990’s, celebrating its 100th year anniversary of music education. He is in frequent demand as a guest conductor for honor orchestras throughout the northeast, most recently working with groups from Syracuse, Albany and Virginia. One of his treasured experiences was spending a six-month residence in La Paz, Bolivia as a cellist in the Arka-Ira String Quartet, the Bolivian National Symphony, and Professor of Cello at the Bolivian National Conservatory. As a freelance musician Jonathan has performed as a cellist with the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, both as a cellist and trombonist with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic (HVP), and was a concerto soloist with the HVP as a winner of its Virtuoso in Progress competition. His studies incllude The Eastman School of Music (trombone performance), the Oberlin Conservatory (B.A. in Music Education, Cello) and an M.A. in orchestral conducting from SUNY Fredonia.

Jon lives in Poughkeepsie with his wife Kim, also an accomplished musician, and their two sons.

The Woodstock Chamber Orchestra’s past music directors:

Henry Bloch:  1980-1992

Luis Garcia-Renart:  1992-2005

David Leighton:  2006-2011

Nathan Madsen:  2013-2016