Conductor Michael Stern is currently in his 14th season as music director of the Kansas City Symphony and 19th season as founding artistic director and principal conductor of the IRIS Orchestra. In the summer of 2018 he led the score to The Red Violin with Joshua Bell at Festival Napa Valley and with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and the Chicago Philharmonic at Ravinia. He also led a concert at Manchester Music Festival. His guest engagements in the 2018–19 season include returning to conduct concerts at the Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition.
Michael Stern and Kansas City have been hailed for their artistic ascent, original programming, organizational development and stability, and the growth of its varied audiences since his tenure began. Mr. Stern and the orchestra have partnered with Grammy Award–winning Reference Recordings for a series of well-received CDs, including a new recording of works by American composer Adam Schoenberg, Holst’s The Planets, and albums of works by Elgar, Sibelius, and Saint-Saëns.
IRIS Orchestra in Germantown, Tennessee, is known for the virtuosity of its playing and the depth and variety of its programming, with special emphasis on American contemporary music. Under Mr. Stern’s direction, IRIS has commissioned and premiered works by William Bolcom, Chris Brubeck, Richard Danielpour, Stephen Hartke, Edgar Meyer, Jonathan Leshnoff, Ned Rorem, and Huang Ruo, among others, and has released recordings on the Naxos and Arabesque labels.
Michael Stern has conducted the Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Indianapolis, National, Montreal, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Seattle symphony orchestras; The Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras; and the New York Philharmonic. He also appears regularly at the Aspen Music Festival and has served on the faculty of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.
Mr. Stern has led the major orchestras in London, Stockholm, Paris, Helsinki, Budapest, Israel, Moscow, Taiwan, and Tokyo. He has been chief conductor of Germany’s Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra (the first American chief conductor in the orchestra’s history), permanent guest conductor of the Orchestre National de Lyon, and principal guest conductor of the Orchestre National de Lille.