PRINCIPAL GUEST CONDUCTOR
Ralph and Beth Johnston Muller Chair
Nathalie Stutzmann began her role as The Philadelphia Orchestra’s principal guest conductor with the 2021–22 season. The three-year contract will involve a regular presence in the Orchestra’s subscription series in Philadelphia and at its summer festivals in Vail, Colorado, and Saratoga Springs, New York. She made her Philadelphia Orchestra conducting debut in 2016. She is also in her fourth season of a highly successful tenure as chief conductor of the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, which has recently been extended through the 2022–23 season. In October 2021 she was named the next music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, beginning in the 2022–23 season, becoming only the second woman to lead a major American orchestra.
Ms. Stutzmann is considered one of the most outstanding musical personalities of our time. Charismatic musicianship, combined with unique rigor, energy, and fantasy, characterize her style. A rich variety of strands form the core of her repertoire: Central European and Russian Romanticism is a strong focus—ranging from Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, and Dvořák to the larger symphonic forces of Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Mahler, Bruckner, and Strauss—as well as French 19th-century repertoire and Impressionism. Highlights from her partnership with the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra include acclaimed performances of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 (“Pathétique”), and a complete cycle of Beethoven’s symphonies.
Ms. Stutzmann was principal guest conductor of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland from 2017 to 2020. Her sold-out performances with that ensemble attracted outstanding accolades from the press, with particular praise for her performances of Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, and Mahler’s Das Knaben Wunderhorn.
As a guest conductor, Ms. Stutzmann began the 2020–21 season with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and returned to them twice more. Other guest conducting highlights over the next two seasons include performances with The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal, the NDR Elbphilharmonie, the London Symphony, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestre National de Lyon, the Orquesta Nacional de España, and the Finnish Radio Symphony.
Ms. Stutzmann has also established a strong reputation as an opera conductor. She was due to conduct Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades at La Monnaie in Brussels (cancelled due to COVID-19), which has now been rescheduled to the 2022–23 season. In recent years she conducted critically acclaimed performances of Wagner’s Tannhäuser (2017, Monte Carlo Opera) and Boito’s Mefistofele (2018, Chorégies d’Orange festival in Provence).
Ms. Stutzmann started her studies at a very young age in piano, bassoon, and cello, and she studied conducting with the legendary Finnish teacher Jorma Panula. She was also mentored by Seiji Ozawa and Simon Rattle. She continues to keep a few projects as a singer each season, primarily recitals and performances with her own ensemble. In January 2019 she was elected a Chevalier in the Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest honor. She had previously been honored for her unique contribution to the country’s cultural life by being named a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite and a Commandeur des Arts et Lettres.
Ms. Stutzmann is an exclusive recording artist of Warner Classics/Erato. Her newest album, Contralto, was released in January 2021.
Photo by Jeff Fusco