Conductor James Gaffigan Leads Inaugural Season as General Music Director Of Komische Oper Berlin

Learn more about his upcoming performances here!

By: Nov. 22, 2023
Conductor James Gaffigan Leads Inaugural Season as General Music Director Of Komische Oper Berlin
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American conductor James Gaffigan is known worldwide for his equal prowess as a conductor of symphony orchestras and opera. Starting with the 2023/2024 season, Gaffigan holds the rare distinction of leading two very different top European opera houses, embarking on his new role as General Music Director at Komische Oper Berlin this season while continuing in his post as Music Director of Spain's Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, home to the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana.

With Komische Oper Berlin, Gaffigan takes on leadership of the orchestra through summer 2027. Speaking to OperaWire on his appointment, Gaffigan commented, "I am proud to be able to shape this institution in the future as General Music Director and a member of the artistic management team, together with the wonderful orchestra and the entire ensemble. I am grateful that I have been able to enjoy an intensive education and cultural experience since my early childhood, which would not have been possible without the public education system of the city of New York, since I inherently lacked the means. I, therefore, also see my task of giving something back with this gift. I'm looking forward to doing that at the Komische Oper Berlin."

Gaffigan's inaugural season with Komische Oper Berlin begins Friday, December 8, 2023 with 1923, A Documentary Symphonic Concert - a program celebrating works by Bartók, Walter Kollo and Darius Milhaud that all premiered in 1923. His season continues December 15, 2023 to January 21, 2024 with Tchaikovsky's lyric opera Eugene Onegin, along with a New Year's Concert featuring two Turkish superstar musicians, Cem Adrian and Fazıl Say. From January 28, 2024 to March 20, 2024, Gaffigan leads Komische Oper Berlin in Rimsky-Korsakov's The Golden Cockerel. On Saturday, February 10, 2024, he conducts Bowie Meets Bruckner, a program juxtaposing two "masters of opulence": the 19th century Austrian composer and the British glam rocker, who recorded his landmark album Heroes in Berlin and had close ties to the city. Bringing unique ambience to the occasion, this program will be held at Berlin's Vollgutlager, an industrial-style artistic space constructed on the site of the former Kindl Brewery.

From March 15 to April 13, 2024, Gaffigan goes on to conduct Wagner's Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman). On Friday, March 22, 2024 he leads a Children's Concert featuring works by Gershwin, Liszt and Edward MacDowell. On Friday, April 12, 2024 he conducts Go East!, a program dedicated to the composers of eastern Germany, from Bach to Siegfried Matthus, esteemed composer of the mid-20th century's divided Germany. Gaffigan's season with Komische Oper Berlin closes April 27 through May 26, 2024, with Mozart's Le Nozze Di Figaro, directed by the multi-award-winning Kirill Serebrennikov - recently noted for continuing to direct remotely while serving a two-year house arrest in Moscow, widely seen as state retaliation for his liberal and pro-LGBTQ stances.

James Gaffigan 2023-2024 Komische Oper Berlin Calendar
Friday, December 8, 2023
Komische Oper Berlin Symphonic: 1923, A Documentary Symphonic Concert
Berlin, Germany
Link: Click here

December 15, 2023 - January 21, 2024
Komische Oper Berlin: Eugene Onegin
Berlin, Germany
Link: Click here

Monday, January 1, 2024
Komische Oper Berlin: New Years' Concert
Berlin, Germany
Link: Click here

January 28 - March 20, 2024
Komische Oper Berlin: The Golden Cockerel
Berlin, Germany
Link: Click here

Saturday, February 10, 2024
Komische Oper Berlin: Bowie Meets Bruckner
Berlin, Germany
Link: Click here

March 15 - April 13, 2024
Komische Oper Berlin: Der Fliegende Holländer
Berlin, Germany
Link: Click here

Friday, March 22, 2024
Komische Oper Berlin: Children's Concert
Berlin, Germany
Link: Click here

Friday, April 12, 2024
Komische Oper Berlin: Go East!
Berlin, Germany
Link: Click here

April 27 - May 26, 2024
Komische Oper Berlin: Le Nozze Di Figaro
Berlin, Germany
Link: Click here

About James Gaffigan

Recognized worldwide for his natural ease and extraordinary collaborative spirit, American conductor James Gaffigan has attracted international attention for his prowess as a conductor of both symphony orchestras and opera. The mutual trust he builds with artists empowers them to cultivate the highest art possible.

Gaffigan is uniquely positioned with Music Directorships at two international opera houses. He is the General Music Director of Komische Oper Berlin, a post that commences this 2023/2024 season, and is in his second season as Music Director of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia, where he led widely acclaimed productions of Wozzeck, La Bohème and Tristan und Isolde. He additionally serves as Music Director of the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra, where he champions the education of promising young musicians. The 2022/23 season marked Gaffigan's final season as Principal Guest Conductor of both the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra & Opera. In 2021, Gaffigan finished his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, a position he held for 10 years, where he raised the orchestra's international profile with highly successful recordings and tours abroad.

Gaffigan is in high demand with leading orchestras and opera companies throughout North America and Europe. In the 2023/24 season, he returns to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the St. Louis Symphony, where he leads a concert production of Cavalleria Rusticana. In Summer 2023, Gaffigan leads the Metropolitan Opera in their production of La Bohème, as well as the Orchestra de Paris with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra.

In his first season as General Music Director of the Komische Oper Berlin, Gaffigan will lead productions of Eugene Onegin, The Golden Cockerel, Der Fliegende Holländer and Le Nozze Di Figaro during the 2023/24 season. Committed to building and investing in young audiences, and presenting unflinchingly relevant and inclusive programming, Gaffigan will also lead Komische Oper in special programming for children throughout the season.

Recent orchestral appearances include London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Wiener Symphoniker, Münchner Philharmoniker, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Norske Opera and Ballet, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Staatskapelle Berlin, Czech Philharmonic and Luzerner Symphonieorchester. In North America, Gaffigan regularly works with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Toronto Symphony Orchestra, among others.

A regular at the Metropolitan Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, and Opéra National de Paris, Gaffigan has also conducted the Zürich Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Staatsoper Hamburg, Dutch National Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Santa Fe Opera.

Gaffigan was first prize winner of the 2004 Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition, which opened Europe's doors to him as a young American. In 2009, he completed a three-year tenure as Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, a position created for him by Michael Tilson Thomas. Prior to that, he was Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, where he worked with Music Director Franz Welser-Möst. Gaffigan is an alumnus of the Aspen Music Festival's Aspen Conducting Academy and the Tanglewood Music Center.

Passionate about music education and a product of the New York City public school system, Gaffigan grew up in New York City and studied at the LaGuardia High School of Music and Art before pursuing his conducting studies. He believes that access to music education is the method by which America's concert halls will finally begin to reflect our community and shrink the racial and gender gaps that exist in performing arts today. Learn more at www.jamesgaffigan.com.

Photo Credit: Miguel Lorenzo



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