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James Gaffigan

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Recognized worldwide for his natural ease and extraordinary collaborative spirit, American conductor James Gaffigan has attracted international attention for his prowess in both symphonic and operatic repertoire. The mutual trust he builds with artists empowers them to cultivate the highest artistry possible. Gaffigan is uniquely positioned with music directorships at two international opera houses. He is general music director of Komische Oper Berlin, a post he commenced in the 2023-24 season, and since 2021-22, music director of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia, where he has led widely acclaimed productions of Wozzeck, La bohème, and Tristan und Isolde. He also 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 and Opera. In 2021 Gaffigan finished his 10-year tenure as chief conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, 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, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, where he leads a concert production of Cavalleria rusticana. In summer 2023, Gaffigan leads the Metropolitan Opera in its production of La bohème, as well as 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 leads productions of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel, Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. Committed to building and investing in young audiences, and to presenting unflinchingly relevant and inclusive programming, Gaffigan will also lead Komische Oper in special programming for children throughout the season. Passionate about music education and a product of the New York City public school system, James Gaffigan 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 currently exist in performing arts today.

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