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Benjamin Zander started his early musical training under the guidance of his father, in his native England, with lessons in cello and composition. When he was nine, Benjamin Britten, England's leading composer, and his close associate Imogen Holst, took an interest in his compositions and invited the family to spend three summers in Suffolk where he lived. This long association led to lessons in theory and composition.
Mr. Zander left school when he was fifteen, to study in Florence with the great Spanish cello virtuoso, Gaspar Cassadó, who was his teacher and mentor for the next five years. He completed his cello training at the State Academy in Cologne, traveling extensively with Cassadó and performing recitals and chamber music.
In 1964 Benjamin Zander completed a degree at London University, winning the University College Essay Prize, and a Harkness Commonwealth Fellowship for post-graduate work at Harvard. Boston, MA has been his home ever since.
In 1967 Mr. Zander joined the Faculty of the New England Conservatory, where he teaches the Interpretation Class, conducts the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, and regularly conducts the Conservatory's orchestras. Twenty-three years ago he became the Artistic Director of the joint program between NEC and Walnut Hill, a boarding school for the Performing Arts. During his thirty-five year tenure as conductor of the New England Conservatory Youth Philharmonic he has taken the orchestra on 13 international tours, made five commercial recordings and several television documentaries for PBS.
In 1979, Benjamin Zander became the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO). In their twenty-eight seasons together they have performed an extensive repertoire, with an emphasis on late Romantic and early Twentieth Century composers. The BPO has recorded five extremely successful CDs, all of which are listed in the Penguin Guide of the Best recordings of the Past 20 years. The New York Times named their recording of The Rite of Spring as one of the ten most important Musical Events of 1992.
Mr. Zander has established an international reputation as a guest conductor. He has conducted the Israel Philharmonic for three consecutive years, and conducted orchestras as diverse as the Bournemouth Symphony, the Scottish and Irish National Orchestras, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Malaysian Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, and appeared with the National Youth Orchestra of New Zealand, and the Australian Youth Orchestra.
Benjamin Zander has a unique relationship with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London with whom he is recording a series of Beethoven and Mahler symphonies for the Telarc label. The phenomenal success of these discs is in part due to the eloquent and informative discussion discs that accompany each disc. High Fidelity named his recording of Mahler's 6th as the best classical recording of 2002. His recording of Mahler's 9th Symphony was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Mr. Zander has an extensive speaking career, traveling the world lecturing to organizations on leadership. He has just returned from Davos, Switzerland where he was the final keynote speaker at the World Economic Forum, where he has appeared four times as a keynote speaker, where he was presented with the Crystal award for "outstanding contributions in the Arts and international relations." The best-selling book, The Art of Possibility, co-authored with his partner, leading psychotherapist Rosamund Zander, has been translated into sixteen languages.
Benjamin Zander was awarded the 2002 "Caring Citizen of the Humanities" Award by the International Council for Caring Communities at the United Nations.
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