John Axelrod


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 orchestrasand opera housesthroughout the world.His persuasive baton technique has been applauded by critics as has his communicative skills with musicians and audiences no matter the culture or language.

In 2014 Maestro Axelrod became the 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 2011-2017, 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.From 2001-2009, Mr. Axelrod was 1st conductor of Sinfonietta Cracovia.  From 1998-2003, Mr. Axelrod was the Founder and Music Director of the groundbreaking OrchestraX in his native Houston, Texas.

Since 2001, Mr. Axelrod has conducted over 165orchestras around the world, 30 operas and 50 world premieres, and has made multiple returns to the absolute majority.  Among European orchestras areBerlin's RSB, NDR Symphony Hamburg, hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, Dresdener Philharmonie, Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI Torino, Teatro La Fenice Orchestra in Venice, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestra Svizzera Italiana in Lugano, L'Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège 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 Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago, National and Columbus Symphonies and the Philadelphia Orchestra among others. Highlights of Maestro Axelrod’s 2018/19 season include debut concerts with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and the Filarmonica della Scala. 

Upcoming engagements include the debut with the RTVE Orchestra in Madrid, andreturns to the Filarmonica della Scala, the RAI Symphony Orchestra, the Netherlands Philharmonic, the Kyoto Symphony, the Belgrade Philharmonic, the Graz Philharmonic, Prague Radio Symphony, as well as at the Enescu Festivaland the Grafenegg Festival.

John Axelrod’s opera activity includes Bernstein's Candideat 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, Falstaffand Idomeneo. Upcoming opera engagements include Montalti’s Un romano a Marte for the Teatro dell’Opera in Roma. 

Mr. Axelrod often programs concert versions of operas and performs regularly with leading international vocalists including Nadja Michael, Thomas Hampson, Rinat Shaham, Veronique Gens, Ramon Vargas and Wallis Giunta. 

Mr. Axelrod has recorded core and contemporary repertoire for Sony Classical, Warner Classics, Ondine, Universal, Naïve and Nimbus. Mr. Axelrod's recorded 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 is actively committed to working with young professional musicians,engaged as the Principal Conductor of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, including the 2019 Bernstein at 100 Centennial, 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 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.

2019-20 short version for program booklet (May 2019) - Not to be altered without permission.