Miguel Harth-Bedoya made his conducting debut in his native Peru at the age of 19.
His talents have taken him around the world for the past 20 years, but he's always come to home to Fort Worth, to the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and to the music of his life.
"It's an every day feeling. There's not one day that I'm not grateful and thankful that I can do this, in which my vocation and my profession are the same, in that that I'm able to touch people's lives through music," Harth-Bedoya said.
Come August, he'll pour his passions into the next generation, teaching others how to master the baton as the new Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Nebraska, Omaha.
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"With what I've learned, with what I know, I'll be able to teach in the sense of sharing, sharing what I've done, sharing what I know and that, to me, is the best way to give back to the generations that follow me," he said.
Musicians and patrons at the FWSO have followed him since he was hired in 2000 as Music Director. Friendship and fame came along, too, but the maestro, which he doesn't really like to be called, knew he would need to exit.
"I realized the only way to come to a closure at a high point is to plan it," he said. "And I made a decision a little over two years ago so that it would become a goal to end my tenure."
The high points Harth-Bedoya sees are number one, the musicians who are willing to work and practice to get the music to another high point: A major-label recording, and performances at Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center.
"Practicing and practicing and preparing, it's just hard And, you really have to want to do that. So, when you create such an environment of friendship and collegial relationships, that to me is a high point," he said, "but musically speaking, the various recordings we have done has had attention internationally with reviews in London and Paris and Frankford and New York, that to me is the legacy of how we play."
More important than the music, though, is family. He and his wife have three children. Elena, Emilio and Elisa were all born in Fort Worth and all with a desire to stay here while their dad makes what he calls a "big transition" to teaching and guest engagements rather than running an orchestra.
"Instead of moving to another country or another city which we had options, they all felt this is our home," he said. "So to make the story short, we will remain residents of Fort Worth at least until they finish their schooling, and I'll be able to commute."
Harth-Bedoya is excited about this next chapter with the University of Nebraska and the opportunity to pour his knowledge into others who share his passion.
"I will be in charge of the orchestras, training orchestra musicians, but also creating an undergraduate program in orchestral conducting, which is very much needed in our country. Conductors need to train solidly, steadily, step by step without rush," he said. "The same way I was helped when I started my instruction when I was 19 years old."
It's been three decades since Harth-Bedoya first took his place on the stage as a conductor. From that moment to now and all the notes still to come, he is a man living his purpose.
"The thought of music, that I can read a piece of music and I can hear in my head, that blessing is enormous," he said.