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Kenneth Schermerhorn


A native of Schenectady, New York, Kenneth Schermerhorn was a trumpet player before beginning his conducting career with the United States 7th Army Symphony.

From 1963 until 1965, Kenneth Schermerhorn presided over the New Jersey Symphony as music director. Previously, following studies with Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood, he served as assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic for the 1959–60 season.

Music director of the Milwaukee Symphony from 1968 until 1980, Schermerhorn was credited for its development into one of America’s major orchestras. Highlights of his tenure with the Milwaukee Symphony included eight national tours as well as leading the orchestra in its Carnegie Hall début and at five return engagements.

During his time as music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic he was credited with dramatically developing and enhancing the orchestra, shaping it into something substantial, as he did in Milwaukee. By the time Schermerhorn left Hong Kong, the orchestra was held by most critical observers to be Asia’s finest classical ensemble.

Schermerhorn led the gala celebration of the Metropolitan Opera’s Centennial in 1983, which was broadcast worldwide on PBS. He also conducted the opera companies of San Francisco, San Diego, Edmonton, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, Milwaukee (Florentine) and Nashville.

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