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American conductor JAMES GAFFIGAN is praised for the precision and natural ease of his conducting and the illuminating insight of his musicianship. His passionate and energetic performances and ability to connect deeply with audiences and musicians have attracted international attention, both for his work with orchestras on the concert stage, as well as in the pit at the most prestigious opera houses. Gaffigan was recently appointed Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and he assumed both positions in the summer of 2011.
Gaffigan is repeatedly sought after as guest conductor with North America’s most prominent orchestras, including the Cleveland and Minnesota orchestras, the Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, New World, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and Toronto symphonies, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. During the 2011/12 season he debuts with the Atlanta Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and makes return visits leading the Baltimore, Dallas, Milwaukee, National, and Toronto symphonies as well as the Minnesota Orchestra. Recent and upcoming festival appearances include conducting at the Aspen, Blossom, Grant Park, and Grand Teton music festivals as well as at Spoleto Festival USA.
Gaffigan’s international career was launched when he was named a first-prize winner at the 2004 Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition in Frankfurt, Germany. Since then he has worked with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne, the Tonhalle Orchestra, the Camerata Salzburg, the Munich, and Rotterdam philharmonics, the Deutsches Symphony Orchestra Berlin, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, among others. This season, in addition to his engagements with the Lucerne Symphony and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Gaffigan makes his debuts with the Czech, Dresden, and London philharmonics.
Gaffigan made his professional opera debut at the Zurich Opera, conducting Puccini’s La bohème, in 2005. Since then he has conducted performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro at the Aspen Music Festival and in the fall of 2009 he led a production of Falstaff for “Glyndebourne on Tour.” He returned to Glyndebourne in the summer of 2010 to share a production of Così fan tutte with Sir Charles Mackerras and in 2012 leads a Glyndebourne production of La Cenerentola. Gaffigan made his critically acclaimed debut at Houston Grand Opera conducting Le nozze di Figaro in the spring of 2011. In the fall of 2011 he made his debut with the Vienna State Opera leading La bohème and the Lucerne Opera conducting Lucia di Lammermoor.
In 2009 Gaffigan completed his three-year tenure as Associate Conductor with the San Francisco Symphony, where he assisted Michael Tilson Thomas, led subscription concerts, and was Artistic Director of the orchestra’s Summer in the City festival. Prior to that appointment, he was the Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, where he worked under Music Director Franz Welser-Möst from 2003 through 2006.
A New York City native, Gaffigan resides in Lucerne with his wife, Lee Taylor Gaffigan, and his daughter, Sofia. He is also an enthusiastic gourmand; his blogs, which can be found on his website, jamesgaffigan.com, frequently contain restaurant and wine recommendations along with his experiences as he travels the world as a conductor. Gaffigan can also be found on Twitter (@jamesgaffigan) and Facebook.