Conductor Gary Thor Wedow has established an enviable reputation for dramatically exciting and historically informed performances with opera companies, orchestras, festivals, and choral organizations throughout North America. Opera News has hailed him for his “hot music making” and “convincingly elegant period style.” His debut with the New York Philharmonic conducting Messiah was noted in the New York Times for ‘a fleet, lithe orchestral performance, aptly complemented by the buoyant singing of the chorus.’

Maestro Wedow’s 2019-2020 season begins with returns to Opera Philadelphia for Semele and Seattle Opera for La cenerentola, and then makes his house debut with Opera Omaha conducting The Abduction from the Seraglio.  He also returns to Utah Opera for Il barbiere di Siviglia and Boston Lyric Opera for Giulio Cesare. In the summer of 2020 he joins Des Moines Metro Opera for Rameau’s Platée.

The Maestro’s busy 2018-2019 season included a return engagement with Pittsburgh Opera for Don Pasquale, as well as La Calisto at The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and Giulio Cesare for the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, the latter for the American Handel Society’s Festival and Conference

His 2017-2018 season was notable for debuts with the Nashville Symphony for Messiah, Lembit Beecher’s War Stories for Opera Philadelphia and L’incoronazione di Poppea starring Anthony Roth Costanzo for Cincinnati Opera.  He was also in Madison for a concert appearance with Madison Opera, the Manhattan School of Music conducting La CenerentolaLucia di Lammermoor for The Jacobs School of Music and Die Fledermaus for Utah Opera.

Recent appearances include his debuts with San Diego Opera conducting Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Orphée for Des Moines Metro OperaLucia di Lammermoor for Utah OperaThe Magic Flute for Madison Opera and a special collaboration between The Juilliard School and the Westminster Choir College of Mozart’s Requiem at Alice Tully Hall. Handel’s Messiah is frequently on his schedule with return engagements at Portland Baroque, the Santa Fe Symphony and a special performance at St. Thomas Church that the New York Times called “a war horse of a different, brighter color, with mighty crescendos and exquisite pianissimos, and guilty pleasures.”

A favorite with Seattle Opera audiences, Wedow has also been a frequent guest of Florida Grand Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Arizona Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Portland Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Berkshire Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Opera Saratoga, and the Amherst Early Music Festival, among others. He was for many years associated with New York City Opera, leading the New York premiere of Telemann’s Orpheus, the groundbreaking Christopher Alden productions of Don Giovanni and Stephen Wadsworth’s Xerxes.

Choral masterpieces and symphonic repertoire have taken him to the podiums of the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, The Alabama Symphony, Edmonton Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Berkshire Choral International in Massachusetts, New Mexico, California and in Salzburg, and Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society where he was, for many years, Associate Conductor.

Born in LaPorte, Indiana and now a resident of New York City, he has been a member of the Juilliard School faculty since 1994 where he has led performances of L’incoronazione di Poppea, La finta giardinieraAriodante and Don Giovanni. Of particular note was the tour of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Juilliard 415 Historical Performance Ensemble that culminated at Alice Tully Hall ‘in a performance that caught fire and magic’ according to the New York Times. His continued championship of young musicians and singers is further exemplified by projects at The Teatro Colón, Wolf Trap Opera, the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program and the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. A musical scholar as well as conductor, he has prepared several performing editions of baroque works in collaboration with gambist Lawrence Lipnik. Mr. Wedow studied piano with virtuoso Jorge Bolet at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University and received his Master of Music degree at the New England Conservatory.

The Coronation of Poppea – Cincinnati Opera

“[Director Zack] Winokur, conductor Gary Thor Wedow and dramaturge Cori Ellison created a concise performing edition … Wedow’s conducting was flexible, allowing the music time to expand or moving it forward with the drama.”

Joe Law, Opera News

“Under the leadership of Gary Thor Wedow, members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Early Music ensemble Catacoustic Consort provided a full, enchanting realization of Monteverdi’s music.”

Anne Arenstein, CityBeat

Die Fledermaus – Utah Opera

“Wedow led the Utah Symphony with unerring pacing and balance.”

Catherine Reese Newton, The Salt Lake Tribune

War Stories – Opera Philadelphia

…the vocal effort was heightened and well partnered by a tight ensemble of period instrumentalists under the smooth direction of Gary Thor Wedow … Maestro Wedow once again provided a luminous reading, ripe with heart and hurt.”

James Sohre, Opera Today

The music sounds remarkable in the space, and the cloister only magnifies the precise and thrilling playing of the stellar ensemble, led by Gary Thor Wedow from the harpsichord. The presentation of such an early opera is an exciting opportunity to reveal the dramatic possibilities of this canon of works.”

Erik Flaten, Schmopera

La Cenerentola – San Diego Opera

“There’s one fairy tale I’d love to experience, but alas, they rarely come true in real life. Such was the case Saturday evening when San Diego Opera opened its season with Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” (billed as “Cinderella”). Its cast was strong overall, and under Gary Thor Wedow’s baton, the orchestra cheerfully sparkled with the best performance of this score in the company’s history.”

Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune

“Guest conductor Gary Thor Wedow drew crisp, stylish support from the orchestra. The brass sections proved unusually agile in dense sections that revealed how inventive Rossini’s orchestration could be— especially since he finished the entire opera in a mere three weeks.”

Ken Herman, San Diego Story

Orphee – Des Moines Metro Opera

In the pit, Maestro Gary Thor Wedow infused the musical reading with passion and immediacy. Performances of this genre can sometimes become precious, reverential, or worse, irrelevant. But Mr. Wedow encouraged a rendition full of buoyant freshness and dramatic vitality. His instrumentalists responded with equal doses of plangency and panache.”

James Sohre, Opera Today

Le nozze di Figaro – Utah Opera

Conducting without a baton, Wedow led the Utah Symphony — fresh off its triumphant appearance in Carnegie Hall — in a magnificent performance of Mozart’s glorious score. Whether nimbly illuminating the comedic hijinks or tenderly comforting Heaston in her gorgeous performance of the aria “Dove sono,” the orchestra was always on point.”

Catherine Reese Newton, Salt Lake Tribune

Le nozze di Figaro – Seattle Opera

Another big plus came from Gary Thor Wedow’s alert, vividly shaped conducting. From the Overture he set a tone for sprightly, flexible tempi that were vividly in sync with Lang’s stage sensibility. Wedow allowed us to revel in the variety of Mozart’s score, from lightning flashes of wit to Sturm und Drang fulminations.”

Thomas May, Bachtrack

“Conductor Gary Thor Wedow, whose previous work at Seattle Opera has always been both energetic and stylish, returned to deliver a well-paced, brilliantly played show.”

Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times

Semele – Seattle Opera

First, you start with a world-class conductor. Gary Thor Wedow, a Seattle Opera favorite, fills that bill nicely…. Against the beautiful backgrounds, and with Wedow’s impassioned and adroitly paced conducting, the principal and supporting singers had every opportunity to shine.”

Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times

Don Giovanni – Seattle Opera

Conductor Gary Thor Wedow, presiding at the fortepiano (to excellent advantage during dialogue/recitative passages), was both stylish and perfectly attuned to his singers.”

Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times

Abduction from the Seraglio – Utah Opera

Gary Thor Wedow leads the Utah Symphony in a light, crisp and nicely nuanced outing. (In a lovely gesture, Wedow had the orchestra take a bow at the end of Saturday’s performance, to hearty applause from the Capitol Theatre crowd.)”

Catherine Reese Newton, Salt Lake Tribune

St. Matthew’s Passion – Juiliard415

…if you wanted to cite a single major performance to illustrate (virtually throughout its considerable length) the lofty level New York early-musickers — even the students among them — can now achieve, you could hardly find a better example than the Juilliard School presentation of Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” at Alice Tully Hall on Monday evening. Gary Thor Wedow conducted Juilliard415, the orchestra representing the school’s historical performance program. Mr. Wedow showed total command of the work and paced the performance judiciously in a performance that caught fire and magic.”

James Oestrich, New York Times

Messiah – Seattle Symphony

Messiah rings out with Gary Thor Wedow at the helm. This year’s Seattle Symphony ‘Messiah’ production is a first: a performance that has a strongly operatic underpinning, yet some of the most unified and convincing baroque-style bowing the Seattle Symphony strings have ever mustered. …an evident master of the ‘Messiah’ score, put a persuasive and powerful stamp on the Handel classic. Wedow conducted the recitatives and arias mostly from the harpsichord, where he is a master stylist in achieving just the right fluid interconnections.”

Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times

Il Viaggio a Reims – Wolf Trap Opera

The orchestra percolated steadily, conducted by conductor Gary Thor Wedow, whose abundant rhythmic snap and lyrical sensitivity put the finishing touch on an exhilarating production.”

Tim Smith, Opera News

La voix humaine / Suor Angelica – Seattle Opera

Conductor Gary Thor Wedow does a great job with the responsive orchestra, not only in the spiky, fastmoving Poulenc score but also in the lush sonorities of Puccini’s Suor Angelica.”

Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times

Gary Thor Wedow led a convincingly paced and sumptuously played account of the two composers’ widely differing scores.”

Bernard Jacobson, Seen and Heard International

“Conductor Gary Thor Wedow does a fine job of shaping the flow and keeping the expressive and tonal music from overwhelming the singer.”

Philippa Kiraly, CityArts

Messiah – New York Philharmonic

Gary Thor Wedow, making his debut with the Philharmonic on Tuesday evening at Avery Fisher Hall, brought substantial experience leading historically informed performances to this excellent “Messiah.” …. From the crisp, energetic overture, Mr. Wedow led a fleet, lithe orchestral performance, aptly complemented by the buoyant singing of the chorus.”

Vivien Schweitzer, New York Times

“…buoyant, propulsive tempos, neat contrasts and nice clangy textures with a reduced orchestra. He coaxed remarkably nimble, ultimately forceful contributions from the New York Choral Artists. He encouraged his soloists, and chorus too, to execute elaborate linear embellishments that made dramatic as well as ornamental sense. …He enforced contrapuntal discourse without distortion, and turned lavish cadenzas into climactic explorations.”

Martin Bernheimer, Financial Times

Rinaldo – Portland Baroque Orchestra

Rinaldo is a grand entertainment…First and foremost, the company has put Portland Baroque Orchestra in the pit, and under the brisk direction of Gary Thor Wedow, who has extensive experience in early opera, Handel’s music was vivid and buoyant.”

Brent Wojahn, Oregon Live

“Wedow’s leadership was impressive and intelligent throughout the evening, allowing a deliberately small-scale performance to fill a vast hall comfortably.”

F. Paul Driscoll, Opera News

Orpheus – New York City Opera

The talented Baroque specialist Gary Thor Wedow presided over a nineteen-piece orchestra that sounded both warm and crisp in the somewhat dry acoustic, and continuo players (who included Wedow on the harpsichord-like virginals) had constant contact with the stage. Wedow’s tempos and sense of style were perfect.

Judith Malafronte, Opera News

Don Giovanni – Juilliard Opera

“Gary Thor Wedow conducted the Juilliard Orchestra in a polished and vibrant reading of the score.”

Vivien Schweitzer, New York Times

“The conductor Gary Thor Wedow meets the challenge of Mozart’s jocular drama with orchestral colors that are sometimes dark, sometimes laughing, and ultimately transcendent.”

The New Yorker

Don Giovanni – New York City Opera

Gary Thor Wedow’s conducting was superlative. Under his baton the orchestra sounded crisp and precise. I especially appreciated Maestro Wedow’s effort to show that Mozart was after all a son of his own time, and his operas were subjected to the same performance practices of the period. Thus, the conductor allowed the use of appoggiaturas and tasteful variations in the da capos of the arias.”

Brief Encounter, Ercole Farnese

The Magic Flute – Seattle Opera

Wedow’s early-music-style of conducting swept the cobwebs from the score right from the beginning of the overture. Unexpected accents and rather spare textures exposed hidden vitality and enlivened the sometimes ponderous moments that arose from too many years of German Romanticism applied by conductors of old. Brisk tempi never seemed rushed, and orchestral balances opened up the sound and never came close to swamping the singers. Especially exciting were the choral moments of the second half.”

Rod Parke, Seattle Gay News

“(Chris) Alexander sensibly left the curtain down almost throughout the overture, of which Wedow led one of the best performances I can remember.”

Bernard Jacobson, Seen and Heard International

Return of Ulysses – Wolf Trap Opera

This was hot music-making, aided every step of the way by conductor Gary Thor Wedow, who maintained a telling pulse even as he allowed for exquisite, unhurried molding of the most lyrical passages.”

Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun

Giulio Cesare – Florida Grand Opera

The musical performance was buoyed by conductor Gary Thor Wedow. Wedow’s mastery of the score was evident everywhere; his unflappable presence was the rock on which this Cesare was built; with convincingly elegant period style playing from the Florida Grand Orchestra.”

Robert Carreras, Opera News

Basically Baroque Concert Series – Seattle Symphony

Sometimes conductors can get so wound up in the details of authentic baroque performance practice that they forget to make sure the audience is having a good time. That’s why a conductor like Gary Thor Wedow is a breath of fresh air on the Seattle Symphony’s ‘Basically Baroque’ series. Wedow certainly doesn’t neglect the baroque conventions; but he also let the spirit of the music shine through, especially in the evening’s finale, Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Suite from “Dardanus”.

Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times

Rinaldo – Berkshire Opera

The opera was delightfully played by a first-rate chamber orchestra under the direction of Gary Thor Wedow. Years in opera houses have taught him how to make this music theatrical – and how to accommodate singers while challenging them. His work was knowledgeable, vital and full of the smell of candlelight and greasepaint.”

Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe

Iphigenia in Tauris – Seattle Opera

Fortunately, this production has a charmed cast of brilliant singing actors; a beautifully sensitive orchestra under the direction of Gary Thor Wedow; and emotionally intelligent staging by Stephen Wadsworth….The tumultuous ovation that greeted the final curtain made the listeners’ thumbs-up very clear.”

Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times

“…with intelligence and passion and expansiveness, led by Gary Thor Wedow in the pit…Wedow was on such sure ground he was able to keep a foothold in the subtle shiftings of Gluck’s complex score. The orchestra possessed textural clarity, welcome impetus and a handsome sound.”

R.M. Campbell, Seattle Post Intelligencer

Giulio Cesare – Canadian Opera Company

…beguilingly moulded instrumentally by a ten-player ensemble conducted by Gary Thor Wedow.”

Urjo Kareda, The Globe and Mail

“Under Gary Thor Wedow’s expert direction…convincingly assimilated the proper style of baroque singing.”

Tamara Bernstein, National Post