Ian Swensen SFCM Faculty
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SFCM Orchestra Concert featuring Ian Swensen


In person at
Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall
50 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
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And livestreamed for your viewing pleasure


What’s cool about this evening:

  • Both Edwin Outwater* and his student mentee Jaco Wong ’22 conduct the SFCM orchestra in one night.
  • Ian Swensen*, chair of violin, performs as a soloist with the orchestra.

Edwin Outwater, conductor

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Leonore Overture No. 3 in C Major, Op. 72b
conducted by Jaco Wong ’22

Ernest Chausson (1855-1899)
Poème for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 25
feat. Ian Swensen*, violin

Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 43
     I. Allegretto
     II. Tempo andante, ma rubato
     III. Vivacissimo
     IV. Finale: Allegro moderato

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Get to know Edwin Outwater:

Considered “one of the most innovative conductors on the scene today,” Edwin Outwater works with orchestras and institutions throughout the world, producing, curating, and conducting unique concert experiences. He frequently premieres new works and connects audiences with repertoire beyond the mainstream. Recent wide-ranging projects include collaborations with Renée Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, John Lithgow, and Metallica. Outwater has a long association with the San Francisco Symphony. He regularly conducts and curates their SoundBox series, and has conducted and hosted “Holiday Gaiety”, an LGBTQ holiday concert he created with drag performer Peaches Christ. He was Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra leading them on a highly acclaimed European tour, and also served as San Francisco Symphony Director of Summer Concerts. Outwater is Music Director Laureate of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, where he returns regularly. Recent guest appearances include the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony, Brussels Philharmonic, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.

About the SFCM Orchestra:

As a member of the SFCM Orchestra, you’ll experience firsthand the advantages of playing in a large ensemble. You’ll also get a complete overview of orchestral repertoire, and that begins with examining both masterworks and lesser-known pieces of every era. The symphony orchestra has a large repertoire, and each stylistic period deserves attention. Do you take to the classical period works of Mozart and Haydn? The grand romantic works of Brahms and Tchaikovsky? How about the 20th-century masterpieces by Aaron Copland and Benjamin Britten? Add to that more recent works by such luminaries as John Adams and Joan Tower, and collaborations with Opera Theatre, and you’re on your way to becoming the well-rounded, informed musician the performing world expects.

The SFCM Orchestra presents several performances a year that prominently feature student soloists. Participation also includes public orchestral workshops with distinguished guest conductors. Recent guests have included Donald Runnicles, Carl St. Clair, Nicola Luisotti, and Peter Oundjian.

Get to know Ian Swensen:

Ian Swensen, violinist, chamber musician and teacher holds the Isaac Stern Chair of Violin and Chamber music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He had taught there in the college and pre-college divisions for 31 years. He is one of the few musicians to have been awarded the Walter W. Naumburg International Competition’s top prize for both solo violin and chamber music (as first violinist of the Meliora String Quartet).  In 2015, he was presented in a Naumberg Foundation’s solo recital in Carnegie Recital Hall.

Chamber music has dominated his performing career.  He has worked with so many wonderful artists including Robert Mann, Donald Weilerstein, Menahem Pressler, Leon Fleisher, Bernard Greenhouse, Paul Katz , Yo Yo Ma, Bonnie Hampton, Norman Fischer, Lynn Harrell, Steven Isserlis , Colin Carr, Jean-Yves Thibaudet , Yefim Bronfman, Gil Kalish, Kim Kashkashian, Martha Katz, Dimitri Murrath,  Ani Kavafian, Joseph Silverstein, Mark O’Connor, Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham, Shai Wosner, members of the Cleveland Quartet, Juilliard Quartet, Concord Quartet, Emerson Quartet, Tokyo Quartet, Takacs Quartet, Guarneri Quartet, Mendelssohn Quartet, Ying Quartet, Berg Quartet, Jupiter Quartet, Beaux Arts Trio, and the exceptional performing faculty and students at SFCM. These experiences rehearsing and performing with such fine musicians have created a rich musical life for Ian.

Over the years he has been a part of many great music festivals around the world both as teacher and performer including Tanglewood, Music from Menlo, The Spoleto Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music, Bowdoin Music Festival, Orford Music Academy , Domaine Forget de Charlevoix, Marlboro Music Festival , and Morningside music bridge. He has also played concerts and  tours with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society as well as many seasons as a part of the Smithsonian Chamber  Music Society with Kenneth Slowik. He recently enjoyed being at Prussia Cove in England playing chamber music.

At age 22 he began teaching at Florida State University and at 24, taught at the Longy   school of music . After that he taught for a semester at Oberlin college before beginning his position at the San Francisco conservatory at age 27. He has also taught part time at Sacramento State University and for a semester at the New England Conservatory. In his early years with the Meliora quartet (age 21) ,he performed hundreds of concerts around the world and was managed by ICM and later IMG Artists managements. He has recorded on Telarc and Deutsche Gramophone as well as Music from Menlo.  

This year, he was named as a 2021 US Presidential Scholar most influential teacher.  His student Grace Huh (2021 US presidential Scholar) also won the Bach prize and the second prize in the 2021 Irving M. Klein International String Competition.  Amaryn Olmeda ,current student, (13 years old ) won the first prize in the 2021 Sphinx Competition Junior Division.  His former students have won positions in major orchestras including Montreal Symphony (principle), Danish National Symphony, Houston Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, New Zealand Symphony (principle), Utah Symphony (principle), Delaware Symphony (concertmaster), Calgary Philharmonic, New Century Chamber Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Sichuan Symphony (concertmaster), Bergen Philharmonic (former concertmaster).  Others have formed international competition winning quartets including the Telegraph Quartet who won the Naumburg Chamber Music competition in 2016, the Nightingale String Quartet who received the 2014 Gramophone’s “Young Artist of the Year Award”, the Thalea String Quartet who won the top prize at the 2018 Fischoff Competition and the Del Sol Quartet celebrated for their performances of the new music. His former students were also appointed to major teaching positions including Cornell University, San Francisco Conservatory, Sacramento State University and the Juilliard School.  

Ian was born in New York of Japanese and Norwegian parents. They were both musicians,  a professional pianist and clarinetist.  They also studied at Juilliard and Mannes.  His brother is a renowned conductor and violinist as well as a composer.  His sister, a fine pianist and artist who also graduated from Juilliard.  Ian began his study at Juilliard at 9 years old.  His primary teacher there was Dorothy DeLay.  At age 19, he went to the Eastman School of Music to study with Donald Weilerstein and the other members of the Cleveland String Quartet.  In earlier years Ian’s other teachers were Shirley Givens, Christine Dethier and Jens Ellerman.  Ian plays recitals these days with his partner and pianist Weicong Zhang.  He is fortunate to play on a beautiful Nicolo Gagliano violin from 1761 and a Grand Adam bow from the early 1800’s.  This violin was recently restored by Adam Pelzer of Florian Leonhard Fine Violins. 

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The health and safety of the SFCM community and its patrons is of the highest priority. To help maintain a safe environment on campus for the SFCM community, and in adhering to San Francisco city guidelines, patrons are required to show proof of full vaccination to attend SFCM events. Please visit https://sfcm.edu/about-us/covid-19-information/event-health-safety to read the SFCM's full Event Health & Safety policy.

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