Harvey Felder

Director of Orchestral Activities

(901) 678-2618
MU 229
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Harvey Felder, Director of Orchestral Activities


  • M.M., Master of Music, University of Michigan, 1982
  • B.M., Bachelor of Music, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1977


Harvey Felder brings to the podium a refreshing combination of talents. He is known for his deeply moving performances of the great "Classical" repertoire as well as his entertaining performances on "Pops" stages across this country.

Mr. Felder has distinguished himself as a leader among his generation of conductors. "Felder is widely regarded for his effective and quality programming and performances" (Saint Louis Star). He has been characterized as having an affable and magnetic podium demeanor which helps audiences feel immediately welcomed, comfortable, and connected to his performances.

Mr. Felder is Conductor Laureate of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra (TSO), a position he accepted after having served as its music director for twenty-years. Under Mr. Felder's leadership the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra realized artistic goals before unimagined and developed into one of the finest professional symphonies in the Northwest. Mr. Felder's artistry, professionalism, and passion helped to craft the TSO into one of the Pacific Northwest's true artistic treasures.

Mr. Felder has served as assistant conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony, Resident conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony, regular guest staff conductor with the Atlanta and Chicago Symphonies, and artistic adviser/conductor of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. Additionally, Mr. Felder has held the post of music director with the Tacoma Symphony (WA), Fox Valley Symphony (WI), Johns Hopkins Symphony (MD), and the Ann Arbor Summer Symphony (MI).

During the 1991 "Carnegie Hall at 100" celebration, Mr. Felder was invited to make his Carnegie Hall debut, conducting the American Symphony Orchestra. The success of these performances led to the beginning of an exciting and active guest conducting career. He has appeared as guest conductor with the Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Delaware, Grant Park, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Kansas City, National, New Jersey, North Carolina, Saint Louis, San Antonio, Spokane Symphonies; Dayton, Florida, Rochester, Orange County Philharmonics, as well as the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra (OH), the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, the Missouri Symphony Society, Chicago Sinfonietta, San Francisco Bay Brass, Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Costa Rica, the New Japan Philharmonic, St. Michel City Orchestra of Finland, and the Osaka Telemann Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Felder comes with a long list of engagements; but perhaps more telling, he also possesses a long list of reengagements.

Mr. Felder has held teaching positions on the faculties of Eastern Michigan University, Haverford College, Bryn Mawr College, Johns Hopkins University, West Virginia University, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Memphis where he currently serves as director of orchestral activities.

Mr. Felder's ability to communicate sophisticated musical ideas to young people, his public speaking ease, and his engaging professional demeanor have made him a valued asset to the organizations he has represented. "Audiences like his style...a reserved and dignified conductor who knows the score and what he wants to do with it" (Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel).

Mr. Felder has garnered Mayoral Proclamations, Citations of Excellence, Outstanding Citizenship Awards, all of which attest to his involvement in the community. As an advocate for arts education, Mr. Felder served on the Kennedy Center/Getty Center's Commission—a nonpartisan body organized to study the role of the arts in educational reform. He has become recognized for his forward thinking as it relates to the presentation of "Classical" music and his desire to broaden its appeal.

Mr. Felder has studied conducting with Elizabeth Green, H. Robert Reynolds, Zdenek Macal, Kurt Mazur, Gustav Meier, Seiji Ozawa, Gennady Rozdestvensky, Max Rudolf, Gunther Schuller, Michael Tilson Thomas, Otto-Werner Mueller, and David Zinman. He attended the Festival at Sandpoint, the Conductors Guild Summer Institute, and the Tanglewood Music Center. Felder holds degrees in music from The University of Wisconsin-Madison and The University of Michigan.