Harold Weller is the Founding Music Director & Conductor Laureate of the Las Vegas Philharmonic. Weller retired on June 30, 2007 completing a distinguished 45-year career as music director of orchestras in Ohio, Virginia, New Mexico and Arizona.
Weller is also the Founding Music Director of the Ashland (Oh) Symphony and the Old Dominion (Va) Symphony as well as Conductor Laureate of the Flagstaff (Az) Symphony.
Born in Dayton Ohio on July 6, 1941, Weller holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Miami (OH) University and an MA from The Ohio State University. He also studied at the Oberlin and Cincinnati Conservatories of Music. He began his professional conducting career at age 20, when he was engaged to conduct opera at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. His conducting teachers include Orion Dalley, A. Clyde Roller, Richard Lert, Haig Yaghjian and mentors Paul Katz, Max Rudolf, and George Szell.
As an accomplished and successful orchestra builder, Weller founded the Ashland (OH) Symphony in 1970 and the Old Dominion Symphony in Virginia in 1977. Both of these orchestras, now entering their 38th and 31st seasons respectively, continue to enrich the cultural climate of their cities.
Weller came to Las Vegas after a 15-year tenure with the Flagstaff (AZ) Symphony (1982-1997). Under his direction both as Artistic Director and General Manager, the Flagstaff Symphony sextupled its concert offerings and operating budget and became noted for having the highest per capita support of any symphony orchestra in the United States. In recognition for his artistic and civic achievements, Weller was honored with the title Conductor Laureate for Life. Introduced to the Las Vegas performing arts scene while still in Flagstaff, Weller served as Music Director of the Nevada Dance Theater (1994-1998) and Visiting Professor of Music for the University of Nevada Las Vegas (1997-1998).
Having just completed his ninth year as Founding Music Director of the Las Vegas Philharmonic, Weller looks with pride on the explosive growth of his new orchestra. The Philharmonic plays for capacity audiences, has a balanced operating budget of $1.7 million dollars, and has become the preeminently respected musical arts organization in the state. During his tenure, the Philharmonic has worked with such well-known artists as John Williams, Placido Domingo, Sylvia McNair, Sara Brightman, Robert Goulet, and on tour with tenor Andrea Bocelli. Over time Weller has worked with a host of classical and popular artists including Isaac Stern, Janos Starker, William Warfield, Igor Kipnis, Gary Karr, Sidney Harth, Steve Allen, Doc Severinsen, Dudley Moore, Jerry Goldsmith, & Henry Mancini.
The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Weller was presented the 2003 Achievement Award in Arts & Entertainment from the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. Other honors include the Governor’s Award (New Mexico) and Flagstaff’s Citizen of the Year Award in 1991. In 1995 Flagstaff’s Lowell Observatory named an asteroid in his honor. In April 2004, Weller made an acclaimed European debut with an all-American concert in Sophia, Bulgaria. The Mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar B. Goodman, proclaimed October 9, 2005 as “Harold Weller Day” in Las Vegas and again on June 30, 2009 in recognition of Hal’s many contributions and accomplishments for the arts in Las Vegas.
Hal and his wife Betsy maintain homes in Nevada and Arizona and take great pleasure in the accomplishments of their grown sons Kurt Eugene (a business executive in Las Vegas) and Christopher Howard (a Naval aviator in Jacksonville, FL).
The Las Vegas Review-Journal has described Weller as a man “who imbues orchestral music with more than passion, more than life, sharing a bit of his soul with each piece he conducts.”
Now at age 66, Hal will continue to guest conduct on a limited basis and has turned his attention to creating a foundation that will assist with the education and career development of talented and needy young musicians world wide.