Hailed for the natural ease of his conducting and the compelling insight of his musicianship, James Gaffigan continues to attract international attention and is one of the most outstanding American conductors working today. James Gaffigan is currently the Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. He was also appointed the first Principal Guest Conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra, Cologne in September 2013, a position that was created for him.
In addition to these titled positions, James Gaffigan is in high demand working with leading orchestras and opera houses throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. In recent seasons, James Gaffigan’s guest engagements have included the Munich, London, Dresden, Oslo, Czech and Rotterdam Philharmonics, Vienna Symphoniker, Dresden Staatskapelle, Deutsches Symphony Orchestra (Berlin), Konzerthaus Berlin, RSO Berlin, Orchestre de Paris, Zurich Tonhalle, London, BBC, Gothenburg, Bournemouth and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Leipzig and Stuttgart Radio Orchestras, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony and Sydney Symphony. In the States, he has worked with the Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras, San Francisco and Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and National Symphony Orchestras and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra among others.
As an opera conductor, James Gaffigan made his Vienna State Opera debut in 2011/12 with La Bohéme and was immediately invited back to conduct Don Giovanni during 12/13. Mr Gaffigan continues his relationship with both the Vienna State Opera and the Glyndebourne Festival – in 2012, he conducted a production of La Cenerentola at Glyndebourne and returned for performances of Falstaff during the summer of 2013. In 2014/15 season he conducted the Hamburg Opera with performances of Salome and the Norwegian Opera with a new production of La Traviata. He made his opera debut at the Zurich Opera in 2005 conducting La Bohéme.
Highlights of the 2015/16 season include debuts with the New York Philharmonic and Don Giovanni at the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich. Mr. Gaffigan will also return to the Munich and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de France, and the Vienna Staatsoper to conduct the Marriage of Figaro.
Born in New York City in 1979, Mr. Gaffigan has degrees from both the New England Conservatory of Music and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston. He also studied at the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, and was a conducting fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center.
In 2009, Mr. Gaffigan completed a three-year tenure as Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony in a position specially created for him. Prior to that appointment, he was the Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra where he worked under Music Director Franz Welser-Möst from 2003 through 2006. James was also named a first prize winner at the 2004 Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition. He lives in Lucerne with his wife Lee and their two children Sofia and Liam.