Music Director, ORCHESTRE NATIONAL DES PAYS DE LA LOIRE
Principal Conductor, ORCHESTRA SINFONICA DI MILANO “G. VERDI”
Music Director, "HOLLYWOOD IN VIENNA," ORF RADIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA VIENNA
Principal Guest Conductor, SINFONIETTA CRACOVIA
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.
After a successful five-year tenure as Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Theater, and the election as Music Director of the l'Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire (ONPL), based in Nantes and Angers with more than 10,000 subscribers, in April 2011 John Axelrod was appointed Principal Conductor of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano “G.Verdi”, beginning with the 2011-2012 season for a minimum three-years commitment.
In 2009, John Axelrod was named Music Director of the "Hollywood in Vienna" Film Music Gala Concert with the ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna. Performed every year in the Vienna Konzerthaus, the red carpet concert event and symposium honours the contribution of Vienna's composers to the development of the Hollywood Sound and celebrates the many composers who have been influenced by that legacy.
Since 2000, John Axelrod has conducted over 130 orchestras, most of which include multiple repeat engagements, emphasizing both his success and European credibility in the core classical repertoire. Such prestigious European orchestras include Berlin's Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester, NDR Hamburg Symphony, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Dresdner Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de Lyon, Royal Philharmonic of London, London Philharmonic, London Philharmonia Orchestra, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI of Turin, Orchestra Filarmonica del Teatro La Fenice, Orchestra del Teatro San Carlo di Napoli, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Gulbenkian Symphony Libson, Radio Symphonie Orchester in Vienna, Salzburg Mozarteum, and Sinfonia Varsovia, among many others. His international profile as guest conductor in the U.S. and Asia features engagements with the Washington National Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic (at the Hollywood Bowl), Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony (at the Ravinia Festival), NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, Kyoto Symphony and the Shanghai Symphony.
The soloists with whom John Axelrod often collaborates include, among others: Julia Fischer, Martin Grubinger, Daniel Hope, Patricia Kopatchinskaya, Lang Lang, Lisa Batiashvili, Rachel Kolly d'Alba, Lilya Zilberstein, Sabine Meyer, Fazil Say, Han-Na Chang as well as such vocalists as Thomas Hampson, Elina Garança, Rinat Shaham, Veronique Gens, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Dietrich Henschel, Ana Maria Martinez and Ramon Vargas. John Axelrod also toured Europe and the USA in 2009 at the specific invitation of Lang Lang and Herbie Hancock, and after its success, reprised the tour in Paris at Salle Pleyel and Teatro alla Scala in 2011.
His opera activity includes the premiere performances of Bernstein's Candide directed by Robert Carsen at Paris's Théâtre du Châtelet and Milano's Teatro alla Scala, Wagner's Tristan and Isolde for Angers/Nantes Opéra directed by Oliver Py, and the new production of Krenek's Kehraus um St. Stephan at the Bregenz Festspiele. In past seasons at the Luzerner Theater he conducted new productions of Kaiser von Atlantis, Rigoletto, Rake's Progress, Don Giovanni, The Three Penny Opera and Idomeneo all for the Lucerne Festival, and Il barbiere di Siviglia, Evgenij Onegin, L’elisir d'amore and Falstaff.
As Principal guest conductor of Sinfonietta Cracovia, Mr. Axelrod has appeared in Europe's leading concert halls, seen on ARTE television, and performed on the grounds of Auschwitz in the Emmy Award winning 2007 BBC Holocaust Memorial Film.
Strongly committed in the promotion of contemporary repertoire, Mr. Axelrod premiered many new compositions, including works by Kaija Saariaho, Wolfgang Rihm, Jörg Widmann, Marco Stroppa, Michael Gordon, Michael van der Aa, Avner Dorman, Marc-André Dalbavie, Pascal Dusapin, Wojciech Kilar, Gabriel Prokofiev and Karim al-Zand, among others.
Mr. Axelrod's recordings include Gorecki’s 3rd Symphony with the Danish National Symphony for SonyClassical, Wolfgang Rihm's newly-commissioned piano concerto Sotto Voce II (together with Sotto Voce I) for Kairos Label with the Luzerner Sinfonie Orchester and the pianist Nicolas Hodges, Fazil Say's 1001 Nights in a Harem with Patricia Kopatchinskaya and the Luzerner Sinfonie Orchester for Naïve, 2 discs featuring works by Franz Schreker and his students Ernst Krenek and Julius Burger for Nimbus, and a live recording from the 2006 Lucerne Festival of Bernstein's Third Symphony ('Kaddish'), Schoenberg's Survivor from Warsaw, and Weill's Berliner Requiem, all with the Luzerner Sinfonie Orchester also for the Nimbus label; Dvořák's Ninth Symphony with the Württemburgischer Philharmonie Reutlingen for the Genuin label; Works by Wladyslaw Szpilman with the Berlin Radio Orchestra for SonyClassical; and Rolf Wallin's percussion concerto Das war schön! with Martin Grubinger and the Oslo Philharmonic for the Ondine label.
Mr. Axelrod graduated in 1988 from Harvard University. Trained by and in the tradition of Bernstein, he studied at St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1996 with Ilya Musin, and with the American Symphony Orchestra League conductors program.