THE LANCASTER FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA
The Lancaster Festival Orchestra is made up of professional musicians from around the United States and the world. Most have seasonal positions with other orchestras, and many also teach. Under the leadership of Maestro Gary Sheldon, this group performs pops and classical repertoire at a world-class level.
The Lancaster Festival Orchestra won The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, professional orchestra division in mid-June 2010. The judges for the new, non-profit competition said that our Orchestra is "ranked among the finest professional orchestras in the country".
Then to our happy surprise Gary Sheldon won The American Prize in Conducting two weeks later. The winning recorded performances of Maestro Sheldon leading the Orchestra include music of Beethoven, Glazunov and William Bolcom. The two works by Bolcom, Ragomania and Commedia can be heard on the Orchestra's 2009 CD release, "Ragomania" on the Marquis Classics label.
In accepting the awards, Sheldon said "Our outstanding musicians are so deserving of this honor, as are the many wonderful patrons and friends in the community who have so kindly supported the Orchestra and me for all these years."
Congratulations Maestro Sheldon and Orchestra members! For more on this prestigious award, click here.
Gary Sheldon has served as artistic director of the Lancaster Festival since 2001. Under his leadership, the Lancaster Festival Orchestra continues to receive local and national acclaim.
Besides the American Prize for Conducting noted above, Maestro Sheldon is also a prizewinner in two other conducting competitions as well – the BBC/Rupert and Leopold Stokowski competitions – and he is a recipient of the Distinguished Citizen's Award from the Marin Cultural Center and Museum for his dedication to educational arts programming and community outreach.
Gary Sheldon is recognized as one of the leading ballet conductors in the country today. He recently led the San Francisco Ballet on tours to the Kennedy Center and the Peoples Republic of China; he was conductor for Ballet Met for twenty seasons; and he was recently appointed principal conductor for the Miami City Ballet by artistic director Edward Villella.
Gary Sheldon is a native of Bay Shore, New York and a graduate of the Juilliard School. He has conducted symphony and opera with nearly one hundred orchestras throughout the U.S. and Europe. Later this summer, he conducts the Spokane Symphony at the Festival at Sandpoint in Idaho.