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Philippe Jordan Named Next Music Director of Paris Opera

By Matthew Westphal
10 Oct 2007

Swiss conductor Philippe Jordan, not yet 33 years old, has been named the next music director of the Opéra National de Paris, effective with the 2009-10 season. His appointment was announced this evening at a meeting of the company's board of directors, according to a report from Agence France-Presse.

Philippe Jordan
photo by Johannes Ifkovits
Jordan begins his term alongside a new director of the Opéra, Nicolas Joel, who was selected last December to succeed the retiring Gérard Mortier.

The Paris Opera has been without a music director since James Conlon (now at Los Angeles Opera) departed the post in 2004 after nine years. Since that time, Mortier has used a series of guest conductors, most notably Sylvain Cambreling.

Born in Zurich on October 18, 1974 and the son of the late conductor Armin Jordan, Philippe Jordan studied piano, violin and singing as a child; he subsequently graduated from the Zurich Conservatory with honors. He received his first professional appointment, as erste Kapellmeister of the Ulm Stadttheater in Germany before he was 20. He was Kapellmeister at the Deutsche Staatsoper in Berlin, assisting Daniel Barenboim, from 1998 to 2001 and is now the house's principal guest conductor; from 2001-2004 he was chief conductor in the Austrian city of Graz, leading both the opera house and the symphony orchestra.

Jordan made his debuts at Houston Grand Opera and the Glyndebourne Festival at age 27 (the 2001-02 season); the following season he conducted for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera and the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden); by the end of 2004 he had also appeared at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, the Paris Opera and the Salzburg Festival. His symphonic engagements have included, among many others, the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the St. Louis and Chicago Symphonies, and the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics; this season he makes his debuts with the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony.

As music director at the Opéra National de Paris, Jordan will collaborate with Joel on repertoire and casting and will oversee an orchestra of 174 musicians and a chorus of 104 singers who perform for both opera and ballet at two houses, the ornate 19th-century Palais Garnier and the modernist Opéra-Bastille.

The Opéra's next maestro was not able to be in Paris for today's announcement: this evening he is conducting Mozart's Marriage of Figaro at the Met.




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