Ensembles | Artists

James Gaffigan

Chief Conductor


Hailed for the natural ease of his conducting and the compelling insight of his musicianship, James Gaffigan continues to attract international attention and is one of the most outstanding American conductors working today. James Gaffigan is currently the Chief Conductor of the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester. Since taking up this position, he has made a very significant impact on the Orchestra's profile both nationally and internationally with a number of highly successful tours and recordings. In recognition of this success, James’ contract has been further extended until 2022. He also holds positions as Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and he was appointed the first Principal Guest Conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra, Cologne in September 2013, a position that was created for him.

In addition to these titled positions, James Gaffigan is in high demand working with leading Orchestras and opera houses throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. In recent seasons, James Gaffigan has also enjoyed guest engagements with the London, Dresden, Czech and Rotterdam Philharmonics, Wiener Symphoniker, Dresden Staatskapelle, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Konzerthaus Berlin, Zurich Tonhalle, Gothenburg, Tokyo Metropolitan and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Leipzig, Berlin and Stuttgart Radio Orchestras. In the US, he has additionally worked with the Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Louis, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and National Symphony Orchestras. The 2015/16 season included concerts with the New York Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Dallas Symphony. In the 2016/17 season, James conducted the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, Detroit, BBC, Bournemouth and Sydney Symphonies; the Oslo, Seoul and Los Angeles Philharmonics; in Paris he visited the Orchestre de Paris and Orchestre National de France, and he made his debut with the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra.

In opera, James Gaffigan has worked with the Vienna State Opera (La Boheme, Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro), Glyndebourne Festival (Così Fan Tutte, La Cenerentola, Falstaff), Norwegian Opera (La Traviata), Hamburg State Opera (Salome) and the Bayerische Staatsoper (Don Giovanni).

In the 2017/18 season James will appear with the Chicago Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic and the Concertgebouw Orchestra in addition to commitments with the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. He will also make his debuts with both the Chicago Lyric Opera with a production of Così Fan Tutte, and with Santa Fe Opera in a production of Ariadne on Naxos. He will return to the Vienna State Opera for La Traviata. Further ahead James makes his debuts with both the Netherlands Opera and Metropolitan Opera.

James Gaffigan was a conducting fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and was part of American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival. In 2009, he completed a three-year tenure as Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony in a position specially created for him by Michael Tilson Thomas. Prior to that appointment, he was the Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra where he worked under Music Director Franz Welser­Möst from 2003 through 2006. James Gaffigan was also named a first prize winner at the 2004 Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition.