The Kennedy Center

David Zinman


David Zinman is in his fourteenth season as Music Director of the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich, having taken up that post in 1995 after many years as a regular guest conductor there. In 1998 he completed a highly successful 13-year tenure as Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. That same year, he became Music Director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, where he also is Program Director of the recently formed American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.

Mr. Zinman's tenures, first in Baltimore and now in Zurich, have been distinguished by his extraordinarily broad repertory, his strong commitment to contemporary music, and his introduction of historically informed performance practice. He has toured widely with orchestras in Europe, North America, and the Far East, winning consistent critical accolades. Among his most recent tours have been those with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Europe (2005), the United States (2004), which culminated in a performance at Carnegie Hall, and Japan (1999 & 2006). Mr. Zinman and the Tonhalle Orchestra have also performed regularly throughout Europe in such music centers as Berlin, Vienna, Frankfurt, London, Munich, Paris, and Milan.

Mr. Zinman made his American conducting debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1967, and has since led many of the world's leading orchestras. This season, he appears with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, and Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra in performances of The Damnation of Faust; in Europe, he will appear with the Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, and Bayerischer Rundfunk. His 2006-07 schedule included appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony, and multiple weeks with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra including a tour to Florida with them. Highlights of the 2005-06 season included appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Bayerischer Rundfunk, and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. Highlights of the 2004-05 season included returns to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Montreal and National Symphony Orchestras; appearances abroad with the Stockholm and Munich philharmonics; and an appearance with the Orchestra of St. Luke's at Carnegie Hall with Dawn Upshaw.

Mr. Zinman has served as Music Director of the Rochester Philharmonic (1974-85), the Rotterdam Philharmonic (1979-82) and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra (1964-77). As guest conductor, he has also regularly led the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras. He has made regular guest appearances at the Blossom, Hollywood Bowl, Mostly Mozart, Ravinia, Saratoga, and Tanglewood music festivals, and he was Artistic Director of the Minnesota Orchestra's Viennese Sommerfest from 1994-96. He conducts and records frequently with major European orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Orchestre de Paris, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Symphony, the Philharmonia Orchestra (London), and the Israel Philharmonic.

Mr. Zinman's extensive discography of more than 90 recordings has earned numerous international honors, including five Grammy awards, two Grand Prix du Disque awards, two Edison Prizes, the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, and a Gramophone Award. With the Tonhalle, he has recorded the complete Beethoven symphonies and concerti (which have sold more than 1 million copies), the complete Strauss tone poems, and is in the process of completing the Mahler symphonies cycle.

Born in 1936, Mr. Zinman graduated from Oberlin Conservatory and pursued advanced work in composition at the University of Minnesota. Conducting studies at the Boston Symphony's Tanglewood Music Center brought him to the attention of Pierre Monteux, who guided his musical development. Mr. Monteux also gave Mr. Zinman his first important conducting opportunities with the London Symphony Orchestra and at the 1963 Holland Festival, where critics hailed Mr. Zinman as a major conducting discovery. Mr. Zinman's honors include the City of Zurich Art Prize in 2002 for outstanding artistic efforts, becoming the first conductor and the first recipient not originally from Switzerland; the 1997 recipient of the prestigious Ditson Award from Columbia University, given in recognition of his exceptional commitment to the performance of works by American composers (many of which he has recorded in a series for Decca's Argo label); and the title of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
David Zinman