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Photo: Sergio Veranes Studio

Music Director, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal; General Music Director, Hamburg State Opera

Marina Kellen French Distinguished Visitor - Class of Spring 2020

Kent Nagano has been music director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) since 2006 and general music director of the Staatsoper Hamburg and chief conductor of the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg since 2015.


From 1978 to 2008, Nagano was music director of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, and, in 2003, he became the first music director of Los Angeles Opera. From 2006-2013, Nagano was general music director of the Bayerische Staatsoper and from 2000-2006 artistic director and chief conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. In June 2006, he was named Honorary Conductor by the orchestra, the second recipient of that honor in the orchestra’s sixty-year history. Together with the Baroque orchestra Concerto Köln, he leads a historically informed performance practice of Richard Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen as part of the scientific-artistic project “Wagner Readings.” In 2019, Concerto Köln appointed Nagano as Honorary Conductor.


Nagano has worked with many of the world’s finest orchestras, including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, WDR Symphony Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rom, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. He has received Grammy awards for his recordings of Busoni’s Doktor Faust with Opéra National de Lyon, Peter and the Wolf with the Russian National Orchestra, and Saariaho’s L’amour de Loin with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester.


Born in California, Nagano spent his early professional years at the Boston Symphony Orchestra as assistant conductor to Seiji Ozawa. He holds an honorary doctorate from San Francisco State University.

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