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 Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, a position which was recently extended through 2023. Since becoming Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra James 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 his contract has been further extended until 2022.
James is in high demand working with leading orchestras and opera houses throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. The 2018/19 season includes his debut with Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and performances with Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He will also debut at the Metropolitan Opera New York for La bohème and Dutch National Opera for Porgy and Bess and returns to Bayerische Staatsoper for productions of Fanciulla and Don Giovanni and to San Francisco Opera for Carmen.
The 2017/18 season saw James make his debut with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and return to the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cleveland, Detroit, Cincinnati and Finnish Radio symphony orchestras, Munich Philharmonic and WDR Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester. He also undertook a tour of Asia with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra.
Regularly conducting at major opera houses around the world, James’ recent appearances include La bohème, Don Giovanni, La Traviata and Le nozze di Figaro at the Wiener Staatsoper; Così fan Tutte, La Cenerentola and Falstaff at the Glyndebourne Festival; La Traviata for Norwegian Opera; Salome for Hamburg Opera and La bohème for the Opernhaus Zurich. Last season he made his house debuts at Chicago Lyric Opera for Così fan Tutte at and Santa Fe Opera for Ariadne auf Naxos.
James also works internationally with many leading orchestras and recent guest appearances include London Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de France, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphonie-orchester Berlin, Dresden Staatskapelle, Leipzig and Stuttgart Radio Orchestras, Wiener Symphoniker, Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, Zurich Tonhalle, Czech Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic and Tokyo Metropolitan. In North America he has worked with the symphony orchestras of St. Louis, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Toronto, among others.
Born in New York, James was named first prize winner of the 2004 Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition. 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 James was Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, where he worked under Music Director Franz Welser Möst.