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. He began the 2017–18 season leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia and conducting and teaching at the Aspen Music Festival and School. He also conducted the Hawaii, Tucson, and National Repertory symphony orchestras, as well as concerts plus educational residencies in Guangzhou, China, where he is music director of Youth Music Culture Guangdong. Michael Stern and the Kansas City Symphony have been hailed for their remarkable artistic ascent, original programming, organizational development and stability, and the extraordinary growth of varied audiences since Mr. Stern’s tenure began. He and the orchestra have partnered with Grammy Award–winning Reference Recordings for CDs that include a new album of works by American composer Adam Schoenberg; works by Elgar, Sibelius, and Saint-Saëns; and Holst’s The Planets. Under Mr. Stern’s direction, IRIS Orchestra — based in Germantown, Tennessee, and acclaimed for virtuosity, programming depth and variety, and a focus on American contemporary music — 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, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Indianapolis, National, Montreal, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Seattle, and Boston symphony orchestras, The Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras, and the New York Philharmonic. He also appears regularly at Aspen, and has served on the faculty of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen. He has led the major orchestras in London, Stockholm, Paris, Helsinki, Budapest, Israel, and Moscow, Taiwan, and Tokyo. Mr. Stern 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.
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