Dr. Andrew M. Kurtz
Gulf Coast Symphony founder Dr. Andrew M. Kurtz enters his twenty-six season as the Symphony’s Music & Executive Director and conductor. His deep rooted commitment to new work, community and education, combined with a vibrant artistic vision has led to creating and nurturing one of the most dynamic arts organizations in the region.
His conducting has been called “passionate, expansive, expert, and musical.”
He was named the 2007 Performing Artist of the Year at Lee County’s Angel of the Arts Awards. Kurtz’s repertoire encompasses a wide range of music styles from baroque to contemporary, and multiple genres including symphonic, opera, ballet, musical theater, jazz, cantorial, and symphonic pops.
Kurtz is also General Director of Vulcan Lyric, a professional opera and musical theater company in Philadelphia dedicated to new work, new audiences, and new artists. He has led over four dozen productions including numerous world or regional premieres. Notable productions that received international praise and recognition include the world premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (chamber version), the East Coast premiere of Daniel Catan’s Il Postino, the world premiere of Paul Morovec’s Danse Russe, and the world premiere of Michael Ching’s Slaying the Dragon.
Kurtz was the international tour conductor for CANTORS: A Faith In Song, featuring three of the world’s leading cantors, and is currently the tour conductor for the NEW YORK CANTORS. He served as the Music Director of the Florida Jewish Philharmonic Orchestra and as Producing Artistic Director of Synergy Productions, a professional musical theater company in Southwest Florida.
Kurtz is a past-president of the board of the Lee County Alliance for the Arts. An avid arts educator, Maestro Kurtz was Resident Music Director at the Luzerne Music Center. In 2001, he won First Prize in the Dell’Arte di Firenze International Conducting Competition, and made his European conducting debut in Florence. In 1995, Kurtz made his international operatic debut in Tel Aviv while working as a staff conductor at the Israel Vocal Arts Institute. In 1997, he conducted the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s educational tour production of The Best of Puccini. He was a scholarship conducting student at the prestigious Aspen Music Festival, and boasts numerous other conducting credits, including the Pennsylvania Opera Theater, the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Charlotte Symphony, Gonzaga Symphony, and the Ocean City Pops.
Kurtz completed his doctoral studies in conducting at the Peabody Conservatory and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Virginia where he received his master’s degree in music history and a bachelor of arts in music and drama. A native of Philadelphia, Kurtz has called Southwest Florida home for more than 25 years, where he currently resides with his wife, Julie, and their son, Benjamin.