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Marc Neikrug, Festival Artistic Director


Marc Neikrug is a unique and multi-faceted artist.  While he is primarily a composer, he has also been active as a pianist, conductor, director of festivals, and is the Artistic Director of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.

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Music Director Alan Gilbert discusses the world premiere of Marc Neikrug’s Quintessence: Symphony No. 2 by the New York Philharmonic in March 2008

Marc Neikrug is a unique and multi-faceted artist.  While he is primarily a composer, he has also been active as a pianist, conductor and director of festivals.

His compositions have been commissioned and performed by major festivals, orchestras and opera houses worldwide.  Performers have included Pinchas Zukerman, James Galway, Alan Gilbert, Christoph Eschenbach, Christoph von Dohnányi, Loren Maazel, Zubin Mehta, David Zinman, Leonard Slatkin, Oliver Knussen, Lawrence Foster and actors Maximilian Schell and John Turturro.

Works have been performed by the New York, Buffalo and Los Angeles philharmonics, as well as the symphonies of Cleveland, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Houston, Minnesota, Phoenix, New Mexico, Utah, St. Louis and the National Symphony.  Performances abroad have been with the BBC London, Halle, English Chamber Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Frankfort Radio, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Liege, Barcelona, Zurich, Berlin Radio, ORTF Vienna, Israel Chamber Orchestra and opera houses in Hamburg, Berlin, Oslo, Stockholm and Frankfurt.

Festival performance’s include Aldeburgh, London’s South Bank, Zurich, Berlin, Schleswig-Holstein, Frankfurt, Israel, Tokyo’s Music Today, Melbourne (Australia), Aspen, Tanglewood, Marlboro, Hollywood Bowl and Ravinia.

Of particular note are two works for the theater, Through Roses and Los AlamosThrough Roses, music and text by Marc Neikrug, has been produced in eleven languages in fifteen countries and heard over five hundred times.  It was produced as a CD twice, for Deutsche Grammophon and Enja.  It has been made into two films, a documentary by Christopher Nupen, which won prizes in the Besancon and New York film festivals, and a feature film by Jurgen Flimm, starring Maximilian Schell, which was presented in the Berlin Film Festival.  Notable performances were at the opening of the largest international conference on the Holocaust in Oxford, England in 2002: and on the former site of Munich’s largest synagogue on Kristallnacht 2001.  A copy of the feature film is housed permanently at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

Los Alamos was the first opera commissioned by an American composer by the Deutsche Oper Berlin.  It is an anti-nuclear opera with music, story and libretto by Mr. Neikrug.  It presents 2000 years of the Los Alamos site, from ancient Pueblo Indian time into the future.  The premiere took place as part of the Berlin Festival in 1988, a year in which Berlin was the Cultural Capital of Europe.  The American premiere was at the Aspen Music Festival when Mr. Neikrug was composer-in-residence.

As a pianist, Marc Neikrug has performed worldwide for four decades.  He performed with Pinchas Zukerman in recitals for 35 years.  They appeared regularly at the major festivals and concert halls in North and South America, Eastern and Western Europe and Asia.  They have recorded most of the violin and piano literature for CBS, Phillips and BMG.

Mr. Neikrug has conducted many performances of his works with the Pittsburgh, Utah and Melbourne symphonies and in Zurich, Liege and Frankfurt.

As an artistic leader, Mr. Neikrug spent seven years as composer-in-residence with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra during which time the orchestra received three ASCAP awards for adventuresome programming.  He conceived of and directed Melbourne Summer Music, a month-long festival in Australia during the late 80’s and early 90’s.  Since 1998, he has been artistic director of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, which has risen to the forefront of chamber music festivals worldwide.  He has also consulted on artistic planning with the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Canada.

Mr. Neikrug is married to Dolly Naranjo, a highly regarded Santa Claran Pueblo potter, and lives in New Mexico close to his five grandchildren.