About the ECO

  • Erie Chamber Orchestra Logo
  • Our Mission

    Season Opening 2To ensure that everyone has access to classical music, regardless of their age, income, education or cultural background.  To that end, all concerts will be presented in venues accessible to all free of charge.  

    Music Director, Matthew Kraemer

    Matt Tux 1 Recognized for his “musical sensitivity” and “energized sense of interpretation”, conductor Matthew Kraemer is quickly gaining notice for his inspired performances and versatility. Herman Trotter of the Buffalo News recently wrote, “He presents a tall, dignified and stately podium presence with a quite clear beat, a good sense of shaping melodic lines, and an all business attitude that focused on the music without any histrionics.” Appointed Music Director of the Butler County Symphony Orchestra and the Erie Chamber Orchestra in 2012, he has reinvigorated both ensembles with innovative programming and elevated artistic standards. He continues to hold the Montante Family Endowed Associate Conductor's Chair with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, where he appears on each of the BPO’s major series, including subscription weeks, Pops, Family, and summer concerts. He plays a vital role in designing and conducting the orchestra’s award-winning education and community engagement programs, as well as assisting Music Director JoAnn Falletta during recording sessions and on tour. Upcoming season highlights include performances pipa virtuoso Wu Man, violinists David Kim and Elmar Oliveira, trumpeter Chris Botti, and trombonist Jeremy Wilson. Future guest conducting engagements include appearances with the Elgin Symphony, Jackson Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, and Symphoria.

Recipient of the distinguished Herbert von Karajan Conducting Fellowship and the Bruno Walter Career Development Grant, Mr. Kraemer served a residency with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Music Festival during the summer of 2006. His numerous guest conducting engagements have included appearances with many of the nation's finest orchestras, including the the Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Columbus, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Nashville, North Carolina, Saint Louis, Syracuse, and Virginia symphony orchestras, as well as Canada's Mississauga Symphony and Hamilton Philharmonic. He has appeared in Europe with the Vidin Philharmonic and the Orquesta de Cadaqués. Equally at home in the ballet pit, he has led fully-staged performances with Virginia Ballet Theatre, Ohio Ballet, First Coast Nutcracker, Neglia Ballet Artists, and Todd Rosenlieb Dance. Mr. Kraemer has served as conductor for Broadway superstar Idina Menzel’s numerous engagements nationwide and he has also collaborated with many other leading artists, including Awadagin Pratt, Richard Stolzman, Philippe Quint, Jennifer Koh, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Bela Fleck, Mark O'Connor, Ben Folds, Chris Botti, the Indigo Girls, Natalie Merchant and Wynonna Judd, among many others. He recently conducted the BPO to considerable acclaim when internationally renowned superstar Lang Lang performed Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto at Kleinhans Music Hall. Mr. Kraemer is a passionate advocate for new music and has performed the works of many living composers during his career. He has led composer readings and workshops with several orchestras in the United States and has led the BPO’s Earshot partnership with the American Composers Orchestra’s in Buffalo in recent seasons. Increasingly recognized for his committed advocacy of music education and his devotion to young audiences, he has created numerous arts education programs and has taught at several music festivals both in the United States and abroad. The Buffalo Philharmonic's extensive education concerts have grown exponentially under his leadership, expanding to reach approximately 40,000 students annually throughout western New York. Prior to his appointment in Buffalo, Mr. Kraemer completed a highly successful, three-year tenure as associate conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra where he led the orchestra in over 200 performances. An Indiana native, Mr. Kraemer studied conducting in Vienna, Austria with Salvador Mas Conde and was twice a fellowship conductor at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen. He has additionally participated in the National Arts Center Conductor’s Program in Ottawa, Canada. His conducting teachers include David Zinman, Robert Spano, Stanley DeRusha, and Jorma Panula. Mr. Kraemer is a graduate of Butler University and the University of Nevada, where he assisted former Cincinnati Symphony concertmaster Phillip Ruder. An accomplished violinist in his own right, he was a member of the Nightingale String Quartet. Fluent in German and French, his principal violin teachers include Phillip Ruder, Herbert Greenberg, and Larry Shapiro. When he is not performing, Mr. Kraemer enjoys cooking, running, and reading. He and his wife Megan reside in Buffalo with their son Gabriel.

    Music Director Emeritus/ Founder, Bruce Morton Wrightbruce 1 

    Mr. Wright was an Instructor of Fine Arts and the Music Director at Gannon University until July 2011 when he passed away. He was the Director/ Conductor of the Erie Chamber Orchestra, the successor to the Erie Bayfront Orchestra which he founded in 1978, and the Director/ Conductor of the Erie Opera Theatre, which he founded in 1983.

    Mr. Wright was tremendously active within the Erie Community. He was a past board member of the Martin Luther King Center and Perseus House, a center for delinquent youths. Since 1978 he was active on the board of directors of the Arts Council of Erie. He served on the Minority Panel of the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts and the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra Board, and the Association of Pennsylvania Orchestras' Panel of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Mr. Wright also served on the board of the Erie Civic Authority, Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, the Pennsylvania State Council on Arts Education, and the Florence Crittenton Home. In 1997 he was among the graduates of Leadership Erie and recently served on the Board of Villa Maria Center and the Arts Board of the Glenwood YMCA. A performer and supporter of the Arts throughout his entire life, Bruce Morton Wright was a tremendous advocate for furthering the arts in Pennsylvania and Erie County. He will be forever missed by his countless friends and colleagues.

    Founding Patron, Clarence BeyersBeyers 1

    The support of the late Mr. Clarence E. Beyers was critical in the founding of the original Erie Chamber Orchestra. Although he was a generous contributor to many other organizations, he had a special fondness for the Erie Chamber Orchestra, which he called "his orchestra." It is through his continuing support provided by the Clarence E. Beyers Music Fund as well as the support provided by Gannon University that the Orchestra is able to present these concerts.