With an extraordinarily diverse repertoire, innovative programming and charismatic performance style, John Axelrod continues to increase his profile as one of today’s leading conductors.
After successful tenures as Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Theater, and as Music Director of the l’Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, in 2011, John Axelrod was appointed Principal Conductor of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano “Giuseppe” Verdi (LaVerdi), extended through the 2017 season, and in 2014 he became the new Artistic and Musical Director of the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla (ROSS). His contract has been unanimously extended through the 2018-2019 season.
Since 2001, Mr. Axelrod has conducted over 160 orchestras around the world, 30 operas and 50 world premieres. Some of his long term relationships with European orchestras include Berlin’s RSB, NDR Symphony Hamburg, hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI Torino, Teatro La Fenice Orchestra in Venice, Teatro San Carlo Orchestra in Naples, Opera di Firenze and the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentina, OSI in Lugano, Camerata Salzburg, the Mariinsky Orchestra, Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, and the Grazer Philharmoniker among many others. In Japan, Mr. Axelrod regularly conducts the Kyoto and NHK Symphony Orchestra. In the USA, Mr. Axelrod has performed often with the Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the National Symphony among others.
Besides his diverse programs of core and contemporary repertoire with the ROSS in Sevilla and La Verdi in Milano, this season Mr. Axelrod is engaged as the Principal Conductor of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, conducts the NHKSO of Tokyo on tour in Japan, debuts with the Hamburger Symphoniker, and returns with Sinfonia Varsovia to the Warsaw Beethoven Festival.
John Axelrod’s opera activity includes Bernstein’s Candide at Théâtre du Châtelet, Teatro alla Scala and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Dove’s Flight for Leipzig Oper, Tristan and Isolde for Angers/Nantes Opera, Eugene Onegin at Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Erwartung, La Dame de Monte Carlo and La Mort de Cléopâtre all for the Spoleto Festival, Kurt Weill’s Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny at the Rome Opera. For the Lucerne Festival from 2004-2009, he has conducted: Rigoletto, The Rake’s Progress, Don Giovanni, the Three Penny Opera, Falstaff and Idomeneo.
Upcoming opera engagements include Martinu’s Mirandolina at Teatro la Fenice in Venice, the world premiere of Fabio Vacchi’s Lo Specchio Magico at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and Korngold Violanta at the Opera di Firenze.
Mr. Axelrod is actively committed to working with young professional musicians, having toured with the Santander Orchestra in Poland, the Schleswig Holstein Festival Orchestra to the Salzburg Festival, the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana in Italy, the Accademia della Scala to Muscat, the NordDeutsche Junge Philharmonie in Germany, and the Vienna Jeunesse Orchester in Austria.
Mr. Axelrod has recorded core and contemporary repertoire for Sony Classical, Warner Classics, Ondine, Universal, Naïve and Nimbus. Mr. Axelrod’s most recent release is a cycle of Brahms Symphonies combined with Clara Schumann lieder entitled Brahms Beloved on Telarc, with Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi and accompanying Dame Felicity Lott, Wolfgang Holzmair, Indra Thomas and Nicole Cabell.
Mr. Axelrod graduated in 1988 from Harvard University. Trained personally by Leonard Bernstein in 1982, he also studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with Ilya Musin in 1996.