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JAMES CONLON is one of today’s most versatile and respected conductors. He has conducted virtually every major American and European symphony orchestra and has a led several hundred symphonic and choral works and more than ninety operas. Through worldwide touring, an extensive discography and videography, television appearances and guest speaking engagements, Conlon is one of classical music’s most recognized interpreters.
Conlon is Music Director of Los Angeles Opera, Ravinia Festival (summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra) and Cincinnati May Festival. He has served as Principal Conductor of the Paris National Opera (1995-2004); General Music Director of the City of Cologne, Germany (1989-2002), where he was Music Director of both the Gürzenich Orchestra-Cologne Philharmonic and the Cologne Opera; and Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic (1983-1991).
He has conducted more than 260 performances at the Metropolitan Opera since his first appearance there in 1976. He has appeared at Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera at Covent Garden in London, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and Teatro del Opera di Roma.
He recently led a complete Mahler Symphonies cycle with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the first production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle in Los Angeles, and is currently engaged in a three-year project honoring the centenary of the birth of Britten culminating in 2013.
Conlon has devoted himself to extensive programming of the lesser-known works of composers silenced by the Nazi regime. In 2007 he received the Crystal Globe Award from the Anti-Defamation League for championing these works.
Conlon has recorded for EMI, Erato, Capriccio, Decca and Sony. He has won two Grammy Awards.
He was named Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture, and in 2002, received France's highest distinction from then President of the French Republic Jacques Chirac: the Légion d'Honneur.