Conductor and Artistic Director
Anthony Spain has been Music Director of the Northwest Symphony Orchestra (NWSO) since 1987. Dr. Spain’s innovative programming of northwest American composers first came to national attention in 1996 with a mention in a front page Wall Street Journal article regarding up and coming arts groups. Since then both he, and the NWSO, have garnered Eight National ASCAP awards for “Programming of Contemporary Music,” and been featured several times on National Public Radio.
Melinda Bargreen of the Seattle Times described Dr. Spain and the Northwest Symphony Orchestra performances’ as “…strong, committed impassioned performances. Spain and the NWSO have recorded five CD’s which have been highly praised by sources including the American Record Guide “…sound is beautiful, playing excellent” and Fanfare “... first class orchestra…This is a first class production all around.”
Dr. Spain has guest conducted orchestras and choirs throughout America and in Europe. He has conducted the Orfeo International Orchestra with the choir of L’UNESCO (the cultural branch of the United Nations) in Paris, France as well as the Bath Philharmonic in Bath, England. The Bath Chronicle exclaimed of Dr. Spain “He has a type of charisma, which extends to the far orchestral corners.” He has been a guest conductor with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and a cover conductor with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Spain is also a regular guest conductor every summer at the Masterworks Festival south of Chicago, which includes some of the most gifted students from around the country, along with musicians from major orchestras including the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra and Saint Louis Symphony. Guest conducting in 2014 has included the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Honduras, and guest conducting in Hong Kong.
A noted conductor of works with orchestra with choir, Dr. Spain has conducted several choirs in the Seattle area including Cascadian Chorale, Choral Sounds Northwest, Northwest Boys choir, Northwest Girls choir, Northwest Chorale, Seattle Girls choir, Total Experience Gospel Choir and Vashon Chorales. Eugene Carlson, former reporter with the Wall Street Journal, wrote in March of 2008 “ever wonder if the director of a chorus- really makes a difference? Guest Director Anthony Spain took the (Vashon) Chorale to heights that seemed to surprise even the members of the chorus itself. The performance was terrific… a programming masterstroke.”
Dedicated to education, he works regularly with students throughout the Seattle and Highline area, as part of the NWSO’s “Symphony for Students” program. He is an active adjudicator and clinician and has been a guest speaker at conferences including the American Symphony Orchestra League’s National Convention, the Conductor’s Guild National Conference and is a regular speaker at Seattle Symphony Orchestra concerts. Spain graduated in 1990 with a Doctorate Degree in Music from the University of Washington, and has received numerous awards and honors including a Grammy nomination in vocal jazz performance. He is also an advisory board member of the Sacred Music Foundation, a board member of Ars Nova Music, and a member of the Highline Arts Advisory Council.