Home > Artists > John AXELROD [ARCHIVER]

John AXELROD [ARCHIVER], Conductor

Principal Guest Conductor, City of Kyoto Symphony Orchestra

John Axelrod, with a refined baton, fully captures the vaguely hysterical mood in the score [Martinu: Mirandolina] and makes it rich with colors and a beautiful variety in dynamics and rhythmic solutions, without neglecting the lyrical needs, all in great harmony with the stage. - La Fenice, Venice

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 and is sought after by orchestras throughout the world.

Symphonic career
In 2019, Maestro Axelrod was announced as the Principal Guest Conductor of the City of Kyoto Symphony Orchestra (CKSO).

In 2014 Maestro Axelrod became the new Artistic and Musical Director of the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla (ROSS). His contract was unanimously extended through the 2019-2020 season. Other positions include Principal Guest Conductor of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano “Giuseppe Verdi” (LaVerdi), from 2001-2017 season, Music Director of the l’Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire from 2009-2013, Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Theater from 2004-2009, and Music Director of “Hollywood in Vienna” from 2009-2011, with the ORF Vienna Radio Orchestra.

Since 2001, Mr. Axelrod has conducted over 175 orchestras around the world, 33 operas and 60 world premieres. Among his long-term relationships with European orchestras are Berlin’s RSB, NDR Symphony Hamburg, hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI Torino, Teatro La Fenice Orchestra in Venice, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestra Svizzera Italiana in Lugano and the Mariinsky Orchestra. In Japan, Mr. Axelrod regularly conducts the NHK and Kyoto Symphony Orchestras. In the USA, Mr. Axelrod has performed with the Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Orchestra among others.

Highlights of Maestro Axelrod’s recent engagements include debuts with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the Filarmonica della Scala, the Prague Radio Symphony, the Netherlands Philharmonic, the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, and returns to the RAI Symphony Orchestra, the OSI in Lugano, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra, at the Enescu Festival, the Beethoven Festival in Warsaw, and the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan.

Operatic career
John Axelrod’s recent opera activity includes Bernstein’s Candide at Théâtre du Châtelet, Teatro alla Scala and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Eugene Onegin at Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Kurt Weill’s Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny at the Rome Opera, Martinu’s Mirandolina at Teatro la Fenice in Venice, the premiere of Fabio Vacchi’s Lo Specchio Magico at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Festival, La Traviata at the Opera di Firenze. For the Lucerne Festival from 2004-2009, he conducted: Rigoletto, The Rake’s Progress, Don Giovanni, the Three Penny Opera, Falstaff and Idomeneo. Upcoming opera engagements include Montalti’s Un marziano a Roma for the Teatro dell’Opera in Roma.

Pedagogical engagement
Mr. Axelrod is actively committed to working with young professional musicians, having been engaged as the Principal Conductor of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo and 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.
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Photo credits © Stefano Bottesi / D. Vass