Reuben Blundell has been a Chelsea Symphony conductor/violinist since 2012, enjoying collaborations with musicians, soloists, composers and other conductors. Conducting Aaron Dai’s The Night Before Christmas, first with B. D. Wong then Annie Golden narrating, he initiated, conducted and edited (in Premiere Pro) the orchestra’s 2020 remote performance, narrated by John Lithgow.
Blundell is Music Director of the Riverside Orchestra on the Upper West Side, rehearsing Mondays and performing five concerts each season. He also directs another outstanding community orchestra, the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra, in suburban Philadelphia. In 2018, Blundell joined CAMI Music’s Lord of the Rings in Concert as an assistant conductor, with recent or upcoming productions in Brazil, Canada and Spain.
Blundell’s violin teachers included Melbourne Symphony (and retired London Philharmonic) concertmaster Carl Pini, and two David Oistakh students, Mark Mogilevsky, then Alice Waten in Sydney. He attended the Victorian College of the Arts (from age 11) and the Australian Institute of Music, taking baroque violin lessons with Australian Brandenburg Orchestra concertmaster Lucinda Moon. A regular violin substitute with orchestras in Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, he played viola for the Australian Opera. His violin is a gift from the Melbourne Symphony, with whom he soloed during high school. He began conducting aged 14, and studied with Robert Rosen and, through Symphony Australia’s Conductor Development program, Jorma Panula and Christopher Seaman, conducting several of Australia’s leading orchestras.
Between his two Tanglewood violin fellowship summers, he joined the New World Symphony in Miami Beach. There, he was a concertmaster for Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas, Oliver Knussen, Sir Neville Marriner and others, and conducted the Young Musician’s Orchestra in Coral Gables. He also met his wife, oboist Karen Birch Blundell: they have a daughter and proudly live in upstate Manhattan.
Following studies with Michael Jinbo at the Monteux School in Maine, Blundell received a Hanson scholarship to Eastman’s doctoral program, with Neil Varon (conducting major) and Zvi Zeitlin (violin minor). This led to tenure-track university positions at Millersville and Hunter, building up orchestras (and departments) at both institutions.
Now at Trinity School (NYC), Blundell leads performances there and beyond. Recent/ upcoming tours include Washington DC, Boston, France, and central Europe. A devoted educator, Blundell also taught in Lebanon and Iraq for State Department programs.
Blundell’s research at Philadelphia’s Fleisher Collection has led to four CDs, with the Lansdowne Symphony and Gowanus Arts Ensemble, which he conducted and produced. Released on New Focus Recordings and distributed by Naxos, they feature world-premiere recordings of American composers’ work. Receiving glowing reviews from Gramophone and many others, they are widely and regularly played by radio stations. American Discoveries (2021) features female composers, and future projects are in production.
Blundell became a published editor in 2021, with a critical performing edition of Joseph Bologne de Saint-George’s symphonies. Collaborating with series editor Dr. Allan Badley, it was published by Artaria, and has been performed by an expanding list of orchestras worldwide.