Renowned conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya appointed as distinguished director of orchestras and professor of conducting at Shepherd School

Miguel Harth-Bedoya
Miguel Harth-Bedoya
A conductor with an impressive international career, Miguel Harth-Bedoya brings a wealth of experience to the Rice podium.  (Photo by Michal Novak)

The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University is proud to announce the appointment of Miguel Harth-Bedoya as its distinguished resident director of orchestras and professor of conducting, concluding an exhaustive international search and marking an exciting new chapter for its esteemed orchestra programs. As the Shepherd School approaches its 50th anniversary, the Emmy award-winning and Grammy-nominated Harth-Bedoya will begin his tenure as designate during the 2024-25 academic year, gradually assuming full responsibilities in the subsequent season.

“When we welcomed Miguel Harth-Bedoya to lead our orchestras in the spring, we instantly saw his collaborative and energizing presence on the podium,” said Matthew Loden, Shepherd School dean and chair of the search committee. “His extensive experience and infectious passion for music will inspire our students to reach new heights. As the Shepherd School celebrates its 50th anniversary this upcoming year, we are thrilled to have Miguel at the orchestral helm, guiding our unique programs into the next half-century.”

A conductor with an impressive international career, Harth-Bedoya brings a wealth of experience to the Rice podium. He previously served as chief conductor of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and music director of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, where he remains music director laureate. His resume includes leadership positions with the Auckland Philharmonia, Eugene Symphony, Lima Philharmonic and the New York Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall. Harth-Bedoya will make his highly anticipated debut at The Metropolitan Opera conducting Osvaldo Golijov’s acclaimed opera “Ainadamar” this fall.

“I’m thrilled and honored to join the Shepherd School as distinguished resident director of orchestras,” Harth-Bedoya said. “Throughout my career, I’ve championed the development of the next generation of musical talent. The chance to do that at such a renowned institution is truly exciting. Together, we’ll inspire and challenge each other to excel and create unique and transformative opportunities to prepare musicians for the 21st century.”

Harth-Bedoya’s dedication to nurturing future generations of musicians is evident in his establishment of The Conducting Institute and his current role as director of orchestral studies at Baylor University. At the Shepherd School, he will assume full responsibility in the 2025-26 season, overseeing every aspect of the orchestral program. This includes selecting repertoire, conducting all ensembles — the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Contemporary Ensemble and others — and leading conducting instruction for a highly selective program.

Harth-Bedoya will maintain a busy schedule in his first year as designate director of orchestras at the Shepherd School, balancing guest conducting engagements with his time at the institution. Houston music lovers will have a chance to see Harth-Bedoya in action with the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra April 25, 2025. This spring performance is one of many that will celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary.

Harth-Bedoya succeeds the esteemed Larry Rachleff, who led the Shepherd School orchestras for more than 30 years before his passing in 2022. In the interim, the program has benefited from the leadership of a distinguished roster of guest conductors, including Robert Spano, Hans Graf, William Eddins, Lidiya Yankovskaya, Giancarlo Guerrero, Andrew Grams, alumnus Cristian Mӑcelaru and Patrick Summers.

“The Shepherd School’s appointment of Harth-Bedoya sends a clear message: Rice is not only training musicians; it is shaping the future of orchestral leadership,” said Amy Dittmar, the Howard R. Hughes Provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

The Shepherd School’s 2024-25 season will be announced this summer. Sign up to receive the full lineup via email.