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. Since becoming chief conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Gaffigan has made a significant impact on the orchestra’s profile, nationally and internationally, with a number of tours and recordings; in recognition of this success, his contract has been extended until 2022. He is principal guest conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and has held that same post at the Gürzenich Orchestra, Cologne, a position created for him in 2013.
Mr. Gaffigan is in-demand with leading orchestras and opera houses throughout Europe, the United States, and Asia. The 2016–17 season included appearances with the Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, Detroit, Sydney, Bournemouth, Netherlands Radio, and BBC symphony orchestras; Oslo, Seoul, and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras; and The Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre national de France, and Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra. In addition to the New York Philharmonic, upcoming engagements include concerts with and WDR Radio Symphony Orchestra and an Asian tour with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra. Opera engagements include house debuts with Chicago Lyric Opera and Santa Fe Opera. Mr. Gaffigan will also return to the Bavarian Staatsoper and San Francisco Opera, and makes debuts with Dutch National Opera and The Metropolitan Opera.
Recent engagements have included guest appearances with the London, Dresden, Munich, Czech, and Rotterdam philharmonic orchestras; Vienna, Gothenburg, Tokyo Metropolitan, City of Birmingham, MDR Leipzig Radio, Berlin Radio, and Stuttgart Radio symphony orchestras; and the Dresden Staatskapelle, Deutsches Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Konzerthaus Berlin, Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He has also worked for San Francisco Opera, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the St. Louis, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Detroit, and National symphony orchestras, and appeared at the Vienna Staatsoper, Glyndebourne Festival, Hamburg Opera, and Opernhaus Zurich.
James Gaffigan was a conducting fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and part of the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival. In 2009 he completed a three-year tenure as associate conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, in a position specially created for him by Michael Tilson Thomas. Prior to that appointment he was assistant conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra, where he worked under music director Franz Welser Möst. He was named first prize winner of the 2004 Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition.