Conductor Laureate
Santa Barbara Symphony
Conductor Emerita
Boston Pro-Arte Chamber Orchestra


A formidable and incandescent presence on the podium, conductor Gisèle Ben-Dor is described by the Los Angeles Times as “a star on the rise – a ferocious talent.” “Ben-Dor casts her spell,” the Boston Globe reported, “a tremendous musician, expert technician, charismatic performer.” These comments reflect the overwhelming praise Ben-Dor has garnered in her appearances as guest conductor with major orchestras and opera houses throughout the world.

Amongst her list of past successes, Ms Ben-Dor has led the New York Philharmonic, London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Helsinki Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, New World Symphony, Israel Philharmonic and the Israel Chamber Orchestra.

Highlights of recent seasons include engagements with The Rotterdam Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, Tuscan Sun Festival Orchestra in a gala concert at the Festival, Mississippi Symphony, National Orchestra of Chile, Jerusalem Symphony, NSO Taipei, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta and Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra.

As well as being renowned for her interpretations of the established classics, as a Uruguayan by birth and upbringing, she is a champion of Latin American music – notably the works of Ginastera, Revueltas, Piazzolla, and Luis Bacalov – and is widely regarded as one of the world’s finest and most dedicated exponents of this repertoire.

Amongst her major performances of the music of Ginastera, includes a new production and European premiere of his last opera, “Beatrix Cenci” at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, to unanimous critical acclaim as well as Turbae ad Passionem Gregorianam in Madrid, also a European premiere. Ms Ben-Dor has committed much of this repertoire to disc, most noticeably her recording on Warner Classics with the Santa Barbara Symphony of vocal music by Ginastera, features Placido Domingo, Ana Maria Martinez and Virginia Tola in excerpts from Ginastera’s first opera “Don Rodrigo.” Other notable recordings include the world premiere recording of the complete score of Ginastera’s ballet “Estancia” with the London Symphony Orchestra, Ginastera’s Variations Concertantes also with the London Symphony Orchestra, for Koch International and the world premiere of both versions of the Glosses on Themes of Pablo Casals.

In addition, Ms Ben-Dor has recorded the music of Silvestre Revueltas for Koch, including the world premiere of Revueltas’ final work, the ballet La Coronela with the Santa Barbara Symphony and the English Chamber Orchestra. Ms Ben-Dor has also recorded the world premiere of Villa-Lobos’ Symphony No. 10, “Amerindia,” on Koch also with the Santa Barbara Symphony and chorus, and Fanfare magazine pronounced Ms Ben-Dor as “One of the best things that has ever happened to the music of the southern hemisphere.” Her latest disc on Delos entitled The Soul of Tango with the Santa Barbara Symphony includes tango-related works by Argentine composers Piazzolla and Academy Award winner Luis Bakalov, including two world premieres and featuring Bandonean virtuoso Juanjo Mosalini. Ms Ben-Dor has multiple discs with Naxos, including new recordings of music by Ginastera (notably Ollantay and Popol Vuh) with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

Maestra Ben-Dor is currently Conductor Laureate of the Santa Barbara Symphony. In 2004, working with Georgina Ginastera, the composer’s daughter, she created the exciting and extraordinarily popular Tango and Malambo Festival a wide-ranging feast of concerts, dance, and film celebrating the urban and universally admired tango and its less familiar cousin, the more rustic Malambo.

Ms. Ben-Dor also holds the position of Conductor Emerita of the Boston Pro-Arte Chamber Orchestra, a post to which she was elected exclusively by the musicians. A winner of the Bártok Prize of Hungarian Television, Ms. Ben-Dor has toured extensively in Eastern Europe. Born and raised in Uruguay of Polish parents, she studied at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel-Aviv and the Yale School of Music before residing in the United States, where she lives with her husband and two sons. They are recent American citizens.

Apollo 13 in Concert poster





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