American Conductor James Gaffigan Appointed as the First-Ever Principal Guest Conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne

The Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne , Germany today announced that U.S. conductor James Gaffigan will become its first Principal Guest Conductor at the start of the 2012/13 season. In addition to annual concerts, this newly created position will entail CD recording projects and conducting opera productions with the Opera of Cologne Oper Köln.

This is the third European appointment for 33-year-old Mr. Gaffigan who assumed the positions of Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in 2011. Throughout the current season, Mr. Gaffigan has made numerous prominent U.S. orchestral debuts and he makes his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic this week, on Friday, March 30 at 8:00PM at Walt Disney Concert Hall, leading a program of Respighi’s Trittico Botticelliano, Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin Suite and Grieg’s Piano Concerto with André Watts.

Mr. Gaffigan says he accepted the Gürzenich Orchestra invitation without hesitation: “There are few orchestras that are equally skilled at playing both concert and operatic repertoire - the Gürzenich Orchestra is one of them. Their operatic playing gives them a flexibility that excites me and inspires me as a conductor and collaborator. I felt an instant chemistry with this group from our first meeting and I anticipate being able to develop a musical relationship with them.”

Mr. Gaffigan made his debut as a fill-in guest with the Gürzenich Orchestra in the 2007/08 season, conducting a French program. In the 2009/2010 season he made a lasting impression with such works as Shostakovich’s 1st Symphony and Schubert’s Rosamunde Overture. Markus Stenz, the Gürzenich Orchestra’s Music Director and General Music Director of the City of Cologne , has welcomed Mr. Gaffigan’s acceptance of the post: “I am delighted that another international conductor will now be working regularly with the Gürzenich Orchestra. During his previous performances in Cologne , he has created enormous enthusiasm with his skilful and highly energetic conducting of the orchestra. He conveyed his passion not just to the orchestra, but to the audience as well. A Principal Guest Conductor can build on and deepen such experiences, which is hugely productive in terms of musical quality. James Gaffigan is well-versed both in opera and on the concert platform. This means he can take on projects in all areas of the Gürzenich Orchestra’s activities: symphonic concerts, CD recordings and opera productions. James Gaffigan is thus an ideal person for the newly created position of Principal Guest Conductor with the Gürzenich Orchestra.”


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