Peter Jaffe has served as the Stockton Symphony’s dynamic music director since 1995, combining a passion for outreach and education with top-notch musicianship, and fostering sustained artistic growth throughout his tenure. Organizations ranging from the Association of California Symphony Orchestras to the Brubeck Institute and Goodwill Industries have honored Mr. Jaffe with prestigious awards for his innovations in educational programming and for his distinguished cultural contributions throughout the county. His engaging and informative preconcert discussions include his own renditions of symphonic examples at the piano, and he frequently advocates for the Symphony and orchestral music in radio broadcasts, television appearances, and web videos. He is also the host of the local radio program Symphony Mix, promoting orchestral events and broadcasting entertaining and educational programs about symphonic repertoire.
With a zeal for introducing new vital repertoire along with established masterworks, Mr. Jaffe has spearheaded the commissions of many world premieres. Avner Dorman’s Uzu and Muzu from Kakaruzu earned the Stockton Symphony national recognition for community engagement activities dealing with crucial social issues. A portion of the Stockton Symphony CD of Chris Brubeck’s Mark Twain’s World was broadcast nationally on NPR’s Performance Today, and Ansel Adams: America, co-composed by Dave and Chris Brubeck, has since been performed nationally and abroad.
Mr. Jaffe also conducts the Auburn and Folsom Lake Symphonies and Stockton Opera, and has appeared as guest conductor with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Silicon Valley, and many other orchestras and music festivals across the country. He teaches every summer at the Conductor’s Institute of South Carolina. He conducted and taught at the Aspen Music Festival for fourteen years, and he spent three seasons conducting at the Oberlin Conservatory and two as a visiting professor at Stanford University.
Many of Mr. Jaffe’s own arrangements have been commissioned by and performed with orchestras in Aspen, Chicago, Long Beach, and Stockton, including his Symphonic Birthday and his transcription of Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos for Jan DeGaetani, which was also performed by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. A CD of his lullaby arrangements was released on the Chandos label, featuring mezzo-soprano Nadia Pelle with Yuli Turovsky directing I Musici de Montréal.
Mr. Jaffe appeared on NBC’s First Camera in a show devoted to Tanglewood, where he was coached by Seiji Ozawa, Gunther Schuller, Gustav Meier, and Leonard Bernstein—a brief segment was later included in the American Masters special honoring Bernstein. Mr. Jaffe also studied conducting with Andor Toth, Paul Vermel, Charles Bruck, and Herbert Blomstedt. His instrumental background includes extensive performing on the violin, viola, and keyboard, and he often conducts from the harpsichord when performing Baroque or early Classic repertoire.
Keith Sutter photo