Conductor Michael Stern is in his sixth season as music director of the Kansas City Symphony, hailed for its remarkable artistic growth and development since his tenure began. The Symphony and Stern concluded their first year together by making a recording for the Naxos label which was released in 2007. They have released two CDs on the Reference Recordings Label Britten’s Orchestra with orchestral works of Benjamin Britten, and The Tempest, with music by Sullivan and Sibelius inspired by Shakespeare’s play, both released to critical acclaim. This year also marks Stern’s third season as principal guest conductor of Orchestre National de Lille, France. As well, Stern is founding artistic director and principal conductor of the IRIS Orchestra in Germantown, Tennessee. Other past positions include a tenure as the chief conductor of Germany’s Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra (the first American chief conductor in the orchestra’s history) and as permanent guest conductor of the Orchestre National de Lyon in France, a position which he held for five years.
Stern has led orchestras throughout Europe and Asia, including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Beethovenhalle Orchestra in Bonn, Budapest Radio Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Moscow Philharmonic, National Symphony of Taiwan, Tokyo’s NHK Symphony and the Vienna Radio Symphony’s tour of China. In North America, Stern has conducted the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Houston Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. He also appears regularly at the Aspen Music Festival and has served on the faculty of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen. Stern received his music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where his major teacher was the noted conductor and scholar Max Rudolf. Stern coedited the third edition of Rudolf’s famous textbook, The Grammar of Conducting, and also edited a new volume of Rudolf’s collected writings and correspondence. Stern is a 1981 graduate of Harvard University, where he earned a degree in American history.