A poised, authoritative leader. —Cleveland Plain Dealer
Loebel led with assurance and a likable relish. —The Philadelphia Inquirer
Loebel stood his ground in front of the mighty CSO [Chicago Symphony Orchestra] with the confidence that comes from being secure in the music and in his ability to convey his ideas. —Chicago Tribune
As is usual with Loebel,
tempos were fleet, the mood was upbeat, and the band really played for him.
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The opening selection
found the orchestra responding to Loebel with impressive precision and
—San Francisco Chronicle
St. Louis Symphony
"David Loebel led the [Saint Louis] Symphony in an all-Russian program, culminating in the Shostakovich 8. With Loebel one always gets a performance of strict integrity. Fidelity to the score is paramount, and extremism in the name of liberty is straight out. Loebel was at his best during those passages that required firmness and control; much of the Largo was exquisitely balanced and refined, as was the final movement's "morendo" conclusion. The Shostakovich was paired with two concertato works for cello and orchestra by Tchaikovsky, the Variations on a Rococo Theme and the Pezzo capriccioso. Loebel is a sensitive accompanist, effortless and attentive in his support of the soloist." – Philip Kennicott, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"The fact that Loebel wields his baton in a dry manner ought not to mislead listeners into thinking he lacks fire. Loebel is one of the most genuinely passionate conductors to have regular access to the Powell Hall podium. But it is an intellectual passion that drives him, and it manifests itself in ways more concentrated than overt. Like the classical-minded composers of central Europe, Loebel invests heavily in rhythm, balance and large-scale musical structure. These things do not sound glamorous, but when they are made audible and realized to the extent that is Loebel's norm, the results are breathtaking." – James Wierzbicki, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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"Musical legend is full of stories about virtually unknown conductors stepping in at the last moment for an ailing maestro, creating a sensation and thus being launched on a brilliant career. These are usually youngsters in the field, waiting in the wings for their big chance. It happened this way to Bernstein, Ozawa and Toscanini, among others... Substituting Saturday night, Loebel produced the most stunning performance of the Rachmaninoff Second Symphony that I've ever heard and probably the best playing from the orchestra in a very long time…
"The orchestra, in fact, surpassed itself in sheer musicality, responding to Loebel's obvious enthusiasm on the podium, catching the spirit and making it their own.
"Here is a conductor who uses his whole body to conduct, not to display but to communicate. His technique and control are excellent, his approach open and natural. But he was not afraid to let them go, which is sometimes dangerous in as sprawling a work as the Rachmaninoff.
"But it paid off big. The strings were allowed to murmur in the dark, then soar and luxuriate in those sensuous melodies. The brass were even allowed a few coarse entrances. They settled down nicely. The scherzo was as crisp as a Russian winter, its trio a warming wind. In the Adagio, clarinetist John Fullam gave eloquent introduction to that achingly sweet string theme, which can be cloying in lesser hands but was tenderly beautiful in Loebel's. Loebel was more of an usher than a leader, in firm control but with a light touch. This hyper-romantic monument was never allowed to get flabby, even in the extended development sections, where forces were gathered and marshaled to the riveting finale." -- Kenneth Young, Buffalo News
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New World Symphony
"David Loebel, the New World Symphony’s resident conductor, is acutely perceptive. He pays close attention to the loud-soft contrasts that pervade Mozart’s music, to its subtle degrees of light and shade.
"So his Mozart Festival concert at the Lincoln Theatre in Miami Beach Thursday night promised to be one of those programs you didn’t want to miss and, interpretatively speaking, it lived up to expectations. The miraculous Overture to La Clemenza di Tito was wonderfully intense, yet pliant, animated in every measure by Loebel with high-spirited drive. [In] Mozart's Jupiter Symphony...Loebel did illuminate many striking details, notably the fugal aspects of the ﬁnale and its dazzling contrapuntal episodes." – James Roos, Miami Herald
"This latest program by the New World Symphony was one of the orchestra’s most rewarding of the season so far. [In Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2] Soloist Christopher O’Riley seemed to revel in the ingenuity of Bartók’s melodic and rhythmic ideas. His technique proved formidable, as did his ability to shape even the most angular material into coherent phrases. This was pianism of tremendous sweep and character. Conductor David Loebel saw to it that the New Worlders matched those qualities; their playing crackled with energy and incisiveness.
"The orchestra also excelled in Debussy’s La Mer, summoning a limpid tone that served Loebel’s propulsive approach to this, the grandest of all aural sea pictures. The woodwinds cavorted colorfully across the waves; the brass had admirable ﬁrmness and blend. Ibert‘s popular Escales was likewise molded carefully by the conductor, who drew out myriad nuances..." – Tim Smith, Sun-Sentinel
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"Occasionaly everything comes together in an Adelaide Symphony Orchestra concert and a kind of miracle happens. This can only happen rarely because it requires the coincidence of at least four factors: good programming; a conductor with first-class technique and penetrating insights; an exceptional soloist in top form; and an orchestra in which every member is playing with accuracy, confidence and sensitivity. Last week that miracle happened..
"We heard Milhaud’s 1923 ballet score La Creation du Monde, scored for a smallish ensemble, in which every player is brutally exposed. The jazz-inspired piece was firmly controlled by David Loebel, also a new name to Australia and immediately noticeable as an outstandingly good conductor. In the second half of this well-chosen French program Loebel’s mastery continued to impress. His reading of Messiaen’s L’Ascension (1933), a set of four contrasting meditations and a comparatively early work for this composer, was intense and moving, befitting the deep seriousness of the music... This was a concert I won't forget in a hurry." – Tristam Cary, The Australian
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"The wonders visiting United States conductor David Loebel worked on Queensland Symphony Orchestra at its fourth master series concert made you rejoice in this orchestral presence in our city. You almost forgot QSO is undersized, so expressive and expansive was the response to Loebel's direction in a programme that could easily have limped along a mundane path. A conductor with both head and heart, Loebel knows when to use the baton and when to let the hands spin phrases with a natural pulse." – Patricia Kelly, Queensland Courier-Mail
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Long Beach Symphony
"The music director of the Memphis Symphony and a veteran associate conductor of the St. Louis and Cincinnati orchestras, Loebel seems to be an active but not self-aggrandizing leader. Here he made music with a graciousness and a zest that complemented perfectly the spirit of Copland’s big, utterly characteristic [third] symphony. This is music broadly conceived and tightly executed. Spare and questing as often as it is boldly dancing, it does need a steady, shaping hand from the podium. Loebel gave it dignity without pompousness, wit without calculation and revelation without indulgence. His interpretation was both logical and deeply felt, setting the sweeping melodies and kinetic explosions in carefully structured contexts. The Long Beach players seemed committed and energized, giving Loebel an ovation of their own at the end." – John Henken, Los Angeles Times
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"Loebel, who has a special affinity for Mozart, conducted a strong, energetic, sure-handed performance of the ‘Paris’ Symphony in which every effect seemed solidly grounded in musical sense." – Ray Cooklis, Cincinnati Enquirer
"Loebel gave the whole mix a sense of structure, highlighting the more colorful elements with taste as well as glee. He conducts with a vigorous but controlled beat, avoiding any hint of display for its own sake." – Mary Ellen Hutton, Cincinnati Post
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"One of the most cathartic moments in recent Memphis music was when Loebel threw open the gates of heaven with his arms and let the full chorus sustain the most rapturous closing note man can imagine." Christopher Blank, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis)
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