Edward Cumming is Director of Orchestral Activities and Associate Professor of Music at The Hartt School. For nine years, he was Music Director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, hailed for its remarkable artistic growth during his tenure. His appointment came after a two- year search process involving nearly 300 applicants from around the world.
Before coming to Hartford, Cumming was Resident Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony, where he stepped in on short notice to conduct a program of which the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote, "some conductors could not do as well even with months to prepare." As Resident Conductor of the Florida Orchestra, Cumming conducted a recording of the "Star Spangled Banner" with Whitney Houston and the Florida Orchestra for Super Bowl XXV.
Cumming has taught at colleges all over the country, including Pacific University, California State University (Fullerton), University of South Florida, The Hartt School, and Yale University. During his time in Pittsburgh, he was Music Director of the nationally acclaimed Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra, one of only five orchestras invited to the biennial National Youth Orchestra Festival. He was the founding Music Director of the Pacific Symphony Institute, and has also taught at the Orange County High School for the Arts. In Europe, Mr. Cumming has led orchestras in Spain, the Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Serbia, and Italy. He has conducted ensembles throughout the United States, in Asia, and in Israel. Last year, he made his South American debut with the Filarmónica de Bogotá. Mr. Cumming studied at Yale University, where he received a Doctorate in Music. As an undergraduate at the University of California at Berkeley, he was awarded the prestigious Eisner Prize for Creative Achievement in the Arts. In May 2010, he received an Honorary Doctorate from Trinity College.
As an orchestra leader, Mr. Cumming has distinguished himself for his remarkable ability to connect directly with listeners. At a time when many orchestras are struggling to grow their audiences, Cumming distinguishes himself for regularly attracting hundreds of people to arrive early for his pre-concert talks. In Tampa/St. Petersburg, his Champagne/Coffee concerts were wildly popular in large part due to the maestro's conversational style, inviting his audiences to listen to music in new and inventive ways.
Cumming led his forces in a performance of [Beethoven's] Ninth that will be remembered for a long time . . . in the end, it just may have been the greatest concert in the 33-year history of the Flagstaff Festival of the Arts.
Cumming led à la Stokowski: batonless, his hands carving and shaping the sounds freely and fluidly. He let the music speak for itself, and it did so eloquently. ---