The Festival Orchestra
Each year, Arizona Musicfest assembles some of the nation’s finest orchestral musicians to perform as the Festival Orchestra—the jewel in Musicfest’s crown. Under the direction of Music Director Robert Moody, the Orchestra annually performs five distinct concert programs over one week. Along with being an important destination for North America’s premiere orchestral musicians, Festival Orchestra Week has become a popular destination for classical music fans from Arizona and beyond. Guest soloists featured with the Festival Orchestra have included Joshua Bell, Midori, Andrew Von Oeyen, Gil Shaham, Denyce Graves, Olga Kern, Chris Thile, Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg, Lynn Harrell, Conrad Tao, Andrew Watts and many others. Arizona Musicfest is proud to include musicians from these distinguished institutions as part of our Festival Orchestra family:
Maestro Robert Moody
Robert Moody is in his seventeenth season as Music Director of Arizona Musicfest. During his tenure, the Festival Orchestra has become an ensemble of players from the world’s greatest orchestras. He is in his seventh season as Music Director of the Memphis Symphony. Under his artistic leadership, the Memphis Symphony has enjoyed exponential growth in programming, recording, new commissions, and endowment growth to over $25 million. He assumed the position of Principal Opera Conductor for the Lakeland Symphony Orchestra in 2022.
In 2022-23, Moody conducts the Louisiana Philharmonic, Yakima Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony, and, in Europe, the Philharmonie Baden-Baden. Last season, he debuted with the Sacramento Philharmonic and conducted a gala program with Renée Fleming and the Lakeland Symphony. Return engagements included the Pacific Symphony (Ca.), Sewanee Music Festival, and the three major orchestras of South Africa (Durban, Johannesburg, and Cape Town).
Previously, Moody has conducted many of the world’s major orchestras, among them Chicago Symphony (Ravinia); Los Angeles Philharmonic (Hollywood Bowl); the Toronto, Dallas and Houston Symphonies; Orquesta Filarmonica de Bogotá; and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra.
Moody was Music Director for both the Portland Symphony (Maine) and the Winston-Salem Symphony (N.C.), and held conducting positions with The Phoenix Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic, Santa Fe Opera, Brevard Music Center, New York City Youth Orchestra, and Landestheater Linz.
He collaborated with the Canadian Brass for their Bach and Legends albums, and was conductor for the album Fourth World, highlighting the music of Native American recording artist R. Carlos Nakai. A CD/DVD recording of the live performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony by the Arizona Musicfest Festival Orchestra was released in 2012.
Moody holds degrees from Furman University (voice and cello) and the Eastman School, where he studied under Donald Neuen. Moody and his partner, organist Jimmy Jones, live in Memphis with their two dogs and one cat.
Learn more about our amazing Festival Orchestra musicians by clicking the button below.
Click the button below to hear past Orchestra Recordings from Central Sound at EIGHT, a part of Arizona PBS. Arizona Musicfest thanks Central Sound for recording Festival concerts and producing broadcasts heard on KBAQ-FM 89.5 and on Eight-Classical, digital TV channel 8.4.