James Gaffigan becomes principal guest conductor of Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne
As of the start of the 2012/13 season, the 33-year-old US conductor James Gaffigan will become First Guest Conductor of the Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra. In addition to yearly concerts, this newly created position with the venerable Cologne orchestra will entail CD recording projects and opera productions with the Opera of Cologne Oper Köln.
After starting off as Franz Welser-Möst’s assistant with the Cleveland Orchestra and Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas, James Gaffigan rapidly made a name for himself internationally. After winning the Sir Georg Solti conducting competition in Frankfurt in 2004, he was invited in quick succession to conduct such orchestras as the Munich Philharmonic, the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. In 2005 he made his opera debut in Zurich with “La bohème”; he also received invitations from the Glyndebourne Opera, the Houston Grand Opera and the Viennese State Opera, to name just a few. Since 2011/2012 he has been Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest in Hilversum.
James Gaffigan made his debut as a fill-in guest with the Gürzenich Orchestra in the 2007/08 season, conducting a French programme. In the 2009/2010 season he made a lasting impression with such works as Shostakovich’s 1st Symphony and Schubert’s Rosamunde Overture. Markus Stenz, the Gürzenich’s Kapellmeister and General Music Director of the City of Cologne, has welcomed James Gaffigan’s acceptance of the post: “I am delighted that another international conductor will now be working regularly with the Gürzenich Orchestra. During his previous performances in Cologne, he has created enormous enthusiasm with his skilful and highly energetic conducting of the orchestra. He conveyed his passion not just to the orchestra, but to the audience as well. A Principal Guest Conductor can build on and deepen such experiences, which is hugely productive in terms of musical quality. James Gaffigan is well-versed both in opera and on the concert platform. This means he can take on projects in all areas of the Gürzenich Orchestra’s activities: symphonic concerts, CD recordings and opera productions. James Gaffigan is thus an ideal person for the newly created position of Principal Guest Conductor with the Gürzenich Orchestra.”
James Gaffigan accepted the invitation without hesitation: “There are few orchestras that are equally skilled at playing both concert and operatic repertoire - the Gürzenich Orchestra is one of them. Their operatic playing gives them a flexibility that excites me and inspires me as a conductor and collaborator. I felt an instant chemistry with this group from our first meeting and I anticipate being able to develop a musical relationship with them, as I am more interested in continuing relationships that fulfil me as a musician rather than having a season full of ‘first dates’.”
The wish to deepen James Gaffigan’s association with the orchestra came expressly from the orchestra itself, as Georg Heimbach, spokesman of the orchestra board, says: “In James Gaffigan, we are getting a principal guest conductor of the kind we wanted: a charismatic conductor of the young generation who possesses commanding artistic authority and great musical capabilities. His competence, energy and enthusiasm provide an outstanding basis for very promising opera and
concert activities together with our orchestra. We are looking forward to collaborating on many projects with him.”
In the 2012/2013 season, James Gaffigan will conduct the 9th Symphony Concert on 28/29/30 April 2013. The programme includes Alban Berg’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (soloist: Arabella Steinbacher) and Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 2 in C Minor.
Laatste aanpassing op Tuesday 27 March 2012