Music Director

Barbara Schubert
Music Director and Conductor

Cited for "her consistently high artistic standards, her energetic podium style, and her innovative programming," Music Director Barbara Schubert was honored by the Illinois Council of Orchestras as the 2003 Conductor of the Year. Appointed at the beginning of the 1986-87 season as only the second music director in the DSO’s history, Maestra Schubert also serves as the Music Director and Conductor of the University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra and New Music Ensemble and the Park Ridge Fine Arts Symphony. With a performed repertoire of over 1,800 works, she brings a wealth of musical knowledge of and experience to the podium and continues to lead the orchestra with energy, artistry, and imagination.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Philadelphia, Ms Schubert began her conducting career while a student of music and mathematics at Smith College. She did her graduate work in Music History and Theory at the University of Chicago and has studied conducting with Otto-Werner Mueller, Thomas Briccetti, Charles Bruch, and Ivy Dee Hiatt. She has been a participant in many professional conducting workshops with such renowned maestros as Max Rudolf and Pierre Boulez.

As winner of the 1982 American Conductors Competition, Barbara Schubert served two seasons as Assistant Conductor of the Colorado Philharmonic Orchestra. In the summer of 1985, she was selected for the Tanglewood Seminar for Conductors, where she studied with Seiji Ozawa, Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, and Gustav Meier. She has appeared as a guest conductor with numerous professional ensembles in the Chicago area, including the Grant Park Symphony, the Contemporary Chamber Players, the Lyric Opera for American Artists, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Oak Park Symphony, the Chicago Camerata, and Light Opera Works.

Recent guest conducting engagements include the Birmingham Opera Theater (AL), the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra (AK), the Santa Cruz Symphony (CA), the Fargo-Moorehead Symphony (ND), the Fox Valley Symphony (WI and IL), the Bay Area Women’s Philharmonic (CA), the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra (IN), and the Northwest Indiana Symphony (IN). She is also a frequent guest conductor for district and all-state festival orchestras around the country.

Barbara Schubert is a past President of the Conductor’s Guild, an international service organization of nearly 2,000 members that is dedicated to "encouraging and promoting the highest standards in the art and profession of conducting." Known throughout the Chicago area as an orchestra builder, she has dramatically increased the quality and the scope of the symphony orchestras she directs. A champion of new music, Ms Schubert has conducted a large number of world premieres with both amateur and professional ensembles, and has introduced a wide assortment of unusual repertoire and collaborative events to Chicago audiences. One of the most notable of these last was a series of performances of Hector Belioz’ rarely performed dramatic Romeo et Juliette with the University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Choruses at the end of May 2003.

In May 2004, Barbara Schubert conducted the DSO and a select combined chorus in a thrilling performance of Gustav Mahler’s monumental Resurrection Symphony at Wheaton College’s Edman Chapel as part of the DSO’s 50th Anniversary Season. In March of 2006, she conducted the University of Chicago Symphony in a rousing performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11, and followed that up with a performance of Gustav Mahler’s Ninth Symphony during the 2006-2007 University of Chicago concert season. In late May and early June of 2008, she closed out the 2007-2008 University concert season with two thrilling performances of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony.

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