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 and Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, recently extended for the third time. Since becoming Chief Conductor of the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, 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 (he concludes his tenure there in 2021). Passionate about music education, Gaffigan was recently appointed as Music Director of the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra effective 2021.
James is in high demand working with leading orchestras and opera houses throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. The 2019 - 2020 season features re-invitations to the Chicago, San Francisco and Detroit Symphony Orchestras, Orchestre National de France and the Czech Philharmonic, as well as debuts with Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Melbourne Symphony and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
He undertakes three major opera productions in the United States including Rossini’s La Cenerentola at the Metropolitan Opera, Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Lyric Opera Chicago and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at Santa Fe Opera.
Recent symphonic highlights include appearances with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Münchner Philharmoniker, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de France, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphonie-orchester Berlin, Dresden Staatskapelle, Wiener Symphoniker, Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, Zurich Tonhalle, Seoul Philharmonic and Tokyo Metropolitan. In North America he has worked with New York Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of Philadelphia, Cleveland, St. Louis, Baltimore and Toronto, among others.
Opera highlights include conducting at the Bayersiche Staatsoper (La Fanciulla del West / Don Giovanni), Dutch National Opera (Porgy and Bess), Wiener Staatsoper (La bohème / Don Giovanni / La Traviata / Le nozze di Figaro), the Glyndebourne Festival (La Cenerentola /Falstaff), Hamburg Opera (Salome) and Opernhaus Zürich (La bohème).
In 2004, James was named first prize winner of the 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 for Music Director Franz Welser Möst.