Mischa Santora, Guest Conductor
Mischa Santora, Music Director of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, has guest conducted many of the leading orchestras in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. He recently gave his highly successful debut with the Israel Chamber Orchestra, conducted a critically acclaimed production of Falstaff in Boston, and produced the North American premiere of Christian Jost’s Opera Death Knocks based on a libretto by Woody Allen with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. Upcoming highlights include a return engagement with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, debut appearances with the Richmond and the Midland Symphonies, a special series of concerts with the Orquestra Sinfonica di Concepcion in the brand new Teatro de Lago concert hall, and a staged production of Stravinsky’s Rake’s Progress in Cincinnati.
In North America Mr. Santora has appeared with the Philadelphia, Minnesota and Louisville Orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Houston, National, New Jersey, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Des Moines, Hartford, Princeton, Kitchener-Waterloo and Eugene Symphonies, as well as the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.
In Europe he has led the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, the Basel and Lucerne Symphony Orchestras, the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Budapest Matáv Symphony, the Miskolc Symphony, the Hungarian National Symphony Orchestra's Chorus, and the Georgisches Kammerorchester Ingolstadt in Germany.
In the Pacific Rim he was invited by the West Australian Opera Company to conduct a production of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. In addition he has appeared with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, the Taiwan National Philharmonic, and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in New Zealand. In Latin America he has guest conducted in Mexico, Chile and Peru.
Mr. Santora just finished a highly successful and critically acclaimed German tour with the Berlin based RIAS Orchestra, sponsored by the German Government celebrating 20 years of German reunification, performing in the major cities and its concert halls. He also led the Orchestra in a guest appearance at the prestigious Young Euro Classic Festival at the Berlin Konzerthaus.
As Music Director of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Mr. Santora has established an impressive track record of creative programming. His performances cover repertoire ranging from early Baroque to commissioned works, and include operatic and choral productions as well as innovative collaborations with local dance companies, theater troupes and puppeteers. Highlights include his critically acclaimed production of Così fan tutte for the 2006 CCO Mozart Festival, collaboration with Madcap Puppets in de Falla’s Master Peter’s Puppet Show, and Mr. Santora’s staging of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The current season features an in-depth profile of Robert Schumann, celebrating his 200th birthday, complete with readings of his letters, as well as a full production of Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream conceived by Mr. Santora. Under his leadership, the CCO has been expanding its number of performances significantly, is featured regularly on local broadcast radio, and is widely regarded as one of the most dynamic and creative arts organization in the region.
Mr. Santora was the Associate Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra between 2003 and 2009, where he conducted numerous subscription concerts and fully staged operatic performances. As a former Music Director of the International Opera Festival Miskolc (Hungary), Mr. Santora has not only collaborated with many of the most established singers from Central-, Eastern Europe and Russia, but has also worked alongside Artistic Director Eva Marton on creating a new profile for one of the most prestigious music festivals in Europe.
Between 1997 and 2002 Mr. Santora held the post of Music Director of both the New York Youth Symphony and the Juilliard Pre-College Orchestra, with performances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. In addition, he has worked with some of the finest young Orchestras around the world, including the New England Conservatory Philharmonia, the Chamber Orchestra of the Curtis Institute, the Australian Youth Orchestra and the Jeunesses Musicales Orchestra Switzerland.
Mr. Santora’s career has been marked by his strong advocacy of New Music. Under his artistic supervision of the New York Youth Symphony’s award winning First Music program (then chaired by John Corigliano) the Orchestra commissioned more than fifteen new works during his tenure, a tradition he has continued with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. In Minnesota, he has conducted the Minnesota Orchestra's Composer Institute reading sessions in addition to serving on the panel of judges selecting the composers.
Mr. Santora has collaborated with many of the world’s leading solo artists including Gil Shaham, James Galway, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Leila Josefowitz, Elmar Oliveira, Benita Valente, Vladimir Feltsman, Gary Graffman, John Aler, Pamela Frank, Richard Stoltzman, David Jolley, Galina Gorchakova, Nikolai Putyilin, Chantal Juillet, Hakan Hardenberg, Miklós Perényi and many others.
As the recipient of the 1998 Aspen Conducting Prize, Mr. Santora was invited by David Zinman to serve as the Assistant Conductor of the Aspen Music Festival for three consecutive seasons (1999 – 2002). He has participated in master classes with Daniel Barenboim, Kurt Masur, David Zinman, Neeme Järvi and Otto-Werner Mueller. Mr. Santora has been the recipient of the UBS Culture Award and the Presser Foundation Career Grant, as well as scholarships from the Migros, Kiefer-Hablitzel and Kurt-Dienemann Foundations of Switzerland.
Born to Hungarian parents in the Netherlands, Mr. Santora moved with his family of musicians to Switzerland where he began to study violin with his father, a member of the Lucerne Symphony. After he received a diploma in violin and teaching from the Academy for School and Church Music in Lucerne, Mr. Santora continued his violin studies with Prof. Thomas Brandis, former concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. Mr. Santora subsequently undertook conducting studies with Otto-Werner Mueller at the Curtis Institute of Music.
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