Joseph Swensen currently holds the post of Principal Guest Conductor & Artistic Adviser with the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris. He has also served as Principal Conductor of Malmö Opera since 2007 and is Conductor Emeritus with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Productions at Malmö Opera have included La Bohème, Macbeth, La Fanciulla del West, Salomé, La Traviata, Vanessa and Carmelites and Swensen has recently made a set of recordings with the Malmö Opera Orchestra, including a number of his own orchestrations of works by Schumann and Brahms. He will also embark upon a recording cycle with the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris.
Joseph Swensen was principal conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra from 1996-2005 and has toured extensively with the SCO in the US, Far East, Spain and Portugal.
Swensen has a number of regular guest conducting commitments including the London Mozart Players, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta de la Ciudad de Granada and Orquestra Nacional do Porto.
Before deciding to dedicate himself solely to his conducting career, Swensen enjoyed a highly successful career as a violin soloist and was an exclusive recording artist with BMG. Nowadays his occasional appearances as soloist are a natural extension of his work as a conductor, playing and directing concerti with the SCO and other orchestras with whom he enjoys a particularly close relationship. His love of chamber music results in occasional performances in that genre as well. Swensen is also active as a composer. Works include Mantram (1998) for string orchestra, Latif (1999) for solo cello with chamber ensemble, and Shizue (2001) for solo shakuhachi and orchestra and the recently premiered Sinfonia- Concertante for Horn and Orchestra (The Fire and the Rose) (2008). Swensen’s orchestration of the rarely performed 1854 version of Brahms’ Trio Op. 8, a work he has entitled Sinfonia in B, has been performed by orchestras in Europe and the US since its premiere in 2007, and will soon be released on the Signum label.
Joseph Swensen is also a passionate and dedicated teacher. He teaches regularly at Danish Strings (a summer school located in Vejle, Denmark), at various chamber music festivals in the USA, and is often invited as a guest professor at music conservatories worldwide. He is also a Founder and Director of the Utopia Hills Arts Center in Maine, USA. U-HAC is a unique combination of school for the arts, retreat centre, arts festival and artists colony. It is currently in its early stages of development (www.u-hac.com).