Daniel Stewart is the Music Director of the Santa Cruz Symphony, and joins the San Francisco Symphony as Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra (SFSYO) in the 2019-20 season. Hailed by The Boston Musical Intelligencer as “A fascinatingly vibrant conductor”, Daniel Stewart's first five seasons as Music Director in Santa Cruz have led to unprecedented acclaim, including the Peninsula Reviews' assertion that "the Santa Cruz Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Stewart has now developed into the finest musical ensemble South of San Francisco and North of Los Angeles."
The recipient of the 2010 Aspen Music Festival's James Conlon Conducting Prize, Stewart has conducted orchestras including the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, Saint-Louis Symphony, Hessischer Rundfunk Orchester, Frankfurt Opern Orchestra, and the Boston Ballet.
In 2012, the Metropolitan Opera appointed Stewart as the first conductor of their Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. In 2013, he made his acclaimed Lincoln Center debut in a Metropolitan Opera produced concert of comic operas by Stravinsky, Mozart, Donizetti and Berlioz. During his tenure with the Metropolitan Opera, he studied with then Music Director James Levine, coached singers, and conducted the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and soloists in a comprehensive range of the operatic repertoire, including scenes from Norma, Cellini, Carmen, Lucia, Elisir, Pasquale, Pagliacci, Idomeneo, Entführung, Nozze, Zauberflöte, Barbiere, Italiana, Ariadne, Rake’s Progress, Boccanegra, Traviata, Otello, Falstaff, Holländer, Tannhäuser, Meistersinger, Tristan, Rheingold, Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdammerung.
Renowned for his interpretive depth and innovative programming, Stewart’s work with the Santa Cruz Symphony has earned a reputation for frequent collaborations with world class soloists such as Yuja Wang, whose most recent appearances with the orchestra were were noted by the San Francisco Classical Voice as “Nothing short of miraculous. The sheer excitement of witnessing such extraordinary music making was an experience to be remembered.”. During his tenure as music director, he has featured over 20 principal singers from the Metropolitan Opera, established a thriving chamber music series, increased subscriptions, and expanded educational outreach programs.
Stewart has worked closely with contemporary composers such as the late Karlheinz Stockhausen, Esa-Pekka Salonen, HK Gruber, John Adams, and particularly Thomas Adès, whom he assisted in preparing the Los Angeles Philharmonic's "Aspects of Adès" festival in 2011. An avid composer himself, Daniel Stewart's compositions have been performed at venues including the Aspen Music Festival, Tribeca New Music Festival, and Verbier Festival.
Stewart is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied conducting with Otto-Werner Mueller, with additional studies with Sir Simon Rattle, Christoph Eschenbach, and Alan Gilbert. Stewart has also concertized frequently as a viola soloist, and served as principal violist of numerous ensembles, including the New World Symphony (while also studying conducting with Michael Tilson Thomas), Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, and for six years with the Verbier Festival and Chamber Orchestras. He has performed as a violist with the San Francisco Symphony, recorded for EMI with Maxim Vengerov, and toured extensively in over 40 countries.