Music Director and the founder of Camerata New Jersey, Maestro Ben Byung-Hyun Rhee has amassed quite a résumé and recognition throughout his career. He has served five years as Associate Conductor to the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, where he has led concerts with world renowned soloists like Emanuel Ax, Garrick Ohlsson, Itzhak Perlman, Glenn Dicterow, and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, to name a few.
Maestro Rhee’s innate ability to masterfully lead an orchestra has been acknowledged throughout the industry, and he is recognized as one of America’s most gifted young conductors. He was presented with the Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation Award, an annual program that selects only one conductor from a pool of nearly three hundred from all over the country. The League of American Symphony Orchestras presented Mr. Rhee in its National Preview of Conductors with the Jacksonville Symphony and the SYMPHONY magazine selected him as an emerging artist to watch.
He is a frequent guest conductor of the Tennessee Philharmonic, the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Southwest Florida Symphony, the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra, Korea’s prestigious Korean Broadcasting Symphony (KBS), the Tae-Jeon City Philharmonic, the Korean Symphony, the Chungnam State Philharmonic Orchestra (where he served as Music Director/Conductor for three years before his appointment in Nashville), and the Lautus Chamber Orchestra, which he founded in New York City in October 1995.
As an opera conductor, Maestro Rhee has directed performances with the Nashville Opera Company and New Jersey State Opera, where he assisted veteran maestro Alfredo Silipigni. Rhee re-orchestrated Opera L’Amiraglio Yi Sun Sin and conducted its world premiere. He has also conducted annual performances of The Nutcracker with the Huntsville Ballet and Symphony. He has produced and conducted a new operatic version of Debussy’s L’Enfant Prodigue and newly invented ‘Webpera’ version of L’Elisir D’Amore with Opera Camerata where he is the music director.
Some highlights of his seasons with the Nashville Symphony include an A&E live broadcast of their Fourth-of-July Concerts featuring Al Green, Beach Boys and Lee Ann Womack hosted by Chris Noth from Sex and the City, and the annual Beethoven Festival. From 2004 to 2006, on July 4, Maestro Rhee led the orchestra in a live nationwide broadcast for NBC’s Great American Country, a program featuring country stars like Phil Vassar, Sarah Evans, the Oakridge Boys, and Charlie Daniels. Korea’s Central Daily Newspaper named him Musician of the Year, and his numerous successful performances in his native country led to the creation of a television program (KBS-1 TV) called “Byung-Hyun Rhee’s Classical Music Tale” produced in conjunction with the K.B.S. Orchestra.
In recent years, Maestro Rhee has been busy starting and managing new initiatives. In Fall 2012, he started the Camerata Youth Orchestra and Choir which had its first inaugural concert in the summer of 2013. Maestro Rhee has also started Camerata Artists International Competition in 2011, Prima Volta Music Competition in 2017 and New York Young Virtuoso Competition in 2020 to develop and support talented young musicians. The winners perform at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Merkin Hall. In 2015, he founded Camerata Men’s Choir which is a mixed choir of both professional and amateur singers. Camerata Men’s Choir is on the list of greatest vocal groups in New York Metropolitan area.