Eric Dale Knapp, Conductor
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RIC DALE KNAPP is a dynamic conductor whose commitment and energy empower the musicians he leads to give performances that stir the souls of his audiences. Maestro Knapp's mastery of the repertoire spans the full spectrum, from fresh yet authentic interpretations of traditional works to visionary performances of multimedia works of the new millennium. A versatile musical leader, equally adept with classics and pops, Knapp's finely honed ability to communicate through both gesture and speech place him at the forefront of the rising conductors of his generation. He has enjoyed success in music education at all levels, church music, collegiate teaching and with professional choral and orchestral organizations. Maestro Knapp has conducted at distinctive concert halls and cathedrals worldwide, including Carnegie Hall - New York, the Sydney Opera House, Oriental Art Center - Shanghai, Forbidden City Concert Hall - Beijing, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels - Los Angeles, Dvorak Hall - Prague, Southwark Cathedral - London and Vienna's famed Musikverein.
Mr. Knapp is Artistic Director and Conductor of the Connecticut Choral Society & Orchestra; Artistic Director and Conductor of the New Jersey Choral Society & Orchestra which he has led to critical acclaim both in the U.S. and abroad; Music Director for The Mark Thallander Foundation in Los Angeles; CA; Founder and Music Director of Orchestra de Camerata at the Salisbury House, where he also serves as Artistic Director of Chamber Music; Principal Conductor of the New American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and Artistic Advisor to KIconcerts for choral and orchestral programming worldwide.
As Conductor-in-Residence at MidAmerica Productions from 2000 through 2007 Mr. Knapp conducted the New England Symphonic Ensemble and Festival Chorus annually at Carnegie Hall. His May 2000 Carnegie Hall debut was marked with critical acclaim. Mr. Knapp also served as cover conductor for John Rutter at Carnegie Hall and prepared choirs to work under Mr. Rutter's baton. While at MidAmerica Productions, Mr. Knapp assisted Lukas Foss with the National Youth Orchestra in performances at Carnegie Hall. Annually, he adjudicated auditions of soloists and ensembles for the MidAmerica Concert Series.
Mr. Knapp served Faith Lutheran Church - Des Moines, Iowa, as Director of Music and Senior Organist from 1987 to 2000. During Mr. Knapp's tenure, the Faith Music Ministry grew from two choirs to 15, and included more than 200 volunteer and semi-professional musicians, supported behind-the-scenes by a small army of volunteers. Three very successful European concert tours were launched and provided a significant outreach for the programs at Faith. The Music Ministry now serves as a self-sustaining support to the mission of the congregation. The program has inspired significant growth in the church's devotion to music and the fine arts within worship. Mr. Knapp's discography includes Bach's Clavier Übung, Part III with organist Carl Staplin and the Chancel Choir from Faith for the Calcante label. On March 31, 2007 Mr. Knapp returned to Faith to conduct the 10th Anniversary Concert of the Soli Deo Musica Fine Arts Series that he founded. The concert was a true celebration of ministry and a strong philosophical understanding of the significant place which the Music Ministry holds within the church.
In 2006 and 2007 Mr. Knapp appeared as Artistic Director and Conductor of Voices in the House, an International Music Festival featuring organist Frederick Swann with the Festival Chorus and Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House. In 2008 Mr. Knapp led the North American Festival Chorus with the Tianjin Symphony Orchestra as part of the Perform in Harmony with Olympic Spirit Festival featuring Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. A Concert of International Friendship and Goodwill was the finale of the Perform in Harmony with Olympic Spirit, which preceded the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He has conducted in a PBS Television special From Galaway to Broadway as well as the New England Symphonic Ensemble and Festival Chorus at Carnegie Hall. July 2009 Mr. Knapp served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the International Haydn Festival in Vienna, Austria with concerts at the Musikverein and Konzerthaus. The Festival celebrated the legacy of Franz Josef Haydn's 200th anniversary. Mr. Knapp's 2010 performance of Handel's Messiah at London's Southwark Cathedral was met with unprecedented enthusiasm. In 2011 Maestro Knapp will appear at the Sydney Opera House conducting Mahler's Symphony of a Thousand. He appears regularly at Carnegie Hall as Artistic Director and Conductor of the American Gospel Music Festival.
Mr. Knapp is a graduate of Drake University and has studied at The Juilliard School. His teachers have included such luminaries as Jorge Mester, John Alexander, Helmuth Rilling, Robert Shaw, Aimee Beckmann-Collier, Vincent LaSelva, Kirk Trevor, Tsung Yeh, Gary Fagan, and Johannes Schlaefli.
Carnegie Hall recognized Mr. Knapp as one of the "rising generation of choral and orchestral leaders," and invited him to participate in its Professional Conductors' workshops with Robert Shaw.
Mr. Knapp is represented by Wade Artist Management - New York, NY.