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Hailed for the natural ease of his conducting and the compelling insight of his musicianship, JAMES GAFFIGAN continues to attract international attention and is one of the most outstanding American conductors working today. James Gaffigan is currently the Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra. Since taking up this position he has made a very significant impact on the Orchestra’s profile both nationally and internationally with a number of highly successful tours and recordings. In recognition of this success James’ contract has been further extended until 2022. He also holds the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and he was appointed the first Principal Guest Conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra, Cologne in September 2013, a position that was created for him.
In addition to these titled positions, James Gaffigan is in high demand working with leading orchestras and opera houses throughout Europe, the United States, and Asia. The 2015/16 season included debuts with the New York Philharmonic and Bayerische Staatsoper, in a production of Don Giovanni; other return engagements included the Munich and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Dallas Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de France, and the Vienna Staatsoper, where he conducted Le nozze di Figaro.
In the 2016/17 season, James Gaffigan continues to appear across the globe with such orchestras as the Cleveland Orchestra and the Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, Detroit, BBC, Bournemouth, and Sydney symphonies; the Oslo, Seoul, and Los Angeles philharmonics. In Paris he visits the Orchestre de Paris and Orchestre National de France, and he will debut with the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra. Upcoming opera engagements include leading productions at the Chicago Lyric Opera and Washington National Opera.
Other opera appearances have included Vienna Staatsoper, where he has conducted La bohème, Don Giovanni, and Le nozze di Figaro; Glyndebourne Festival with productions of Così fan tutte, La Cenerentola, and Falstaff; as well as Norwegian Opera with La Traviata, Hamburg Opera with Salome, and Zurich Opera conducting La bohème.
In recent seasons, James Gaffigan has also enjoyed guest engagements with the London, Dresden, Czech, and Rotterdam philharmonics, Vienna Symphoniker, Dresden Staatskapelle, Deutsches Symphony Orchestra (Berlin), Konzerthaus Berlin, Zurich Tonhalle, the Gothenburg, Tokyo Metropolitan, and City of Birmingham symphony orchestras, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and the Leipzig, Berlin, and Stuttgart radio orchestras. In the U.S., he has additionally worked with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the St. Louis, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and National symphony orchestras.
Gaffigan was a conducting fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and was part of American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival. In 2009, he completed a three-year tenure as Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony in a position specially created for him by Michael Tilson Thomas. 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. James Gaffigan was also named a first-prize-winner at the 2004 Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition.