Baylor School of Music Celebrates Legacy of Revered Conductor Heyde, Welcomes Eminent Conductor Harth-Bedoya
Baylor Conductor-in-Residence Stephen Heyde announces his retirement; School of Music names Miguel Harth-Bedoya as successor in director of orchestral studies positionMedia Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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WACO, Texas (Feb. 15, 2022) – Stephen Heyde, M.F.A., The Mary Franks Thompson Professor of Orchestral Studies and Conductor-in-Residence, has announced his retirement effective in May after leading the orchestral program at the Baylor University School of Music since 1984. Heyde also has been the Music Director and Conductor of the Waco Symphony since 1987.
“Stephen Heyde’s dedication to the students and relentless drive to improve the quality and reach of the orchestra was inspiring to witness,” said Gary Mortenson, D.M.A., dean of the Baylor School of Music. “Of the many Baylor Symphony performances I attended, the orchestra’s performance of Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, Opus 29 The Inextinguishable my first year as dean, and Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 Resurrection, the last orchestra concert I attended with my father prior to his passing, are in my ‘mind’s ear’ forever.”
In 2020, the Baylor Symphony Orchestra under Heyde’s direction was named winner of the coveted American Prize in Orchestral Performance for an unprecedented fifth time in the past six years. That same year, Heyde received the nationally acclaimed Arlin G. Meyer Prize in Music Performance from the Lilly Fellows Program for a performance of the Mahler Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection” with the Baylor Symphony, Combined Choirs and faculty soloists. Additionally, Heyde is a recipient of Outstanding Teaching Awards at West Virginia University and Baylor University.
Under Heyde’s direction, the Baylor Symphony has toured internationally in Costa Rica and Belgium while also performing eight times at the Texas Music Educators Clinic/Convention and appearing at the prestigious Piccolo Spoleto Festival and at national conferences of the American String Teachers Association and the College Orchestra Directors Association. With other ensembles in the School of Music, the Baylor Symphony was featured in the nationally televised PBS special “Christmas at Baylor,” watched by an estimated audience of more than 6 million viewers, and in recent years with multiple award-winning regional broadcasts of “A Baylor Christmas” produced by KWTX Television that aired on Gray Television stations throughout the country.
The Baylor School of Music will celebrate Heyde’s exceptional career over the course of the spring semester as he concludes his time at Baylor. In fall 2022, eminent conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya will succeed Heyde, assuming his role as leader of the School of Music’s orchestral program.
“It has been the honor of my lifetime to lead the Baylor Orchestral program and work with the thousands of exceptional student artists who have participated in the joyful performances of the great orchestral repertoire,” Heyde said. “I have deeply appreciated the strong support of the Mary Franks Thompson family, generous donors and the faculty and administration working with me to create a quality program that sought to reflect both the excellence and Christian mission of the University. I am ecstatic that the work will continue under the exceptional leadership of Maestro Harth-Bedoya who is recognized internationally for his conducting excellence and musical artistry but also for his integrity and heart for teaching.”
Harth-Bedoya will join the School of Music as The Mary Franks Thompson Professor of Orchestral Studies with more than 30 years of professional conducting experience at the highest levels. He most recently held the title of director of orchestral studies at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, where he created a new undergraduate program in orchestral conducting as well as The Conducting Institute, a summer and winter orchestral conducting program in Fort Worth that includes a variety of online courses.
“Miguel Harth-Bedoya’s vast experience conducting orchestras all over the United States and internationally gives him perspectives that will benefit our students as they learn from his dedication to music,” Mortenson said. “His driving passion is to educate the next generation of orchestral performers and conductors to enter the world fully prepared to serve and enhance the music of the past as well as music being written today.”
Harth-Bedoya has amassed considerable experience at the helm of orchestras, including recently completing tenures as chief conductor of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra — a post he held for seven seasons — and 20 seasons as music director of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, where he now holds the title of music director laureate and will conduct regularly. Previously, he has held music director positions with the Auckland Philharmonia in New Zealand and Eugene Symphony in Oregon.
Born and raised in Peru, Harth-Bedoya received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music and his Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School, both under the guidance of Otto-Werner Mueller. He also studied with Seiji Ozawa and Gustav Meier at Tanglewood.
“I am truly honored and very excited to join the Baylor faculty and have a deep commitment to and passion for teaching the next generation of musicians,” Harth Bedoya said.
The Baylor Symphony Orchestra is Baylor’s flagship orchestra, dedicated to the quality performance of the orchestral repertoire and to the professional and artistic growth of its members. Initiated in 1946, the Baylor Symphony has had only two permanent conductors as founding director Daniel Sternberg passed the baton to Heyde in 1984. In a typical semester, nearly 100 Baylor students, hailing from more than two dozen states and several foreign countries, perform in the ensemble.
The Baylor Symphony has an extensive performance schedule on and off campus, annually presenting four to six concerts of standard orchestral repertoire, a full opera production and other events such as concerto accompaniments, new music readings and choral/orchestral collaborations. The orchestra also presents a series of concerts each year to an audience of more than 6,000 Waco area schoolchildren, a tradition since 1946.
Through the years, the Baylor Symphony has worked with many distinguished performers, among them Van Cliburn, Robert Shaw, Josef Gingold, Corey Cerovsek, Jacob Druckman, Lorin Hollander and Peter Schickele among many others.
ABOUT THE BAYLOR UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Celebrating the centennial year of its founding throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, the Baylor University School of Music provides transformational experiences that prepare students for careers in music. Students thrive in a Christian environment characterized by a nurturing resident faculty, an unwavering pursuit of musical excellence, a global perspective, dedication to service and devotion to faith. They investigate the rich musical and cultural heritage of the past, develop superior musical skills and knowledge in the present, and explore and create new modes of musical expression for the future. While preparing for future leadership roles, students join with School of Music faculty in enhancing the quality of community life, enriching the larger culture and making Baylor a place in which heart, mind and soul coalesce. Baylor’s School of Music is a member of the National Association of Schools of Music and the Texas Association of Music Schools. Degree programs include bachelor’s and master’s degrees in performance, music education and academic majors, as well as doctoral degrees in church music. Degrees leading to the Bachelor of Music Education conform to certification requirements of the Texas Education Agency. Visit baylor.edu/music to learn more.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.