2010-11 is Carl St.Clair’s 21st season as music director of the Pacific Symphony. During his tenure, St.Clair has become widely recognized for his musically distinguished performances, his commitment to building outstanding educational programs and his innovative approaches to programming. His lengthy history with the Pacific Symphony solidifies the strong relationship he has forged with the musicians and the community. The rapid artistic development of Pacific Symphony is due in large part to St.Clair’s leadership.
In the 2008-09 season, St.Clair celebrated the milestone 30th anniversary of Pacific Symphony. In 2006-07, he led the Symphony’s historic move into its home in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. The move came on the heels of the landmark 2005-06 season that included his leading the Symphony on its first European tour — nine cities in three countries playing before capacity houses and receiving extraordinary responses. The Symphony received rave reviews from Europe’s classical music critics — 22 reviews in total.
Carl St.Clair recently concluded his tenure as general music director and chief conductor of the German National Theater and Staatskapelle (GNTS) in Weimar, Germany, where he recently led Wagner’s Ring Cycle to great critical acclaim. St.Clair was the first non-European to hold his position at the GNTS; the role also gave him the distinction of simultaneously leading one of the newest orchestras in America and one of the oldest orchestras in Europe. He has also served as the general music director of the Komische Oper Berlin.
Carl St.Clair’s international career has him conducting abroad numerous months a year, and he has appeared with orchestras throughout the world. He was the principal guest conductor of the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart from 1998–2004, where he successfully completed a three–year recording project of the Villa–Lobos symphonies. He has also appeared with orchestras in Israel, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South America, as well as at summer festivals worldwide.
His commitment to the development and performance of new works by American composers is evident in the wealth of commissions and recordings by Pacific Symphony. Carl St.Clair has led the orchestra in numerous critically acclaimed albums including two piano concertos of Lukas Foss on the harmonia mundi label. Under his guidance, the Symphony has commissioned works which later became recordings, including Richard Danielpour’s An American Requiem on Reference Recordings and Elliot Goldenthal’s Fire Water Paper: A Vietnam Oratorio on Sony Classical with cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Other composers commissioned by St.Clair and Pacific Symphony include William Bolcom, Philip Glass, Zhou Long, Tobias Picker, Frank Ticheli and Chen Yi, Curt Cacioppo, Stephen Scott, Jim Self (the Symphony’s principal tubist), Christopher Theofandis and James Newton Howard.
In North America, Carl St.Clair has led the Boston Symphony Orchestra (where he served as assistant conductor for several years), New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Francisco, Seattle, Detroit, Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver symphonies, among many.
Under St.Clair’s dynamic leadership, the Symphony has built a relationship with the Southern California community by understanding and responding to its cultural needs. A strong advocate of music education for all ages, he has been essential to the creation and implementation of the symphony education programs including Classical Connections, arts-X-press and Class Act.