Billing himself as "the fifth most recorded American conductor" thanks to his many CDs of works both popular and obscure for the budget Naxos label, Stephen Gunzenhauser has maintained a fairly low "live" profile in the United States, having devoted more than two decades to long-term relationships with small East Coast orchestras.
A graduate of New York City's High School of Music and Art, Gunzenhauser received a bachelor of music degree from Oberlin College, a master of music degree from the New England Conservatory, and a diploma from the Salzburg Mozarteum in Austria following three Fulbright scholarship grants. He was also awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters by Widener University.
Gunzenhauser assisted Igor Markevitch in Monte Carlo and Leopold Stokowski in New York before becoming executive and artistic director of the Wilmington (Delaware) Music School in 1974. Five years later, he was appointed conductor and music director of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and of the Lancaster Symphony in Pennsylvania. Gunzenhauser left the Delaware Symphony at the end of the 2001-2002 season but retained his Lancaster position even after he was named artistic advisor and principal conductor of the Bogota (Colombia) Philharmonic in 2004.
The State of Delaware appointed Gunzenhauser to be its first cultural ambassador in 1990. In December 1999, Gunzenhauser received the Order of the First State, the highest accolade awarded by the Delaware state government. He continues to live in Wilmington. Naxos and Marco Polo have sold more than two million copies of his recordings in repertory including Mozart, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Saint-Saëns, Brahms, Bruch, Orff, many Romantic Russians, Copland, Dvorák, and Chinese composer Chen Gang.