Kent Nagano is renowned for interpretations of clarity, elegance and intelligence. He is equally at home in music of the classical, romantic and contemporary eras, introducing concert and opera audiences throughout the world to new and rediscovered music and offering fresh insights into established repertoire. Since September 2006 he has been Music Director of Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and became Artistic Advisor and Principal Guest Conductor of Gothenburg Symphony in 2013. In 2015 he will take up the position of General Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra.
At the Bayerische Staatsoper, where he was General Music Director from 2006 – 2013, he commissioned new operas from Jörg Widmann Babylon, Wolfgang Rihm Das Gehege and Unsuk Chin Alice in Wonderland and new productions there have included Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov and Khovanshchina,Idomeneo, Eugene Onegin, Ariadne auf Naxos, Die Schweigsame Frau, Les Dialogues des Carmélites, St François d'Assise, Wozzeck, George Benjamin'sWritten on Skin and Der Ring des Nibelungen. With the Bayerisches Staatsorchester Nagano has toured throughout Europe and in Japan and together they have recorded Bruckner Symphonies No. 4, 7 and 8.
In September 2011, Kent Nagano and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal inaugurated their new concert hall La Maison Symphonique. Highlights with the orchestra include the complete cycles of Beethoven and Mahler symphonies, Schoenberg's Gurrelieder, concert versions of Wagner's Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde, Das Rheingold, Honegger's Jeanne d'Arc au Bûcher, Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise, and concert series featuring the works of Dutilleux (2010-2011) and Boulez (2011-2012). Nagano has taken the orchestra on a coast-to-coast tour of Canada and also to Japan, South Korea, Europe and South America. Their recordings together include the Juno award winning album "Ideals of the French Revolution" with Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde and Beethoven's Piano Concertos Nos. 4 & 5, as part of a recording of all the Symphonies by Beethoven. The Symphonies No. 3, 6, 8 & 9 have also been released by Sony Classical/Analekta.
As a much sought after guest conductor, Nagano has worked with most of the world's finest orchestras including the Vienna, Berlin and New York Philharmonics, Chicago Symphony, Dresden Staatskapelle and Leipzig Gewandhaus. He has an ongoing relationship with Sony Classical and has also recorded for Erato, Teldec, Pentatone and Deutsche Grammophon as well as Harmonia Mundi, winning Grammy awards for his recordings of Busoni's Doktor Faust with Opéra National de Lyon, Peter and the Wolf with the Russian National Orchestra and Saariaho's L'amour de Loin with the Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin.
A very important period in Nagano's career was his time as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, from 2000-2006. He performed Schönberg's Moses und Aron with the orchestra (in collaboration with Los Angeles Opera), and took them to the Salzburg Festival to perform both Zemlinsky's Der König Kandaules and Schreker's Die Gezeichneten, as well as to the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden with Parsifal and Lohengrin in productions by Nikolaus Lehnhoff. Recordings with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin for Harmonia Mundi include repertoire as diverse as Bernstein's Mass, Bruckner's Symphonies Nos. 3 & 6, Beethoven's Christus am Ölberge, Wolf Lieder, Mahler's Symphony No. 8 and Schönberg's Die Jakobsleiter and Friede auf Erden, as well as Brahms's Symphony No. 4 and Schönberg's Variationen für Orchester Op. 31. In June 2006, at the end of his tenure with the orchestra, Kent Nagano was given the title Honorary Conductor by members of the orchestra, only the second recipient of this honour in their 60-year history.
Kent Nagano became the first Music Director of Los Angeles Opera in 2003 having already held the position of Principal Conductor for two years. His work in other opera houses has included Shostakovich's The Nose (Staatsoper Berlin), Rimsky Korsakov's The Golden Cockerel (Châtelet, Paris), Hindemith'sCardillac (Opéra national de Paris), Dialogues des Carmélites (Metropolitan Opera) and at the Salzburg Festival Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Zemlinsky's Der Koenig Kandaules, Schreker's Die Gezeichneten and the world premiere of Saariaho's L'amour de loin. Other world premieres include Bernstein's A White House Cantata and operas by Peter Eötvös (Three Sisters), and John Adams (The Death of Klinghoffer and El Niño).
Born in California, Nagano maintains close connections with his home state and was Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra from 1978-2008. His early professional years were spent in Boston, working in the opera house and as assistant conductor to Seiji Ozawa at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He played a key role in the world premiere of Messiaen's opera Saint François d'Assise at the request of the composer, who became a mentor and bequeathed his piano to the conductor. Nagano's success in America led to European appointments: Music Director of Opéra National de Lyon (1988-1998) and Music Director of the Hallé Orchestra (1991-2000).
Acclaimed as the "leading coloratura soprano in the world" (New York Sun), Diana Damrau continues to amaze audiences with her unique voice and arresting stage presence. A regular guest at the most renowned opera companies and concert halls, she was awarded the title Bayerische Kammersängerin in 2007 and named "Best Female Singer" at the 2014International Opera Awards.
The 2014/15 season sees Diana Damrau performing a broad range of repertoire both on the operatic and concert stages of the world. She begins the season at Theater an der Wien where she stars in a new production of Bizet's Les pecheurs des perles, followed by her return to the Bayerische Staatsoper for a new production of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, a role she reprises for Milan's Teatro alla Scala later in the season. She sings Massenet's Manon at the Metropolitan Opera and, Adina in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore for Zurich Opera before returning to Baden-Baden's Festspielhaus to debut Contessa Almaviva in concert performances of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, recorded for Deutsche Grammophon. Diana Damrau can be heard in concert and recital extensively this season. She sings Belcanto-themed gala concerts amongst other in Prague, Amsterdam, Baden-Baden, Geneva, Munich, Frankfurt and Vienna and appears in recital in Vienna, Milan, Madrid, Paris and Graz. Diana Damrau further joins the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra for their New Year's concerts and appears in concert with the Vienna Philharmonic during the Salzburg Mozart Week as well as at New York's Carnegie Hall for a performance of Brahms' Requiem.
Over the last seasons, Diana Damrau has extended her repertoire to include some new signature roles such as Philine (Mignon) and Elvira (I puritani) with Grand Théâtre de Genève, Linda di Chamounix with Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, and Lucia di Lammermoor and Amina in La sonnambula for the Metropolitan Opera In 2011, the soprano scored a tremendous success with her rendition of the three soprano roles in Les contes d'Hoffmann at the Bavarian State Opera. In 2013, she sang Gilda in a new production of Rigoletto at the Metropolitan Opera New York, where she also made her acclaimed role debut as Verdi's La traviata, a role that she also performed in a season-opening new production at Milan's Teatro alla Scala, a new production for Opéra de Paris, as well as performances with the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and Zurich Opera.
As a member of the ensembles at Mannheim National Theatre and Frankfurt Opera, Diana Damrau began her international career with much-praised guest appearances as Queen of the Night, Zerbinetta and Adele (Die Fledermaus) in Munich, Berlin and Vienna. Free-lancing since 2002, she took on the female lead in the world premiere of Cerha's Der Riese vom Steinfeld at Vienna State Opera and was hailed by the critics for her UK debut as Queen of the Night (2003), as well as her spectacular rendition of the title role in Salieri's L'Europa riconosciuta at the re-opening of Milan's La Scala (2004). Other noteworthy engagements include Gym Instructress/Drunken Woman in the world premiere of Lorin Maazel's 1984 at Covent Garden, Susanna at La Scala, Konstanze at Vienna's Burgtheater, Zerbinetta at Teatro Real Madrid, Gilda at Semperoper Dresden, Gretel at Covent Garden, Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier) at Baden-Baden Festival Hall, and her role debuts as Marie (La fille du régiment, San Francisco), Donna Anna (Geneva), Massenet's Manon (Vienna), Aminta (Munich), and the world premiere of A Harlot's Progress at Theater an der Wien.
An audience favourite at New York's Metropolitan Opera, Diana has returned to New York every year since 2005, tackling Zerbinetta, Rosina, Aithra, Konstanze, Gilda, Lucia, Marie, Adèle (Le comte Ory) and Adina, and causing a sensation by singing both her first Pamina and her last Queen of the Night in a 2007 run of Die Zauberflöte. In Europe, she has close ties with the Salzburg Festival, where her 2001 debut was followed by appearances as Queen of the Night, Blonde, Konstanze, Fauno, Susanna, and a solo recital in 2014. Diana Damrau works regularly with an illustrious list of conductors includes Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Sir Colin Davis, Ivor Bolton, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Kent Nagano, Fabio Luisi, Jérémie Rhorer, Dan Ettinger and Christian Thielemann.
In addition to her achievements in opera, Diana has established herself as one of today's finest lieder singers and gives recitals with pianists like Helmut Deutsch, Julius Drake and Matthias Lademann at renowned venues including Berlin's Philharmonie, Vienna's Musikverein, London's Wigmore Hall, New York's Carnegie Hall, the Salzburg Festival and the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg. Her extraordinary musical partnership with harpist Xavier de Maistre is documented in the form of a CD release (Nuit d'étoiles) and a DVD released in 2013.
Recording exclusively for EMI/Virgin Classics, now Erato, Diana Damrau made her recording debut with Arie di Bravura which received enthusiastic reviews and prestigious awards. Subsequent solo projects include recordings of Mozart arias (Donna), coloratura pieces of the romantic period (COLORaturaS), orchestral songs by Richard Strauss (Poesie, awarded with the ECHO Klassik in 2011) and songs by Franz Liszt. Diana Damrau's discography is rounded off by various opera, concert and recital recordings on different labels. TV broadcasts, most notably from the opening gala of the 2006 Soccer World Cup in Munich, have made her well-known to the general public. In autumn 2013, her album Forever with melodies from operetta, film and musical was released and awarded with an ECHO Klassik in 2014. 2015 sees the release of a Belcanto-themed recording.A documentary on her life, directed by Beatrix Conrad and entitled Diana Damrau – Divine Diva, was first aired on the French-German TV channel arte in February 2011.
A native of Günzburg an der Donau/Germany, Diana Damrau studied voice with Carmen Hanganu at Wurzburg Conservatory and with Hanna Ludwig in Salzburg. She made her professional operatic debut at Würzburg's Mainfrankentheater in 1995.
- See more at: http://diana-damrau.com/biography/#sthash.DB0LH8zV.dpuf
Kent Nagano - Verbier Festival 2013 - Wallcast Interview
Kent Nagano on how he met Frank Zappa
Kent Nagano stops by at a McGill Symphony Orchestra rehearsal
Filmtrailer "Der Traum des Kent Nagano"
One day, Kent Nagano was listening carefully as his wife was singing a children's song to their daughter. The song told a chapter of Japanese history previously unknown to him: It told of emotion, tenderness, love – and bitterness. The song originated from a period when Japan had to open up to the West. At this time, Japan was suffering from overpopulation, starvation and poverty. In Japan, the songs that enchanted Nagano are commonly known as SHOKA, or school hymns. They are based on famous Japanese poetry, but are composed in the Western musical style. The songs' haunting, mysterious beauty have continued to entice all generations since their creation making them actual and vividly relevant to our modern world.
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Although the Metropolitan Opera has canceled the rest of its 2019-2020 season, the great world opera house is offering a fifth slate of its its very popular Live in HD series of free streamed performances every night this week. The lineup for April 13 through April 19 includes classics by Puccini, Rossini, Dvořák, Mussorgsky, Cilea and Richard Strauss. The streams go live each night on the Met's website at 7:30pm (Eastern Daylight Time); you can watch them through the Met Opera on Demand app on multiple devices. Each production remains up for 23 hours until 6:30pm the following day. PHOTO: Ken Howard
READ THE FULL ARTICLE & The full schedule
Leonard Bernstein's arguably waning importance as a serious composer in the later stages of his unprecedented career will come in for renewed scrutiny as the Bernstein centennial juggernaut rolls on this year and into 2019 (and even beyond). The blast of Bernsteiniana that Ravinia has scheduled for the summer under conductor Marin Alsop's curatorship will rebut that assertion with, among other events, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra premiere of the composer's controversial 1971 theater piece "Mass."
Meanwhile, the CSO is focusing on key symphonic works from the period of Bernstein's greatest promise - the 1940s and '50s - including, as part of its Easter weekend program under Kent Nagano's direction, the 1949 Symphony No. 2 ("Age of Anxiety").
READ THE FULL Chicago Tribune ARTICLE
Maestro Kent Nagano is considered one of the most inspiring and exciting music conductors in the world – and you've got to have pretty good stamina to keep up with him. Nagano, who is currently the musical director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (MSO), is performing his final concerts of the 2015-2016 season, but there won't be any down time for the musicians or the maestro. Upcoming, Nagano will be conducting seven concerts over three days. Global's Tim Sargeant sits down exclusively with Nagano. The world famous conductor and opera administrator said - "It's a lot of work, a lot of rehearsals and a tremendous amount of artistic tension, but it's fun and we all look forward to this."
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Kent Nagano is renowned for interpretations of clarity, elegance and intelligence. He is equally at home in music of the classical, romantic and contemporary eras, introducing concert and opera audiences throughout the world to new and rediscovered music and offering fresh insights into established repertoire. Since September 2006 he has been Music Director of Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and became Artistic Advisor and Principal Guest Conductor of Gothenburg Symphony in 2013. In September 2015, Kent Nagano takes up the position of General Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra. At the Hamburg State Opera he will start his first season with the premiere of Berlioz‘ Les Troyens, the world premiere of Toshio Hosokawas Stilles Meer and also Messiaen's symphony Turangalîla choreographed by John Neumeier.
READ theguardian Q&A
Sometimes they take place in a dressing room when a conductor's preconcert tea is replaced with a cocktail so powerful and illegal the bar goes quiet when you order it. And the pale bartender asks, are you sure? Perhaps it doesn't matter exactly how it happened, just that on Tuesday night Kent Nagano drove the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal in electric performances of Grieg, Mozart and Sibelius. The energy was uncharacteristic. At times I wasn't sure if it was really him.
READ THE FULL Montreal Gazette ARTICLE
The Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal has a vast recorded legacy behind them. But, there's one badge of orchestral honour that the orchestra has never worn. They've never released a complete recording of Beethoven's nine symphonies. Until now.
Under music director Kent Nagano, the OSM has been gradually rolling out Beethoven recordings over the past six years. Their project culminates on Nov. 4, with the release of a boxed set that includes all five hours and forty minutes of "the nine," with a few extracts from The Creatures of Prometheus and Egmont thrown in as bonuses.
To Nagano, this project represents more than just another item to cross off the bucket list. In his introduction to the new set, Nagano writes about how the Beethoven symphonies can be interpreted afresh by each new generation of listeners. So, this set offers an opportunity for new Beethoven fans to jump onboard.
In celebration CBC Music: First Play is streaming the whole six-CD set for your binge-listening pleasure until November 4th. Listen to Complete Beethoven Symphonies on CBC Music: First Play.
Each week KDFC - San Francisco members can download a free mp3 from some of the biggest releases in the world of Classical music. As Kent Nagano watched his daughter sit at her mother's knee and listen to Japanese shoka melodies coming from a tiny tape player, an ambitious project was born. In the latest recording from the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, these captivating melodies have been given the orchestral treatment and are enhanced by renowned German soprano Diana Damrau and the Chœur des enfants de Montréal. Shoka are Japanese children's songs dating back to the late 19th century that tell the complex stories of everyday Japanese life, from love to bitterness to wonder.
Download a free mp3 of Beintus' Japanese Children Songs
As long as there are orchestras, choirs and ambitious festivals to hire them, there will be performances of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 ("Resurrection"). On Saturday night, the Lanaudière Festival presented Kent Nagano and the OSM in the 90-minute blockbuster in front of the mandatory packed house and crowded lawn at the Fernand Lindsay Amphitheatre.
READ THE FULL Montreal Gazette REVIEW