“…he led a fluid performance that paid off again and again. In the final pages of the score the orchestra framed Schultz’s serenely floating high notes.”
“The intimacy of the hall, combined with a drier acoustic than in Abravanel, left no place for errant notes to hide, but the 21-piece ensemble did not need one. New associate conductor Benjamin Manis, himself a cellist, led with precision and good humor…Transparency and delicacy characterized Manis’ reading of Britten’s Simple Symphony. Pizzicato passages really popped in the intimate venue, and the pianissimo opening of the “Playful Pizzicato” movement was magical.”
Utah Arts Review
“The trio’s graceful accompaniment acts as a counterpart to Martinez’s stirring score, conducted with careful attention by Benjamin Manis. Violins add romance and sentimentality; trumpets stir the pot at dramatic moments; glimmers of harp evoke the twinkling stars.”
“Manis, resident conductor of Houston Opera, had led this orchestra Aug. 6 in an excellent concert featuring soprano Golda Schultz. He stepped in Friday for Roderick Cox, who canceled shortly before he would have made his Aspen main stage debut. The concert opened with a lively, deftly shaped run through Kodály’s Dances of Galánta, and concluded with a stately, confident traversal of Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 in F major. Maybe it was because this orchestra already had a concert under its belt with him as conductor, but balances among the sections and responsiveness by the whole orchestra were especially rewarding.”
“Maestro Benjamin Manis, a former HGO resident conductor, whips up the orchestra into furious climaxes or subtle love coos, always finding the correct balance between lust and love, leaving the artists on stage with just the right amount of breathing room before the next outburst.”
“For all the power and ferocity that the HGO Orchestra, conducted by Benjamin Manis, put into the score’s explosions, it was even more telling in the quiet scenes. From the glow of the strings in quiet moments to the silkiness of the clarinet solo launching “E lucevan le stelle,” the group savored Puccini’s tone-painting and glow.”
Texas Classical Review
“Conducted by Shepherd School alum Ben Manis, Puccini’s lush and immersive score flows from moments of great warmth and tranquility to deliciously exciting drama.”
Houston Chronicle (Tosca)
American conductor Benjamin Manis will be marking a successful end of his tenure as an Associate Conductor of the Utah Symphony in the summer of 2023. During his time with the orchestra, he led performances on tour throughout the state of Utah as well as at Abravanel Hall and the Deer Valley Music Festival. Before moving to Salt Lake City, Mr. Manis spent three seasons as Resident Conductor of the Houston Grand Opera, making his debut with Verdi’s Rigoletto. Other highlights of his time in Houston include performances of Carmen, Romeo et Juliette and The Snowy Day. He led 4 world premieres, among them the 2020 world premiere of Marian’s Song with the subsequent HGO Digital filmed version and Miller Outdoor Theatre performances of the same work. Mr. Manis returned to HGO in the 22/23 season to lead productions of Tosca and El Milagro del Recuerdo to critical acclaim.
In August of 2023 Mr. Manis will be assisting Donald Runnicles during the semi-staged production of Madame Butterfly, a finale of this year’s Grand Teton Music Festival. 23/24 seasons marks returns to the Utah Symphony including a gala performance with Itzhak Perlman, as well as a debut with Utah Opera leading a production of The Little Prince. In spring of 2024 Mr. Manis will lead a double bill of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Britten’s Rape of Lucretia at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.
Three-time winner of the Solti Foundation US Career Assistance Awards (2023, 2022, 2019), Mr. Manis assisted renowned conductors such Thierry Fischer, Gianandrea Noseda, David Robertson, and Stéphane Denève at the St. Louis, Dallas, and National Symphonies. Over the course of three years in the Aspen Conducting Academy he assisted and worked closely with conductors such as Robert Spano, Ludovic Morlot, Leonard Slatkin, James Conlon and Vasily Petrenko. After winning the Aspen Conducting Prize, Mr. Manis was invited to returned to Aspen in the summer of 2021 as assistant conductor, where he conducted two programs with the Aspen Chamber Symphony.
Mr. Manis studied cello and conducting at the Colburn School, where he conducted outreach concerts in public schools across Los Angeles and performed Lutoslawski’s Cello Concerto as soloist with conductor Robert Spano. A student of the late Larry Rachleff he completed his Master of Music degree in 2019 at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.