James Conlon is Music Director of Los Angeles Opera. This season he brings to a close his thirty-seven year tenure as Music Director of the Cincinnati May Festival, where he will become Conductor Laureate. He also takes up the post of Principal Conductor of the RAI National Symphony Orchestra in Torino, Italy in 2016. Mr. Conlon has served as music director of the Ravinia Festival; principal conductor of the Paris National Opera; general music director of the City of Cologne, Germany, where he was music director of both the Gürzenich Orchestra-Cologne Philharmonic and the Cologne Opera; and music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic. He made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 1978.
Highlights of Mr. Conlon’s tenure with Los Angeles Opera include conducting the first Ring Cycle in Los Angeles, initiating the Recovered Voices series, and spearheading Britten 100/LA, a city-wide celebration honoring the centennial of the composer’s birth. This summer he opens the Italian Spoleto Festival with The Marriage of Figaro and returns to conduct the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra in Saint Petersburg. He has been a regular guest at the Metropolitan Opera, and he has conducted at Teatro alla Scala, Vienna State Opera, Royal Opera at Covent Garden in London, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and Teatro del Opera di Roma.
In an effort to raise awareness of the significance of the lesser-known works of composers silenced by the Nazi regime, Mr. Conlon has devoted himself to extensive programming of this music throughout Europe and North America. For this work, he has been awarded the Roger E. Joseph Prize at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, a Crystal Globe Award from the Anti-Defamation League, and the Zemlinsky Prize for his efforts in bringing that composer’s music to international attention.
Mr. Conlon’s recordings can be found on the Bridge, EMI, Erato, Capriccio, Decca, and Sony Classical labels. His recording of Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny with Los Angeles Opera won Grammy awards for Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording.His latest recordings, released by Bridge Records in the spring of 2016, include John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles with Los Angeles Opera and Nathaniel Dett’s oratorio, The Ordering of Moses with the May Festival Chorus and Cincinnati Symphony at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Conlon was named Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture and, in 2002, he received the Légion d'Honneur from the French government.