HomeAbout UsConductorsJulian Kuerti - Music Director

Julian Kuerti - Music Director

Gaining a strong international reputation for his interpretations of both orchestral and operatic music, Canadian conductor Julian Kuerti combines a confident style, artistic integrity and passion for collaboration bringing him to the forefront of the music scene. Maestro Kuerti has led major symphony orchestras and has appeared in important opera houses on five continents, and enjoys close working relationships with some of the leading soloists and singers of our time.

As Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montreal and Principal Conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Concepción in Chile, Kuerti made a reputation for himself both in the Americas and abroad. In Montreal, Kuerti led numerous subscription concerts at the Maison Symphonique de Montréal which were highly praised by both the press and the public.  In Chile, he conducted a wide variety of symphonic programmes and staged operas, including new productions of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Verdi’s La Traviata, and Bizet’s Carmen.

The 2018-2019 season will be Kuerti’s inaugural season as Musical Director of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, following his highly successful debut last season, and will feature concerts of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G with Ki Wu, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with Susie Park and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.

Upcoming highlights include return visits to Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional in Lima to conduct Bruckner, Orquesta Santa Cecilia Madrid with a programme of Smetana, Dvorak and Beethoven and Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana in Palermo with Kabalevsky and Berlioz.

In Europe, Kuerti’s guest engagements have brought him to the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, and Stavanger Symphony of Norway on many occasions. He has also enjoyed concerts with the Vasteras Sinfonietta, Deustche Radio Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Aarhus Symphony, Kristiansand Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Het Gelders Orchestra, Opera Toulon Provence Mediterranée, Bournemouth Symphony, RTE National Orchestra of Dublin, The National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia, Monte Carlo Philharmonic and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.

Closer to home, Kuerti has appeared with all major Canadian orchestras, and in the United States has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the symphonies of Houston, Dallas, Cincinnati, Seattle, New Jersey, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Utah, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and the St. Paul and Los Angeles chamber orchestras.  In 2011, he made his New York City Opera debut at Lincoln Center leading Oliver Knussen’s “Where the Wild Things Are.” In South America, Julian has enjoyed numerous symphonic performances in Chile, Peru and Argentina as well as a new production of Rusalka at Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires.

In Asia and Australasia, Julian recently worked with the Sydney Symphony on a programme of Symphonies by Ross Edwards, Mendelssohn and Rachmaninov Paganini Variations with Stephen Hough, as well as the Malaysian Philharmonic and the New Zealand Symphony.  He was described as the “Epitome of cool graciousness” by The New Zealand Herald for his interpretation of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique

From 2007-2010 Kuerti served as assistant conductor to James Levine at the Boston Symphony, where he had the opportunity to conduct the orchestra frequently at Symphony Hall and at Tanglewood.  During the 2006-07 season, he was assistant conductor to Ivan Fischer at the Budapest Festival Orchestra, where he was invited back to lead performances of Viktor Ullmann’s opera “Der Kaiser von Atlantis” the following season.  From 2005 to 2008, he was founding artistic director and principal conductor of Berlin’s Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop, with whom he recorded the album “When We Were Trees” by Italian cellist and composer Giovanni Sollima for Sony/BMG.  Kuerti conducted the Boston Symphony Chamber Players in music by Golijov and Foss on “Plain Song, Fantastic Dances,” released in 2011 on the BSO’s own label.

In 2014, Kuerti began extensive research into the work of Chilean composer Enrique Soro, culminating in the preparation of a critical edition for performance of his Sinfonica Romantica. He led concerts featuring this work with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Concepcion in November 2015, which were recorded for television broadcast. The months of work preparing this symphony for publication and the final performance itself is the subject of a documentary film, Recording Romantica by Chilean filmmaker Carlos Pérez.

Kuerti was born in Toronto into one of Canada’s most distinguished musical families; his father is famed pianist Anton Kuerti.  He began his instrumental training on the violin, studying with some of Canada’s finest teachers.  While completing an honors degree in engineering and physics at the University of Toronto, Kuerti kept up the violin, performing as concertmaster and soloist with various Canadian orchestras.  Kuerti began his conducting studies in the year 2000 at the University of Toronto.  That summer he was accepted as a student at the renowned Pierre Monteux School for Conductors in Maine, where he studied for two years with Michael Jinbo and Claude Monteux. He was apprentice conductor to Boris Brott with Canada’s National Academy Orchestra, where he was given the first opportunity to perform with his father as soloist in Beethoven’s Emperor concerto.

Kuerti studied with David Zinman at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen in 2004, and with acclaimed Finnish Maestro Jorma Panula at the NAC Conductors Programme in Ottawa.  In 2005, he was one of two conducting fellows at Tanglewood, where he had the opportunity to learn in masterclasses from James Levine, Kurt Masur, Stefan Asbury and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, performing with the TMC orchestra and fellows throughout the summer. That same year, Kuerti also finished his work with Lutz Köhler at the University of the Arts Berlin, with whom he had studied since 2001. He has had the opportunity to work with some of the most distinguished soloists of our time, including Yo-Yo Ma, Leon Fleisher, Itzhak Perlman, Lynn Harrell and Peter Serkin.                                        

Updated August 2018

To learn more visit: www.juliankuerti.com.