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Guest Conductors

Meet the 2024 Conductors

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Daniela Candillari

principal opera conductor

ABOUT

Conductor Daniela Candillari continues to garner praise for her dynamic and compelling performances at opera houses and concert stages throughout North America and Europe. Recognized for her “confidence and apparently inexhaustible verve” (The New York Times) and “powerful and breathtaking performances” (Review STL), Candillari enters her second season as both Principal Conductor at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Principal Opera Conductor at Music Academy.

In the 2022-23 season, Candillari conducts the New York Philharmonic and Yo-Yo Ma, American Composers Orchestra and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street at Carnegie Hall, Orchestre Métropolitain Montreal, the Symphonic Orchestra of Slovenian National Theater in Maribor, Toledo Symphony, the world premiere of Peter Knell and Stephanie Fleischmann’s Arkhipov at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, Deutsche Oper Berlin’s concert version of Lakmé, New Orleans Opera’s Hansel and Gretel, Tosca at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Arizona Opera, Tulsa Opera’s Gala concert version of Aida, and Music Academy’s La bohème.

Last season, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut conducting Aucoin’s Eurydice; led Jeanine Tesori’s Blue with Detroit Opera; Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones at Lyric Opera of Chicago; Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ Carmen; the North American premiere of Caroline Shaw, Andrew Yee, and Asma Maroof’s Moby Dick; or The Whale at The Shed with members of the New York Philharmonic; Music Academy’s Eugene Onegin; the 2021 made-for-film world premiere of Clint Borzoni’s The Copper Queen with Arizona Opera; and the 2022 film of Ana Sokolović’s Svadba with Boston Lyric Opera. As a composer, Candillari has been commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Met Opera, and New York City Ballet Orchestras.

Candillari grew up in Serbia and Slovenia. She holds a Doctorate from the Universität für Musik in Vienna; a MM from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music; and a MM and Bachelor’s degree from the Universität für Musik in Graz.

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Hannu Lintu

Unknown Title

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With a ​“scrupulous ear for instrumental color and blend” (Washington Post) and bringing ​“a distinctive dynamism to the podium” (Baltimore Sun), Hannu Lintu begins his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. The appointment follows a series of hugely successful collaborations with the company – including Tristan und Isolde in 2016, Sibelius’s Kullervo in 2017, Berg’s Wozzeck in 2019 and Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos in 2020 – and reflects Lintu’s shifting focus into the field of opera. The upcoming season commences with Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. Future productions will include the majority of the house’s rescheduled Ring Cycle which will recommence with Die Walküre in Autumn 2022.

Lintu recently completed his eighth and final season as the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s Chief Conductor. Highlights included Schumann’s Faust Szenen, Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust and the second-ever FRSO Festival – devoted in 2019 to new and large-scale works by national composer Magnus Lindberg.

In the upcoming 2021/22 season, Lintu makes his highly anticipated debut with Opéra national de Paris, conducting Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer. Lintu also regularly conducts at the Savonlinna Festival, most recently for productions of Verdi’s Otello (2018) and Sallinen’s Kullervo (in 2017, as part of Finland’s centenary celebrations).

Guest highlights of the 2021/22 season include returns to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich, Gulbenkian Orchestra, and Tampere Philharmonic. Lintu also guest conducts the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, National Symphony Orchestra Taiwan, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Russian National Philharmonic Orchestra, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.

Recent engagements include debuts with the Chicago and Boston symphony orchestras, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich and returns to the Baltimore, St Louis and Cincinnati symphony orchestras, New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra and NDR Elbphilharmonie.

Lintu has made several recordings for Ondine, BIS, Naxos, Avie and Hyperion; recent releases include the complete Beethoven Piano Concertos with Stephen Hough, Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten and Violin Concerto with Leila Josefowicz, Lutoslawski’s Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4 and Nos. 2 & 3 and works by Kaija Saariaho with Gerald Finley and Xavier de Maistre, all of which feature Lintu’s principal recording partner, the FRSO.

Lintu has received several accolades for his recordings, including two ICMA awards for Bartók’s Violin Concertos with Christian Tetzlaff (2019) and works by Sibelius featuring Anne Sofie von Otter (2018), a 2021 GRAMMY nomination in the Best Orchestral Performance category for his recording of Lutoslawski’s Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3, a 2011 GRAMMY nomination for Best Opera CD (Rautavaara’s Kaivos), and Gramophone Award nominations for his recordings of Enescu’s Symphony No.2 with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and the Violin Concertos of Sibelius and Thomas Adès with Augustin Hadelich and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Lintu studied cello and piano at the Sibelius Academy, where he later studied conducting with Jorma Panula. He participated in masterclasses with Myung-Whun Chung at the L’Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy, and took first prize at the Nordic Conducting Competition in Bergen in 1994.

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Francisco J. Núñez

SING! guest conductor, YPC National

ABOUT

Francisco J. Núñez, a MacArthur Fellow and Musical America’s 2018 Educator of the Year, is a composer, conductor, visionary, leading figure in music education, and the Founder/Artistic Director of the Emmy award-winning Young People’s Chorus of New York (YPC). Mr. Núñez launched YPC National in response to requests for guidance, training, and assistance from choruses across the country and the Caribbean inspired by the YPC model.

His commitment to the arts, youth, and diversity have been recognized through numerous awards and honors, including: an ASCAP Victor Herbert Award, the New York Choral Society’s Choral Excellence Award, and Bang on a Can’s Visionary Award. NYU Steinhard presented him with its Distinguished Alumnus Achievement Award, and he holds honorary Doctor of Music degrees from both Ithaca College and Gettysburg College.

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Elizabeth Núñez

SING! guest conductor, YPC National

ABOUT

Elizabeth Núñez is a conductor, clinician and speaker, soloist, and Creative Director of the Emmy award-winning Young People’s Chorus of New York City. Since joining YPC in 2004, she has played a significant role in fostering key YPC programs as well as providing vision for new initiatives. As a conductor she has led YPC choruses in highly acclaimed and widely viewed performances in New York City, on national television, and abroad.

In addition to her work at YPC, Elizabeth leads performances and workshops for regional and national conferences. She has conducted numerous All-State Honor Choirs, the OAKE National Children’s Honor Choir, and led YPC as a featured choir at the 2023 ACDA National Conference. She is also the Founding Artistic Director of the intergenerational SoHarmoniums Women’s Choir.

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Anthony Parnther

Unknown Title

ABOUT

American conductor, Anthony Parnther, has forged a singularly unique career that melds his love for the music of all genres with his prowess as a conductor, producer, bassoon soloist, recording artist, opera singer, storyteller, comedian, voice-over artist, and activist.

Anthony is the Music Director of the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra in San Bernardino, California. He was appointed Music Director of the historic Los Angeles-based Southeast Symphony & Chorus in 2010. In 2020, Anthony was appointed Conductor of the Gateways Music Festival Orchestra, succeeding its longtime founding conductor, Michael Morgan. He has conducted a long list of the world's greatest artists in virtually every genre, including Joshua Bell, Jessye Norman, Yundi Li, Lynn Harrell, Frederica von Stade, Roderick Williams, The Canadian Brass, Rihanna, Jennifer Holliday, Kanye West, Imagine Dragons, Omar Apollo, Ry X, Zedd, and Alan Walker.

Parnther is in demand to conduct symphonic, opera, contemporary, avant-garde, popular music, and film scores internationally. His recent guest appearances include the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Opera, Chineke! Orchestra, Long Beach Opera, Mann Center Festival Orchestra, The Philly Pops, Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, Jacaranda - Music at the Edge, Hear Now Music Festival, Pittsburgh Microtonal Festival, BrightworkNewMusic, and the World Opera Forum in Madrid, Spain.

In the 2021-22 season, Anthony will premiere Kris Bowers' Concerto for Horn with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Tamar-kali Brown's We Hold These Truths with the Los Angeles Opera. Anthony will also lead the Long Beach Opera as they record Anthony Davis' Pulitzer Prize-winning opera The Central Park Five. In April of 2022, he will lead the Gateways Festival Orchestra at Carnegie Hall as they premiere I Can for Piano and Orchestra, composed by and featuring Oscar and Grammy-winning Jon Batiste.

In addition, Anthony will also appear with the San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Hawaii Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Long Beach Symphony, Cleveland Institute of Music, Rochester Philharmonic, Phoenix Symphony, Vermont Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Austin Symphony, Grant Park Music Festival, and Charlotte Symphony.

He has premiered and recorded works by Anthony Davis, George Walker, Tamar-kali Brown, Florence Price, Adolphus Hailstork, Zenobia Powell Perry, Errollyn Wallen, John Wineglass, Gary Powell Nash, Marian Harrison, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, James Wilson, Phillip Herbert, Daniel Kidane, Chanda Dancy, and James Newton. In 2015, Anthony was profiled by Los Angeles' KCET/TV as a "Local Hero" for his extensive community outreach and advocacy for the performance of works by Black, Latino, and Women artists.

On the scoring stages of Los Angeles, London, Nashville, Budapest, and San Francisco, Anthony has led and conducted recording sessions for many of the top international feature films, television series, and video game franchises in the world.

Recent films include Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Avatar: The Way of Water, Tenet, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, The Adam Project, Slumberland, The Way Back, Cheaper By The Dozen, Lost City, Little, The Hunt. He has conducted the scoring sessions for animated features Encanto, Turning Red, Ice Age: Adventures of Buck Wild, Diaries of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules. His television series credits include Star Wars: The Mandalorian, Star Wars: Book of Boba Fett, Fargo, The Night Of, 4400. He led the sessions for video games League of Legends, The Lamplighters League, Guild Wars, and animated series like American Dad, Arcane, and many more.

Anthony studied at Northwestern University and Yale University and resides in Los Angeles.

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Doreen Rao

SING! guest conductor, YPC National

ABOUT

Doreen Rao is a distinguished conductor and master teacher committed to the dynamic intersections joining music performance and music education.  The values of artistry, diversity, and social consciousness mark her celebrated career.  Recipient of the Robert Shaw Life-Time Achievement Award by the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) for her extraordinary contributions to choral music, Doreen’s seminal work has inspired generations of young singers, accomplished choral teachers and admired conductors.

Doreen’s illustrious career began as a professional singer and choral teacher. During her formative years in Chicago, she served as Assistant Professor of Voice at Roosevelt University, and began her long association with the Chicago Symphony Chorus and Orchestra. At the invitation of Margaret Hillis, Doreen prepared the Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus for concerts and recordings, winning four Grammy Awards and a Grand Prix du Disque with Sir George Solti, Maestro Hillis, Claudio Abbado, and James Levine. As the first female assistant conductor of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Doreen’s apprenticeship with Miss Hillis informed her choral and conducting practice with a legacy of deep musicianship and enduring professionalism.

Doreen founded and chaired the first ACDA National Committee for Children’s Choirs, organizing divisional and state leadership across the United States. Commissioning and premiering the music of living composers throughout her career, Doreen created and edited a massive library of choral repertoire for music education, published by Boosey & Hawkes as Choral Music Experience (CME), https://www.halleonard.com. During the same period, she founded the CME Institute and Certification Courses in Choral Teacher Education, an innovative and on-going professional development curriculum for emerging conductors and choral educators, www.choralmusicexperience.com.

Following her graduate studies at Northwestern University, Doreen accepted a dual- appointment as Director of Choral Programs and Associate Professor of Music Education at the University of Toronto. The first woman to hold an endowed chair in conducting in Canada, Doreen carries the prestigious Elmer Iseler Chair in Conducting Emeritus in perpetuity. During her two-decade tenure at the Faculty of Music, she regularly conducted the University Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in a wide range of choral-orchestral masterworks. She founded and conducted the MacMillan Singers and Bach Festival Singers for frequent concert collaborations with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Collaborating with the distinguished German conductor and Bach scholar Helmuth Rilling, Rao also led Canada’s International Bach Festival.

From 2008, Doreen prepared and conducted the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus for concerts with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.  She made regular appearances with both the BPO and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestras, conducting choral masterworks.

Doreen stepped down from the University of Toronto in 2012, returning to Chicago to maintain an active career guest conducting and teaching. She enjoyed her tenures with the Chicago Chamber Choir and the Tampa Bay Master Chorale, where she worked with Maestro Michael Francis and the Florida Orchestra.  As a Visiting Professor at Ionian University, Doreen led graduate conducting and summer academy courses in Corfu, Greece. She currently teaches at the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music.

Among many other books and award-winning choral publications with Boosey & Hawkes, Doreen is the author of Circle of Sound Voice Education, a landmark text that serves as the philosophical and practical foundation for her innovative Zen approach to singing, conducting and choral teaching. She recently signed with GIA Publications in Chicago as Series Editor of the new Global Encounters for Young Choirs, www.giamusic.com.

Doreen Rao is the 2024 Artist-in-residence for the YPC National summer residency in partnership with the Sing! Program and Music Academy of the West.

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David Robertson

Unknown Title

ABOUT

David Robertson – conductor, artist, composer, thinker, American musical visionary – occupies the most prominent podiums in opera, orchestral, and new music.  He is a champion of contemporary composers, and an ingenious and adventurous programmer.  Robertson has served in numerous artistic leadership positions, such as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, a transformative 13-year tenure as Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, with the Orchestre National de Lyon, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and, as protégé of Pierre Boulez, the Ensemble InterContemporain.  He appears with the world’s great orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, and many major ensembles and festivals on five continents.  Since his 1996 Metropolitan Opera debut, Robertson has conducted a breathtaking range of Met projects, including the 2019-20 season opening premiere production of Porgy and Bess, for which he shared a Grammy Award, Best Opera Recording, in March 2021.  In 2022, he conducted the Met Opera revival of the production, in addition to making his Rome Opera debut conducting Janáček’s Káťa Kabanová.  Robertson is a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France, and is the recipient of numerous artistic awards.  He serves on the Tianjin Juilliard Advisory Council, complementing his role as Director of Conducting Studies, Distinguished Visiting Faculty of The Juilliard School, New York.

 

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Osmo Vänskä

Unknown Title

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Conductor Laureate of the Minnesota Orchestra, where he held the Music Directorship for 19 years, and Music Director of Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra from 2020 to 2023, Osmo Vänskä is recognised for his compelling interpretations of repertoire of all ages and an energetic presence on the podium. His democratic and inclusive style of work has been key in forging long-standing relationships with many orchestras worldwide.

Performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with Minnesota Orchestra in June 2022 provided a fitting culmination for Vänskä’s tenure as Music Director. Together they undertook five major European tours, as well as an historic trip to Cuba in 2015 – the first visit by an American orchestra since the two countries re-established diplomatic relations. They also made a ground-breaking tour to South Africa in 2018 as part of worldwide celebrations of Nelson Mandela’s Centenary – furthermore the first visit by an American orchestra - drawing together South African and American performers in musical expressions of peace, freedom, and reconciliation on a five-city tour. Vanska and Minnesota Orchestra also made an acclaimed return to London’s BBC Proms in Summer 2018.

Osmo Vänskä will conduct Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra on a major European tour in Autumn 2022, including concerts in Vienna, Salzburg, Amsterdam, and London. He will return to guest conduct the Seoul Philharmonic several times in spring 2023.

He returns this season to the Symphony and Philharmonic orchestras of Bamberg, Chicago, Los Angeles, Helsinki, Israel, Houston, Montreal, and Pittsburgh amongst others, while past guest conducting invitations include renowned international ensembles such as Cleveland, Philadelphia, and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras in North America, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Iceland Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin as well as London Philharmonic Orchestra.  He is regularly invited to guest conduct in Asia including with Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and China, Hangzhou, Hong Kong and Taiwan Philharmonic Orchestras.

Vänskä continues to develop a visiting and touring relationship with Curtis Institute of Music Symphony Orchestra, leading conducting seminars as well as tours in Europe, the US and Asia. He has also been invited to guest conduct New World Symphony in Miami, where he additionally coaches its Conducting Fellows.

A distinguished recording artist for the BIS label, Vänskä is currently recording all of Mahler’s symphonies with Minnesota Orchestra. The Fifth Symphony received a Grammy nomination in 2017 for Best Orchestral Performance. Vänskä and Minnesota have also recorded the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Sibelius to critical acclaim, winning a Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance in 2014 as well as being nominated on several occasions. In 2021 they were voted Gramophone’s ‘Orchestra of the Year’.

Vänskä studied conducting at Finland’s Sibelius Academy and was awarded first prize in the 1982 Besançon Competition. He began his career as a clarinetist, occupying the co-principal chair of Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. He regularly performs chamber music, having been invited to La Jolla Summerfest, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Naantali Summer Festival, Sysmä Summer Sounds and Music in Ruovesi, to name a few. He has recorded Bernhard Henrik Crusell’s three Clarinet Quartets and Kalevi Aho’s Clarinet Quintet for the BIS label and is in the process of recording several duos for clarinet and violin which he has commissioned with his wife, violinist Erin Keefe.

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Xian Zhang

Unknown Title

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2023/24 will mark Zhang’s eighth season as Music Director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, who celebrated their centennial last season. Zhang also holds the positions of Principal Guest Conductor of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Emeritus of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano, having previously held the position of Music Director between 2009–2016.

In high demand as a guest conductor, Zhang juggles an exceptionally busy diary of guest engagements alongside her titled commitments. Throughout 2023/24, she conducts Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Anthony Minghella’s acclaimed production features a starry cast with Aleksandra Kurzak, Eleanora Buratto and Asmik Grigorian sharing the role of Cio-Cio-San, and Matthew Polezani as Pinkerton.

Following a busy summer 2023 season which saw her conducting Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, Zhang’s upcoming symphonic highlights include returns to the Philadelphia Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Houston Symphony, Orchestra of St Luke’s, and National Symphony Orchestra DC. Zhang remains a popular guest of London Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony, NAC Ottawa, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Belgian National Orchestra, and Norwegian Opera where she returned last season for Puccini’s Tosca.

Letters for The Future (released 2022), Zhang’s recording on Deutsche Grammophon with Philadelphia Orchestra and Time for Three, won multiple GRAMMY awards in both the Best Contemporary Classical Composition (Kevin Puts’ Contact) and Best Classical Instrumental Solo categories.

Zhang previously served as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra & Chorus of Wales, the first female conductor to hold a titled role with a BBC orchestra. In 2002, she won first prize in the Maazel-Vilar Conductor's Competition. She was appointed New York Philharmonic’s Assistant Conductor in 2002, subsequently becoming their Associate Conductor and the first holder of the Arturo Toscanini Chair.

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