Kent Nagano, Orchestre symphonique de Montreal
Born in California, Nagano maintains close connections with his home state and was Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra from 1978 to 2008. His early professional years were spent in Boston, working in the opera house and as assistant conductor to Seiji Ozawa at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He played a key role in the world premiere of Messiaen’s opera Saint François d’Assise at the request of the composer, who became a mentor and bequeathed his piano to the conductor. Nagano’s success in America led to European appointments: Music Director of Opéra National de Lyon (1988-1998) and Music Director of the Hallé Orchestra (1991-2000).
A very important period in Nagano’s career was his time as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, from 2000 to 2006. He performed Schönberg’s Moses und Aron with the orchestra and took them to the Salzburg Festival to perform both Zemlinsky’s Der König Kandaules and Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten, as well as to the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden with Parsifal (2004) and Lohengrin (2006) in a production by Nikolaus Lehnhoff. In June 2006, at the end of his tenure with the orchestra, he was given the title Honorary Conductor by Members of The orchestra, only the second recipient of this honor in their sixty-year history.
Kent Nagano became the first Music Director of Los Angeles Opera in 2003, having already held the position of Principal Conductor for two years. His work in other opera houses has included Shostakovich’s The Nose (Staatsoper Berlin), Rimsky Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel (Châtelet, Paris), Hindemith’s Cardillac (Opéra national de Paris), Dialogues des Carmélites (Metropolitan Opera) and at the Salzburg Festival Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Zemlinsky’s Der Koenig Kandaules, Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten and the world premiere of Saariaho’s L’amour de loin. Other world premieres include Bernstein’s A White House Cantata and operas by Peter Eötvös (Three Sisters) and John Adams (The Death of Klinghoffer and El Niño).
As a much sought after guest conductor Nagano has worked with most of the world’s finest orchestras, including the Vienna, Berlin and New York Philharmonics, the Chicago Symphony, the Dresden Staatskapelle and Leipzig Gewandhaus. He has an ongoing relationship with Sony Classical and has also recorded for Erato, Teldec, Pentatone and Deutsche Grammophon as well as Harmonia Mundi, winning Grammy awards for his recordings of Busoni’s Doktor Faust with Opéra National de Lyon, Peter and the Wolf with the Russian National Orchestra and Saariaho’s L’amour de Loin with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. For Bayerische Staatsoper, Nagano has commissioned new operas by Wolfgang Rihm (Das Gehege), Unsuk Chin (Alice in Wonderland) and Jörg Widmann (Babylon) along with new productions of Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina, Mozart’s Idomeneo, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos and Die Schweigsame Frau, Poulenc’s Les Dialogues des Carmélites, Messiaen’s St François d’Assise, Berg’s Wozzeck and Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen. With the Bayerisches Staatsorchester Nagano has toured throughout Europe and in Japan, and together they have recorded Bruckner’s Symphonies Nos. 4 and 7 (Sony).
The recipient of honorary doctorates from McGill University and Université de Montréal, Mr. Nagano also received the title of Montreal Honorary Citizen in 2007. One year later he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, the most prestigious decoration given by Japan to a non-Japanese. In March 2012 he was awarded the Medal of Honor from the National Assembly of the Province of Québec.
For further information on Kent Nagano, visit www.kentnagano.com.
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