James Conlon, one of today’s most versatile and respected conductors, has cultivated a vast symphonic, operatic and choral repertoire. He has conducted virtually every major American and European symphony orchestra since his debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1974. Through worldwide touring, an extensive discography and videography, numerous essays and commentaries, frequent television appearances and guest speaking engagements, Mr. Conlon has become one of classical music’s most recognized interpreters.
Mr. Conlon is the music director of the LA Opera (2006–) and principal conductor of the RAI National Symphony Orchestra (2016–) in Turin, Italy, where he is the first American to hold the position since the orchestra was founded in 1931. He has been the principal conductor of the Paris Opera (1995–2004); general music director of the City of Cologne, Germany, while simultaneously leading the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne and the Cologne Opera (1989–2003); and music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (1983–1991).
He has served as the music director of the Ravinia Festival (2005–2015), summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Conlon is now a music director laureate of the Cincinnati May Festivalâ€•the oldest choral festival in the United Statesâ€•where he was the music director for 37 years (1979–2016), marking one of the longest tenures of any director of an American classical music institution.
As a guest conductor at the Metropolitan Opera, he has led more than 270 performances since his 1976 debut there. He has also conducted at the leading opera houses of Milan, Vienna, St. Petersburg, London, Rome and Florence.