Dr. Raymond Chobaz

Dr. Raymond Chobaz, Music Director and Conductor of the University of Florida Symphony Orchestra and the Gainesville Symphony Orchestra from 1983 till 2001, began his piano studies at the age of seven with Martha von Stephanovich in his native Basel, Switzerland. At sixteen he was accepted as a private student into the studio of François Gaudard until the completion of his Bachelor of Science degree magna cum laude at the Realgymnasium in Basel. After military service in the Swiss Army, he entered the Conservatory and Schola Cantorum Basiliensis where he obtained a Master of Arts degree in music theory summa cum laude under the tutelage of distinguished professors Max Adam, Gerald Bennett, Pierre Boulez, Hans-Ulrich Lehmann, Robert Suter, August Wenzinger, Jacques Wildberger, Jürg Wyttenbach, and Heinz Zimmermann. At the University of Utah he received both a Master of Music in conducting under Joseph Rosenstock and a Doctor of Philosophy in composition under Ramiro Cortes and Vladimir Ussachevsky.

He received additional training and diplomas in conducting from Witold Rowicki in Vienna, Kyrill Kondrashin in Hilversum, studying all fifteen symphonies by Dmitri Shostakovich, Raphael Kubelik in Lucerne, Jirí Belohlávek in Zlín, Georg Tintner in Opava, Victor Feldbrill in Olomouc, and Erich Leinsdorf in New York City, who invited him to work with the New York Philharmonic in recognition of his "accomplishment and notable influence as a gifted conductor of an American orchestra and the community" in which he performs. Further instructions in contemporary music interpretation he acquired from Pierre Boulez and Arthur Weisberg in New York City.

Raymond Chobaz has received numerous awards and prizes as composer and conductor in major national and international competitions, including the Leroy Robertson Award in composition, First Prize Bicentennial Inter-Collegiate Composition Competition, First Prize Utah Composers Guild, the Migros Genossenschaftsbund Music Award in Conducting, the Paul Sacher Scholarship Award, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Award, the Herbert Blomstedt International Conducting Award for Orchestral Performance presented by Jascha Heifetz, the International Beethoven Festival Prize for his performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and the International Conducting Competition of Czech Music Award sponsored by the Czech National Opera and Radio Prague.

As Assistant, Conductor, and Music Director he has served several ensembles such as the University of Utah Symphony Orchestra and New Music Ensemble, the Utah Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Murray Symphony, the Pioneer State Theatre Orchestra, the Lake George Opera Festival Orchestra, the Utah Symphony, the Utah Arts Festival Orchestra, Columbia University Contemporary Music Group, the Juilliard School New Music Ensemble, the Ocala Festival Orchestra, and the Brevard Symphony Orchestra.

As winner of the International Symphonic Workshop Award, Raymond Chobaz was appointed Conductor-in-Residence of the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic in the Czech Republic. In this capacity he prepared the Martinu Philharmonic for its first American tour and its Carnegie Hall appearances that were praised by The New York Times as "unified" and "warm." For John Rutter, he also prepared the Martinu Philharmonic's annual European tour for performances of Haydn and Mozart Masses as well as Rutter's own Requiem and Magnificat. Many major Czech orchestras such as the West Bohemian National Orchestra, the Moravian State Philharmonic, the Janácek Philharmonic, the Hradec Králové Philharmonic, the Silesian Opera, the Beethoven and Dvorák Chamber Orchestras have invited him to guest conduct every season since. In addition to his international guest appearances in Europe, he premiered and recorded annually new orchestral compositions at the International Composers Workshop in Olomouc, Moravia, from 1995 till 2003.

International reviews have given Raymond Chobaz consistently high praise by describing him as "an outstanding artist," as a "profound musician," and as "a conductor with soul" (Morava Gazetta), as "sensitive," "spirited" and "clear" (Neue Zürcher Zeitung), his performances of Beethoven's Ninth as "phenomenal" and "magnificent" (Marianske Lazne Tribune), or Verdi's Il Trovatore as "powerful" and "superb" (Opava) In recognition of his international accomplishments, he has received grants from the International Research and Exchanges Board, the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the United States Information Agency, the US Department of State, the US Army, International Symphonic Workshops, Canada, and the Florida Department of Cultural Affairs.

A number of ballet and opera productions, television and radio broadcasts, children's and pops concerts, multi-media collaborations, interdisciplinary events with painters, poets and writers, and group efforts with other dance or ethnic ensembles have originated at the University of Florida through his personal engagement and initiative. Besides a busy teaching schedule he has organized, coordinated, rehearsed, recorded, commissioned, premiered, introduced and performed over eight hundred musical works over the past three decades for Gainesville alone.

Dr. Raymond Chobaz is president of the Max Kaempf Institute and chairman of the Tilly Keiser Arts Foundation in Switzerland as well as a regular guest conductor of several orchestras here and abroad. In 2005, he was elected to the board of the Swiss Institute for Art Research in Zurich, and appointed music advisor at Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort and Preserve in Utah. He is also an active member of CODA, College Orchestra Directors Association. In 2012, Dr. Raymond Chobaz was awarded a lifetime achievement and distinguished alumnus award by the University of Utah.