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 orchestras throughout the world.

After successful tenures as Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Theater, and as Music Director of the l'Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire (ONPL), John Axelrod was appointed in 2011 as Principal Conductor of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi.

Mr. Axelrod has conducted over 150 orchestras, including Berlin's Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester, NDR Hamburg Symphony, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Dresdner Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de Lyon, Royal Philharmonic of London, London Philharmonic, London Philharmonia, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Orchestra Filarmonica del Teatro La Fenice, Orchestra del Teatro San Carlo di Napoli, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Danish National, Oslo Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Orchestra, National Philharmonic of Russia, Toronto Symphony, Salzburg Mozarteum, Camerata Salzburg, Sinfonia Varsovia and the Warsaw Philharmonic, among many others. His international profile as guest conductor in the US and Asia features engagements with the National Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, Kyoto Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan and the Shanghai Symphony.

His opera activity includes the premiere performances of Bernstein's Candide in 2006 at Paris's Théâtre du Châtelet and in 2007 Milano's Teatro alla Scala. In past seasons, Mr. Axelrod has conducted Tristan and Isolde for Angers/Nantes Opera, and Rigoletto, The Rake's Progress, Don Giovanni, the Three Penny Opera, Falstaff and Idomeneo all for the Lucerne Festival. In 2013, Mr. Axelrod led the KammerSymphonie Berlin in a unique concert performance of Der Kaiser von Atlantis at the Museum of Topographie des Terrors, the museum documenting the SS during WW2. Upcoming opera performances include Eugene Onegin for Teatro San Carlo in Naples.

Mr. Axelrod is actively committed to working with young professional musicians, having toured with the Schleswig Holstein Festival Orchestra to the Salzburg Festival, with the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana in Italy, the Accademia della Scala to Muscat, the Nord Deutsche Junge Philharmonie in Germany, Sinfonia Iuventus in Poland and the Vienna Jeunesse Orchester in Austria.

As Principal guest conductor of Sinfonietta Cracovia from 2001-2009, 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.

From 2009- 2012, Mr. Axelrod was Music Director of the "Hollywood in Vienna" Film Music Gala Concert with the ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna.

Mr. Axelrod has recorded core and contemporary repertoire with such artists as Veronique Gens, Rachel Kolly d'Alba, Martin Grubinger, Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Dietrich Henschel, among others, for such labels as Sony Classical, Warner Classics, Ondine, Universal, Naive and Nimbus. Mr. Axelrod's most recent release is a cycle of Brahms Symphonies with Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano and accompanying Clara Schumann lieder, entitled Brahms Beloved, on Telarc in 2013/2014.

Mr. Axelrod graduated in 1988 from Harvard University. Trained by and in the tradition of Leonard Bernstein, he also studied with the American Symphony Orchestra League conductors program and at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with Ilya Musin.

If you wish to revise this biography, please contact Mark Stephan Buhl Artists Management ( Please use material of the current season only.

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