James Conlon has served as Music Director of Los Angeles Opera since 2006, the Ravinia Festival since 2005, and of the Cincinnati May Festival since 1979. He has served as principal conductor of the Paris National Opera; general music director of the City of Cologne, where he was music director of both the Gürzenich Orchestra-Cologne Philharmonic and the Cologne Opera; and music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic
Mr. Conlon is currently engaged in a three-year performance cycle of Benjamin Britten’s works in the United States and Europe. This celebration of the composer’s centenary features performances of six different operas at Los Angeles Opera; the three church parables in collaboration with Rome Opera at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli; and concerts of choral and orchestral works. In Los Angeles, he is spearheading Britten 100/LA: A Celebration, a year-long city-wide festival.
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 programming of this music throughout Europe and North America. He received the Crystal Globe Award from the Anti-Defamation League in 2007 and in 1999 he received the Zemlinsky Prize. Mr. Conlon has showcased these composers in the Ravinia Festival’s Breaking the Silence series, and in Los Angeles, he initiated the Recovered Voices project. His work has led to the creation of the OREL Foundation and the Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices at the Colburn School. Mr. Conlon has also devoted his time to teaching at the Juilliard School, New World Symphony, Ravinia Festival, Aspen Music Festival and School, and Tanglewood Music Center.
Mr. Conlon has recorded for the EMI, Erato, Capriccio, Decca, and Sony Classical labels. He won two Grammy awards for Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording for the Los Angeles Opera recording of Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. He holds several honorary doctorates and is a Commander of France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres; he received the Légion d’Honneur in 2002. He made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 1978.