Music Director, Brussels Philharmonic
Principal Guest Conductor, The Philadelphia Orchestra
Music Director Designate, St Louis Symphony
Stéphane Denève is Music Director of the Brussels Philharmonic, Principal Guest Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, Music Director Designate of the St Louis Symphony and Director of the Centre for Future Orchestral Repertoire (CffOR). From 2011-2016, he served as Chief Conductor of Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR) and from 2005-2012 as Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Recognised internationally for the exceptional quality of his performances and programming, he regularly appears at major concert venues with the world’s greatest orchestras and soloists. He has a special affinity for the music of his native France, and is a passionate advocate for new music.
He enjoys close relationships with many of the world’s leading solo artists, including Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yo-Yo Ma, Nikolaj Znaider, James Ehnes, Leif Ove Andsnes, Leonidas Kavakos, Nicholas Angelich, Lang Lang, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Gil Shaham, Emanuel Ax, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Lars Vogt, Nikolai Lugansky, Paul Lewis, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, and Nathalie Dessay.
In the field of opera, Stéphane Denève has led productions at the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne Festival, La Scala, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Saito Kinen Festival, Gran Teatro de Liceu, Netherlands Opera, La Monnaie, Deutsche Oper Am Rhein, and at the Opéra National de Paris.
As a recording artist, he has won critical acclaim for his recordings of the works of Poulenc, Debussy, Ravel, Roussel, Franck and Connesson. He is a triple winner of the Diapason d’Or of the Year, has been shortlisted for Gramophone’s Artist of the Year Award, and has won the prize for symphonic music at the International Classical Music Awards. His most recent releases are a disc of the works of Guillaume Connesson with Brussels Philharmonic (awarded the Diapason d’Or de l’année, Caecilia Award, and Classica Magazine’s CHOC of the Year), and a disc with Lucas and Arthur Jussen and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, both for Deutsche Grammophon.
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. A gifted communicator and educator, he is committed to inspiring the next generation of musicians and listeners, and has worked regularly with young people in the programmes of the Tanglewood Music Center and New World Symphony.
For further information, please visit www.stephanedeneve.com
“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.”
“Ending with colossal energy accumulated throughout the four movements, and then exploding in the final bars, Denève captured the most propitious moment, the one we looked forward to since the beginning of the concert. [Roussel, Symphony No.3]”
“… Denève tempered enthusiastic wildness with a sense of poetry, might with a feeling for the distinct personality of orchestral sections and, indeed, discrete instruments … enlightened …”
LA Times March 2017
“… Deneve also has fire in his belly, and it ignited in the Brussels Phil’s electrifying performance of Guillaume Connesson’s Flammenschrift, a pent-up, pile-driving Beethoven tribute whose rhythmic impact and velocity had the small crowd, I kid you not, roaring.”
The Herald Scotland October 2016
“… one of the freshest accounts of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony I’ve heard … no wonder they all loved him in Glasgow when he was Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.”
Music & Vision October 2016
“Conductor Stéphane Denève was also a force of nature … Denève moulded a performance of the Pastoral Symphony that was strong both in atmosphere and colour. Dynamics were subtly shaded, tempi carefully judged. The transitions between peasant merrymaking, storm and shepherds’ hymn were beautifully handled as tension was tightened, relaxed and allowed to blossom into sublime thanksgiving … Many in the audience stood and cheered. And well they might.”
Nottingham Post September 2016
“… a conductor with flair and charisma. His energising presence and the polished sound he drew from his players was a winning formula … There was no doubting the success of this opening concert.”
Classical Source September 2016
“There is a great deal to relish in Denève’s interpretation, not least the hushed opening, the sharp characterisation of the ‘Danse grotesque de Dorcon’ or the liquid ‘Lever du jour’ … Stylistically, Denève is spot on in taste and sonority …”
Gramophone June 2016
“… superb … Under Deneve’s direction, [Connesson’s A Glimmer in the Age of Darkness] came across in a shimmering, light-refracting performance … the results were indelible.”
Mercury News February 2016
“Stéphane Denève is one of the most exciting conductors on the international scene today.”
St. Louis Today February 2015
“The forces of abandonment, madness and death combined at the end in the “Symphonie fantastique,” which Stéphane Denève vividly — no, viscerally — conducted to crown the program … It doesn’t take a French conductor to do French music, but the French Denève looked at this music from the inside out, as well as the other way around … the play of detail in the still new-sounding orchestration was constantly illuminating, creating moment-by-moment intensity that built into a dramatic arch, a vision.”
The Berkshire Eagle August 2014
“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.”
“‘The Firebird’… brought out the best in the orchestra and reaffirmed Deneve’s status as a master colorist with music.”
“…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.”
“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.”