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 young American conductors working today. In January 2010, he was appointed Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and from the beginning of this season, will start a regular relationship with the Gürzenich Orchestra, Cologne, as Principal Guest Conductor. In addition to subscription concerts, this newly created position will include regular opera productions with Opera Cologne.
In addition to these titled positions, James is in high demand working with leading orchestras and opera houses throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. In recent seasons, James Gaffigan’s guest engagements have included the Munich Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphony Orchestra (Berlin), City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Zurich Tonhalle, Bournemouth Symphony, Camerata Salzburg, Leipzig and Stuttgart Radio Orchestras, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Sao Paolo Symphony and the Qatar Philharmonic. In the States, he has worked with the Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras, San Francisco and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Baltimore and National Symphony Orchestras and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. He enjoys regular return visits with many of these orchestras.
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 young American conductors working today. In January 2010, he was appointed Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and in September 2013 he will take up the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra, Cologne. This newly created position includes both subscription concerts and regular opera productions with Opera Cologne.
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. In recent seasons, James Gaffigan’s guest engagements have included the Munich, London and Rotterdam Philharmonics, Dresden Staatskapelle, Deutsches Symphony Orchestra (Berlin), Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, RSO Berlin, BBC Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Zurich Tonhalle, Bournemouth Symphony, Camerata Salzburg, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Leipzig and Stuttgart Radio Orchestras, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, Sydney Symphony and the Qatar Philharmonic. In the States, he has worked with the Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras, San Francisco and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Baltimore and National Symphony Orchestras and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
This season, Mr Gaffigan will make his debut with the London Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Symphoniker, Orchestre de Paris, Oslo Philharmonic and Dresden Philharmonic Orchestras. He will also return to the MDR Leipzig, Sydney Symphony, Bergen Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestras. In America, he returns to the New World Symphony and to Toronto, Atlanta, St. Louis, Houston and Cincinnati.
As an opera conductor, James Gaffigan made his Vienna State Opera debut in 2011/12 conducting La Bohème and was immediately invited back to conduct Don Giovanni last season. Mr Gaffigan continues his relationship with the Glyndebourne Festival – in 2012, he conducted a production of La Cenerentola and returned for performances of Falstaff this summer 2013. He made his professional opera debut at the Zurich Opera in 2005 conducting La Bohème. In the States, he has conducted Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro at the Aspen Music Festival and The Marriage of Figaro at the Houston Opera.
James Gaffigan’s first recording with the Lucerne Symphony for Harmonia Mundi, an all-Wolfgang Rihm disc, received critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, while the second recording for Harmonia Mundi will be an all-Dvorak disc featuring Symphony No. 6 and the American Suite. He is also in the process of recording the complete Prokofiev symphonies with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and the nine Beethoven symphonies with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra for Naxos.
Born in New York City in 1979, Mr Gaffigan attended the New England Conservatory of Music and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, where he earned his Masters of Music in conducting. He was also chosen to study at the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival and School, and was a conducting fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center.
In 2009, Mr Gaffigan completed a three-year tenure as Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony where he assisted Michael Tilson Thomas, led subscription concerts and was Artistic Director of the orchestra’s Summer 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. James Gaffigan's international career was launched when he was named a first prize winner at the 2004 Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition. He lives in Lucerne with his wife, the writer Lee Taylor Gaffigan, and their daughter Sofia. For more information please visit www.jamesgaffigan.com.
"There is little doubt that James Gaffigan is . . . well on his way to being one of the greats of his generation."TheatreJones, April 2012
"Gaffigan is another gifted young American conductor … He's clear in his beat and gestures, and everything about his conducting tells orchestra players how he feels about the music and what they are to express. Let's have Gaffigan back for more such adventures at Grant Park – and the CSO, for that matter."Chicago Tribune, July 2012
"Gaffigan is one of those rare conductors ... who not only shows you how a piece should sound, but what it means."Toronto Globe and Mail
"This is an absolute knockout ... James Gaffigan's conducting is thrilling in its precision and control."The Guardian, May 2012
"... tying the whole show neatly together is the sparky conducting of ... James Gaffigan. He cooks up a great storm scene, some brilliantly zingy ensembles - and an all-important dash of fairytale suger."The Times, May 2012
"Thanks above all to the brilliant conductor, James Gaffigan [...] we seemed to be experiencing a new production rather than a revival."Johnathon Dean, The Sunday Times , May 2012
"James Gaffigan comes across as a gifted theatre conductor..."Andrew Clark, Ft Online, May 2012
"His conducting style is direct and communicative. He likes to whip up excitement, and he does it well."The Los Angeles Times, March 2012
"What raises this revival above the routine, though, is all-round musical excellence with a superb cast and a performance from the LPO, under James Gaffigan, that drives Rossini’s score with infinite finesse but plenty of bounce and a feeling of joyfulness throughout."What's On Stage, June 2012
"Gaffigan and the ensemble made the piece interesting and satisfying from front to finish, with articulate phrasings and a constant, forward-leaning energy."The Journal Sentinel, April 2012
"James Gaffigan conducted without intrusion, maintaining the pace through the changing moods of chaos and pathos."Ken Wills, Recitative, June 2012
"James Gaffigan conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra expertly- this was excellent Rossini style, beautifully coloured string playing, all as clean and accurate as Rossini needs to be to shine."Capriccio, May 2012
"James Gaffigan comes across as a gifted theatre conductor who knows how to generate Rossinian momentum without hustling or drowning his singers. He gives the London Philharmonic Orchestra its head in the score’s Beethovenian storms, but is otherwise a model of discretion. "The Financial Times, May 2012
"If the Dallas Symphony Orchestra ever gets around to naming another principal guest conductor, James Gaffigan would be worth considering. As in his January 2010 debut with the DSO, the young American demonstrated fastidious command of the orchestra, but also far rarer virtues of musical shape and expressivity."The Dallas Morning News, April 2012
"James Gaffigan assumed his new post as Chief Conductor of the LSO and opened with a brilliant performance of a world premiere. The American conductor, who was born in 1979, will be conducting two-thirds of the concerts in the next six years. If you’re going to do something at all, then you might as well do it properly. With that in mind, James Gaffigan is the best possible person lead the orchestra in this new direction. He seems to understand the young orchestra amazingly well. Brahms’ Second Symphony sounded very convincing. The tone was clear and effortless, gently sung and animated, displaying a subtle rubato and also conveying bite in the forte sections. In addition, the seldom played violin concerto from Brahms’ contemporary, Karl Goldmark, not only complemented the program perfectly, but was also a great example of the way in which programs are made in Lucerne. "Neue Zürcher Zeitung, November 2011
"...There is an evident youthful vigor here, starting with James Gaffigan's consistently inspired conducting. From the first notes of the beloved overture, however, it was evident that he wasn't trying to make the orchestra romantic or heavy handed. He allowed us to hear each line in Mozart's score as if it were a perfectly polished piece of silver in a well-organized place setting..."houston.culturemap.com, April 2011
"...Maestro Gaffigan was off to the races, and conducted this opera with the excitement and fervor as if it were an animated 30 minute symphony, except that it was 3 hours and 15 minutes! He is obviously a talented force to be reckoned with, and is very enjoyable to watch, and listen to..."www.examiner.com, April 2011
"Gaffigan established many facets of the works in the large-scale first movement, the Mozart-like minuet, and the impulsive finale and in doing so, earned himself an extremely warm applause… Successful debut!"http://www.musik-in-dresden.de, December 2010
"Would it be damning with too much faint praise to say that James Gaffigan is the sort of maestro you could take home to meet your mum? Impressive but self-effacing, confident but compliant, chances are that the affable American wouldn’t just praise the supper and ask for seconds, but volunteer to do the washing up as well. "The Times, May 2010