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Stéphane Denève is Chief Conductor of Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR) and the former Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO). Recognised internationally for the exceptional quality of his performances and programming, he regularly appears at major concert venues with the world’s leading orchestras and soloists.  He has a special affinity for the music of his native France, and is also a champion of new music. Recent European engagements have included appearances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestra Sinfonica dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin and Swedish Radio Symphony.  In North America he made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2012 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, with whom he is a frequent guest both in Boston and at Tanglewood, and he appears regularly with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony. He enjoys close relationships with many of the world's leading solo artists, including Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Leif Ove Andsnes, Yo-Yo Ma, Leonidas Kavakos, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Nikolaj Znaider, Gil Shaham, Piotr Anderszewski, Emanuel Ax, Lars Vogt, Nikolai Lugansky,

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Stéphane Denève is Chief Conductor of Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR) and the former Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO).

Recognised internationally for the exceptional quality of his performances and programming, he regularly appears at major concert venues with the world’s leading orchestras and soloists.  He has a special affinity for the music of his native France, and is also a champion of new music.

Recent European engagements have included appearances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestra Sinfonica dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin and Swedish Radio Symphony.  In North America he made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2012 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, with whom he is a frequent guest both in Boston and at Tanglewood, and he appears regularly with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony.

He enjoys close relationships with many of the world's leading solo artists, including Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Leif Ove Andsnes, Yo-Yo Ma, Leonidas Kavakos, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Nikolaj Znaider, Gil Shaham, Piotr Anderszewski, Emanuel Ax, Lars Vogt, Nikolai Lugansky, Paul Lewis, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Vadim Repin, and Nathalie Dessay.

In the field of opera, Stéphane Denève has led productions at the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne Festival, La Scala, Saito Kinen Festival, Gran Teatro de Liceu, Netherlands Opera, La Monnaie, Opéra National de Paris, the Teatro Comunale Bologna, and Cincinnati Opera.

As a recording artist, Stéphane Denève has won critical acclaim for his recordings of the works of Poulenc, Debussy, Roussel, Franck and Connesson.  He is a double winner of the Diapason d’Or de l’année, was shortlisted in 2012 for Gramophone’s Artist of the Year Award, and won the prize for symphonic music at the 2013 International Classical Music Awards.

A graduate and prize-winner of the Paris Conservatoire, Stéphane Denève worked closely in his early career with Sir Georg Solti, Georges Prêtre and Seiji Ozawa.  He is committed to inspiring the next generation of musicians and listeners, and works regularly with young people in the programmes of the Tanglewood Music Center and New World Symphony.

For further information, please visit www.stephanedeneve.com

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Reviews

"It might seem reductive to limit a musician to national specialities, but having heard Denève’s Berlioz, Debussy and Roussel in concert, his captivating disc of Poulenc with the Stuttgart orchestra he commands and now his Ravel, I can honestly say there’s no conductor alive I’d rather hear in French music."

TheArtsDesk.com

"This is what going to the symphony should be like. Hearing a live orchestra has the potential to illicit visceral reactions, to make your hair stand on end, to give you goose bumps, to make you teary-eyed. Based upon the roaring ovation that Denève received at the end of 'The Firebird', which concluded the entire program, Philadelphia seems to know how lucky it is to have him, even if only for a couple of weeks."

BachTrack

"'The Firebird'… brought out the best in the orchestra and reaffirmed Deneve's status as a master colorist with music."

Philadelphia Daily News

"…main observations must centre on two elements: first, Denève's maturity in penetrating the core of [Mahler’s Sixth] symphony with his realising in sound that, musically, the symphony is all about the semitone: a single step between major and minor; a mere blink between joy and heartbreak; an intake of breath that signals a transformation of mood and emotional temperature; the infinitesimal difference between a smile and a tear. And second, the rock solid structure and immensely expressive variation the conductor released from the score, all played with amazing integrity and balance by his stunning orchestra."

Herald Scotland

"Stephane Denève’s Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra make an astonishing rich, dark sound… In a great performance [of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony], the minutes fly by… Denève’s tempi were well-chosen in the extreme – the first movement’s march theme never feeling rushed, the glorious second subject’s ebb and flow beautifully caught. The pastoral idyll at the centre was sublime… Denève’s first movement coda was brazenly exultant, the Scherzo’s opening bars consequently more oppressive. The Trio’s rhythmic quirkiness was nicely caught, and the movement’s deathly, exhausted winding down was sheer perfection. Performances this good lead you to believe that a triumphant ending could just be within reach, making the last minute collapse that more alarming… the stunned silence which greeted the last note spoke volumes. Unmissable."

TheArtsDesk.com

"Over the past nine years of regular visits to Toronto, Denève has proven himself to be a reliably fascinating musical sculptor… Those who attended were treated to spectacular musicmaking – nowhere more evident than in the Britten [Violin] Concerto."

Musical Toronto

"At the hands of a master like Denève, it sounded alive, relevant and riveting… This week’s Toronto Symphony concerts with maestro Denève are not examples of light family entertainment; they are showcases of powerful musicianship, artfully applied."

Musical Toronto

"In the decade since he made his debut with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, conductor Stéphane Denève has gone from strength to strength, adding to his interpretive abilities and building understandings with the players that deepen the effects of their joint music-making… the music he makes with the SLSO is consistently riveting."

St Louis Post

"Denève conducted with his customary physically emotive style. The large crowd hooted its delight... Denève set tempos with great momentum and drama, which brought an expansiveness and lilt to the countless melodies. He also capitalized on the orchestra’s ability to go from feathery delicacy to flexing its muscles at full throttle. Dynamic levels were large and subtle, and he didn’t hesitate to push and pull at phrases. Although everything sounded exceptional, the swirling dance of the third movement [of Dvorak’s Symphony No.8 in G Major] and the grand splash of the finale were pretty terrific."

Daily Gazette

"Among the night’s greatest pleasures was guest conductor Stéphane Denève’s stylish, swaggering romp through Gershwin’s ‘An American in Paris’... As a Parisian in America, Denève was especially ebullient on the podium as he reveled in the taxi-horn cacophony depicting the street life of the French capital in the 1920s."

Berkshire Eagle

"French conductor Stéphane Denève, again proving himself a good match with the BSO, built the eclectic program around the idea of transcendence over death... Denève knows the work [Poulenc’s Stabat Mater] inside and out, having recorded it. The festival chorus and soprano Lucy Crowe joined him and the BSO in an austerely beautiful portrayal of the grieving mother at the cross."

Berkshire Eagle

"Conductor Stéphane Denève and pianist Cédric Tiberghien treated Blossom Music Center to expert, scintillating performances of works by four French masters... Debussy’s “La Mer” afforded… [great] insight into Denève’s artistry. That the conductor, former music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, recorded the work recently, along with the rest of Debussy’s orchestral music, was abundantly clear from the insightful, engaging performance he elicited… Denève immersed himself in Debussy’s restless, ever-changing music. Certain elements were consistent: suavity, taut dynamics, exceptional refinement. But whether the musical currents ran strongly or gently, whether the waves were rollers or whitecaps, were moment-by-moment decisions... Rounded out by the Kent/Blossom Chamber Orchestra, the ensemble under Denève literally danced the night away, sending off the crowd with a sumptuous performance [of Ravel’s ‘La Valse’] that concluded in exactly the right spot: one step away from over the top."

cleveland.com

"Poulenc’s effervescent score has rarely sparkled as much as it does here. Stéphane Denève’s wind players are suitably cheeky, and the trumpets are magnificent – sample the languid solos in the bittersweet Adagietto… Such a potent work; Denève’s performance will leave even atheists and agnostics rheumy-eyed."

TheArtsDesk.com

"A faultless performance for the conductor Stéphane Denève whose work with French music continues to yield fruit with an album of Poulenc, performed by SWR Stuttgart"

Diapason

"With the right conductor, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is as good as the world’s best orchestras… They handed an enraptured audience the proof at Roy Thomson Hall on Wednesday night with the help of guest French conductor Stéphane Denève... Denève managed to saturate the already colourful and theatrical music with even more colour and imbue it with a master storyteller’s sense of spontaneity... In a mark of a great conductor, he had an iron grip on both aspects of this piece. The biggest revelation of all was how Denève managed to make the work sound fresh and in the moment. Throughout, he emphasized much detail in an overwrought score without ever losing momentum or musical meaning. It’s hard to imagine hearing this piece, or any of the others on this program, played any better."

The Star, Toronto

"The ebullient Stéphane Denève turned out to be what was needed... Denève tapped into the minute details of Debussy's sprawling orchestral descriptions of Spain, Scotland... giving the music an almost 3D physicality, though not with the usual soft-focus Impressionist lens. Strings had a raw edge; this music isn't merely pretty."

The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Under his baton, the [New World Symphony] Orchestra gave a richly colored, brilliantly played performance. The quick running melody of the Waltz was pulsing and dramatic under Denève’s baton, as he made the melody slow and accelerate in a way that suggested the growing passion of the dancers."

South Florida Classical Review

"Denève handles [the Spider's Banquet] with great subtlety and refinement, the woodwind detail crisply defined against the veils of strings. It's paired with the two short orchestral suites Roussel extracted from his only full-length stage work, the opera-ballet Padmâvatî... In performance, the complete work is problematic, but the dance interludes are arguably its best moments, and Denève and his orchestra present them very convincingly."

The Guardian

"Stéphane Denève... struck sparks with the [Chicago Symphony] orchestra in a deftly balanced French and Russian program. Denève... clearly knows what he wants in his performances and has the intelligence, podium skill, and engaging personality to obtain it."

Chicago Classical Review

"The Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut of the gifted French conductor Stephane Denève... showed what can be achieved when forces of nature come together. Throughout the concert you were aware of an artist of vigorous command and probing insight, challenging the players to take risks and to dig as deeply into the music as possible. Conductors of this quality don't come along very often, and, when they do, attention must be paid and admiration extended. Denève is a kinetic presence on the podium, very articulate in his gestures and body language, in a way that pulls detail from the music without marring the integrity of the whole. He has a way of galvanizing orchestral musicians, as if invisible arcs of electricity were emanating from his fingertips."

Chicago Tribune

"The French conductor Stéphane Denève made thrilling debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Thursday night. Throughout the suite, Denève conducted with a precision and clarity that lent the music not only freshness but also a seeming weightlessness."

Chicago on the Aisle.com

"[Eric Le Sage] and Denève, one of the best of the guests, seemed to be in perfect sympathy with one another. The orchestra was entirely together here, for a noteworthy performance."

STL Today

"[The second half] comprised a burnished and splendidly thought-out rendering of Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony. This magnificent work got the warm sound it needed, but more than this. A nondemonstrative Frenchman, Denève regulated the sweep to climaxes with sense as well as affection. His dignified interpretation placed the work in the front ranks, where it belongs."

The Ampersand

"Denève is elegant in gesture, avoids “dances on the stand” and is mostly disciplined and striking. He succeeded the most in Ravel with a vital telling gestus: subtle play of the sound colours and rhythmic conciseness of the Danse general. He opened the dynamic widely and allowed the musicians space. The audience reacted with cheering."

Stuttgarter Nachrichten

"Enter Stephane Denève, an excitable French conductor stepping in to replace Sir Colin Davis in this week’s BSO concerts. And so it came across in the charged and characterful account he led from memory, drawing out the modern rhythmic energy and compressed power of the first movement, the protean charms of the adagio, the featherweight frivolity of its third movement marked vivace, and the playful seriousness of the score’s final pages. It was a pleasure to have it delivered with such impassioned advocacy."

The Boston Globe

"Stephane Denève, one of the ensemble’s most impressive guest conductors in recent seasons, returned to lead a concert that mixed familiar chestnuts with a rarely heard dance score and a gleaming contemporary sound portrait of the cosmos. This gifted French conductor brings Gallic lightness and transparency of texture to the music of his countrymen, igniting strongly placed instrumental timbres that surprise the ear and senses, even in the most familiar scores. Deneve possesses the podium mastery of Pierre Boulez without that conductor’s intellectual chilliness."

South Florida Classical Review

"The performances, which featured much-loved repeat French visitors, conductor Stéphane Denève and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, were nothing short of fantastic. The ensemble was technically sharp, finely balanced and intensely responsive to the wishes of its leader. Denève shone golden light through some pretty dense orchestrations, while giving the musical narrative compelling shapes and textures."

The Star

"This is sensualism of the highest finesse. Stephane Denève dabs Ravel’s fairytale pictures “Ma mere l’oye” to the the limit of fragility, elegant and full of... transparency. Like a good painter Denève knows how to increase the magnificence of colors, by setting them clearly against each other and makes their mixture understandable."

Sueddeutsche Zeitung

"Denève conducted a vivid performance of Ravel’s La valse, paced to perfection."

Classical Source

"Stéphane Denève's Roussel cycle for Naxos easily has been the finest ever recorded, and this concluding disc fully lives up to expectations."

Classics Today

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Discography

  • Stéphane Denève

    Poulenc: Stabat Mater / Les Biches 2013

  • Stéphane Denève

    Debussy: Orchestra Music 2012

  • Stéphane Denève

    Roussel: Le Festin de l’araignée (The Spider’s Banquet)/ Padmavati Suites 1 & 2 2011

  • Stéphane Denève

    Connesson: Cosmic Trilogy/ The Shining One 2010

  • Stéphane Denève

    Roussel: Symphony No. 4; Rapsodie flamande; Petite Suite; Sinfonietta - with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra 2010

  • Stéphane Denève

    César Franck: Symphonic Variations; Piano Pieces - with Bertrand Chamayou and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra 2010

  • Stéphane Denève

    Roussel: Symphony No. 1; Résurrection; Le marchand de sable qui passe - with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra 2009

  • Stéphane Denève

    Roussel: Symphony No. 2 / Pour une fete de printemps / Suite in F major - with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra 2008

  • Stéphane Denève

    Roussel: Bacchus et Ariane (Complete Ballet); Symphony No. 3 - with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra 2007

  • Stéphane Denève

    Prokofiev: L’Amour des Trois Oranges (DVD) - with the Rotterdam Philharmonic / Netherlands Opera Chorus and Martial Defontaine / François le Roux / Sandrine Piau / Alain Vernhes / Sir Willard White 2006

  • Stéphane Denève

    Poulenc: Concerto pour 2 pianos; Concerto pour piano; Aubade - with the Liège Philharmonic Orchestra and Frank Braley / Eric Le Sage 2004

  • Stéphane Denève

    Lalo / Schumann - Cello Concertos - with Emmanuelle Bertrand and the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra 1999

  • Stéphane Denève

    Thomas: Mignon - with the Théâtre Français de la Musique and Franck Cassard / Alain Gabriel / Annick Massis / Lucile Vignon Accord, 1999