Kent Nagano, born in California, has been the General Music Director of the Bavarian State Opera from September 2006 until August 2013. As his premiere performance in this new position, Nagano conducted the world première of Rihm’s Das Gehege and Strauss’ Salome. Further new productions he has conducted at the Bavarian State Opera include Billy Budd, Chowanschtschina, Eugen Onegin, Idomeneo, Ariadne auf Naxos, Wozzeck, Lohengrin, Trouble in Tahiti, Don Giovanni, Dialogues des Carmélites, Die schweigsame Frau, Saint François d’Assise, the world premières of Unsuk Chins’ Alice in Wonderland and Minas Borboudakisʼs liebe.nur liebe, as well as numerous Concerts with the Bavarian State Orchestra. In the 2011/12 season, Kent Nagano conducted the new productions of Der Ring des Nibelungen, Maurice Ravel's L’Enfant et les sortilèges, Alexander Zemlinsky's Der Zwerg and Alban Berg's Wozzeck.
Concert tours have lead Nagano and the Bavarian State Orchestra to various cities throughout Europe, including Milan, Linz, Bolzano Regensburg, Nuremberg, Budapest and Baden-Baden. Under his direction, the Bavarian State Opera has also given new emphasis to their youth and education programs. Some examples of this dedication are the Opera Studio of the Bavarian State Opera, the Orchestra Academy of the Bavarian State Orchestra and the youth orchestra ATTACCA.
Likewise, since September of 2006, Kent Nagano also serves as Music Director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. Here he initiated the international “OSM International Composition Prize”, the first final round of which took place in January, 2007. The native Californian experienced his breakthrough in 1984 when Olivier Messiaen appointed him the assistant to Seiji Ozawa for the world première of his opera Saint François d’Assise. Thereafter, he became Music Director of the Opéra National de Lyon from 1988 to 1998, where, among other works, he conducted the world première of the opera Three Sisters by Peter Eötvös. From 1991 to 2000 Kent Nagano was Music Director of the Hallé Orchestra, and from 1990 to 1998 he served as Associate Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. The world premières he has conducted include Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer and El Niño as well as Bernstein’s White House Cantata. His world première of Kaija Saariaho’s opera L’amour de Loin at the 2000 Salzburg Festival was a further great success. From 2000 to 2006 Kent Nagano was Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the German Symphony Orchestra in Berlin. They performed such works as Schönberg’s Moses und Aron and made guest appearances at the Salzburg Festival as well as in the Festival Theatre in Baden-Baden. To express its close ties to him, the orchestra appointed its departing Chief Conductor to the position of Conductor Laureate. In 2003 Nagano became the first Musical Director of the Los Angeles Opera after serving there for two years as Principal Conductor. Productions at other opera houses in recent seasons have included Shostakovich’s The Nose and Puccini’s Turandot at the German State Opera in Berlin, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Le coq d’or at the Châtelet in Paris, Poulenc’s Les dialogues des Carmélites and Hindemith’s Cardillac at the Opéra National de Paris.
2015 Kent Nagano will become General Music Director at the Hamburgische Staatsoper.