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Biography
Recognized as one of the most talented and promising young American conductors to have emerged on the classical music scene in recent years, James Gaffigan recently completed a three year tenure as Associate Conductor with the San Francisco Symphony where he assisted Michael Tilson Thomas, led subscription concerts and was Artistic Director of the orchestra’s Summer in the City festival. Prior to that appointment, he was the Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra where he worked under Music Director Franz Welser-Moest from 2003 through 2006.

In the United States, Mr. Gaffigan has guest conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Houston, Baltimore, New Jersey, Colorado and Oregon symphonies and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra among others. He was also the Music Director of CityMusic Cleveland, a chamber orchestra in Cleveland which presents free concerts throughout the city. In June 2008, he received the League of American Orchestra’s Helen M. Thompson Award for his work with CityMusic.

During the 2009/10 season, James Gaffigan returns to conduct the Toronto, Indianapolis, New World and New Jersey symphonies, the Rochester Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom, and makes debuts with the Minnesota Orchestra and the National, Dallas and Detroit symphonies.

James Gaffigan’s international career was launched when he was named a first prize winner at the 2004 Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition in Frankfurt, Germany. Since then he has worked with the Deutsches Symphony Orchestra in Berlin, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Tonhalle Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony, Leipzig Radio Orchestra and the Frankfurt Museum Orchestra among others. During the 2009/10 season, he returns to work with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg and the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne.

Increasingly active as an opera conductor, James Gaffigan made his professional opera debut at the Zurich Opera in June 2005 conducting La Boheme and returned for revival performances of the same production in May 2006. In the summer of 2008 he conducts performances of Don Giovanni at the Aspen Music Festival and during the fall of 2009 he conducts a production Falstaff for Glyndebourne on Tour. He returns to Glyndebourne in the summer of 2010 to share a production of Cosi fan tutte with Sir Charles Mackerras.

Born in New York City in 1979, Mr. Gaffigan studied at the LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and the Juilliard School Preparatory Division. A graduate of New England Conservatory of Music, he earned his Masters of Music in conducting at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, where he worked with Larry Rachleff.

In the summer of 2000, Mr. Gaffigan was one of eight young conductors chosen by David Zinman to participate as an Academy Conductor in the inaugural year of the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen. Two years later he received the Academy's first Robert Harth Conducting Award and the following summer he was selected as one of two conducting fellows to study at the Tanglewood Music Center.
This biography was most recently edited by...
houstonsymphony - 16 Dec 2016
leektaylor - 11 Sep 2009
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