The American conductor, Joel Revzen, studied at the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University (1965-1967). From 1967 to 1970 he studied at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City, where he obtained his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in Conducting and was awarded threre Frank Damrosch Prize in Conducting in 1969.
Joel Revzen is an award-winning conductor who leads symphony and opera performances throughout North America and Europe. In the world of opera, he served 14 years (1991-2005) as Artistic Director/Conductor of the Berkshire Opera. Highlights included commissioning and leading the world premiere of Steve Paulus’ opera Summer (based on the Edith Wharton novella), serving as conductor for the critically acclaimed recording of Menotti’s The Consul, and leading concert performances of Carmen with Denyce Graves at Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood. He was appointed in 2003 as Artistic Director (2003-2009)/Principal Conductor (2009-2013) of the Arizona Opera, leading three productions each season for the company. During his tenure he has led 30 opera productions with over 150 performances of a vast variety of operatic repertoire that has featured such renowned artists as Stephanie Blythe, Dolora Zajick, Christine Brewer, Greer Grimsley, Nancy Gustafson, and Gordon Hawkins. Since 2013 he is Conductor Laureate of the Arizona Opera.
Joel Revzen has conducted opera productions with the National Theatre of Mannheim (Germany), the Washington Opera (Kennedy Center), Theatre Erfurt, (Germany), Norwegian Opera (Oslo), Minnesota Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, and the Orlando Philharmonic, among others. At the invitation of Maestro Valery Gergiev, he conducted performances of Berlioz’ La Damnation du Faust, Romeo et Juliette, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Rossini’s Il Barbieri di Siviglia, and most recently, a program of the music of Leonard Bernstein at the prestigious Mariinsky Theater for the White Nights Festival (St. Petersburg, Russia). In addition, Revzen was invited to join the conducting staff of the Metropolitan Opera in 1999 where he remained involved for eight seasons, helping to prepare wide-ranging repertoire including Prokofiev’s War and Peace, Dvorak’s Rusalka, and Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier.
In the Symphonic world, Joel Revzen served as Assistant Conductor of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra from 1984 to 1989 by appointment of Conductor/Violinist Pinchas Zuckerman, and was a faculty member of the Aspen Music Festival from 1982 to 1991. As Guest Conductor, he has appeared with the Prague Symphony, Prague Chamber Orchestra, Janacek Philharmonic, Orchestra National de Lyon, Orchestra Capital de Toulouse, Philharmonique de Radio France (leading the world premiere of Barbara Kolb’s Voyants), National Symphony Orchestra, Kennedy Center Chamber Players, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Florida Philharmonic, National Arts Center Orchestra (Canada), and the Chamber Orchestra of San Remo (Italy), among others.
In 2011, Joel Revzen was appointed Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Lake Tahoe SummerFest, which had its inaugural season in August of 2012 in the pristine setting of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The festival presented symphonic and chamber music concerts with musicians from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and featured internationally acclaimed soloists Jaime Laredo, Joseph Kalichstein, Sharon Robinson and Kate Lindsey. In 2013, soloists will include Frederica von Stade, Jennifer Koh, Benjamin Hochman and Chris Brubeck.
In 2008-2009 season, Joel Revzen conducted the Met's productions of Die Zauberflöte, La Traviata, Macbeth, Le Nozze di Figaro, Susannah, Carmen, Semele, Der Fliegende Holländer, Così Fan Tutte, The Consul, The Mikado and Don Giovanni. In January/February 2009, he made his debut with Florida Grand Opera in Rossini’s La Cenerentola to critical acclaim. “Major kudos to conductor Joel Revzen...a veteran Met hand and artistic director of Arizona Opera, showed himself an inspired and stylish Rossinian, pacing the two long acts masterfully with cleanly pointed rhythms and neat articulation throughout from the FGO orchestra,” said The Miami Herald. Completing the season, he traveled back to Arizona Opera to conduct Tosca, and his debut at the San Remo Festival in Italy, conducting an orchestral concert. In the summer 2009, he conducts twin engagements of The Consul at Northwestern University and at the Chautauqua Opera, and in the 2009-2010 season, he also conducted Rigoletto in his Nashville Opera, and Salome, La Bohème and Il Barbiere di Siviglia in Arizona.
In 2011-2012 Joel Revzen led a production of Carmen for Theatre Erfurt in Germany, and made his conducting debut with the Russian National Orchestra at the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. In addition he led productions of Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci, Faust, and Orfeo ed Euridice for Arizona Opera, Rigoletto with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, and made his debut leading a program of Verdi, Gustav Mahler and Felix Mendelssohn with the Phoenix Symphony. The 2013-2014 season includes Arizona Opera productions of Tosca, Il Trovatore, Le Nozze di Figaro, and La Boheme. In addition, he will return for the 3rd consecutive season with the Orlando Philharmonic to lead a production of Il Barbieri di Siviglia as well as a symphonic program of F. Mendelssohn, Dmitri Shostakovich and Johannes Brahms with violin soloist Cio Lang Lin.
From 1974 to 1984, Joel Revzen served as Dean of the St. Louis Conservatory of Music, where he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate. Among his other distinctions are: winner of the Berkshire Opera’s Silver Rose Award, and recipient of the Florida Grand Opera’s 2008-2009 Henry C. Clark Conductor Award.
Joel Revzen's discography (1987-2000) includes two releases with the London Symphony Orchestra ("Music of Libby Larsen", and "Bach to Brubeck"), as well as critically acclaimed versions of Haydn’s Die Schöpfung and Die Jahreszeiten with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Grammy-award winning "The Art of Arleen Augér" on which he was both pianist and conductor. Other recordings include F. Mendelssohn's Double Concerto with the Moscow Symphony, an all Libby Larsen recording with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and soprano Benita Valente, and a recording of Menotti"s The Consul with the Berkshire Opera.