Michael Stern is in his sixth season as music director of the Kansas City Symphony, hailed for its remarkable artistic growth and development since his tenure began. This year also marks Stern’s third season as principal guest conductor of Orchestre National de Lille, France and he is the founding artistic director and principal conductor of the IRIS Orchestra in Germantown, Tennessee. Previously he has served as chief conductor of Germany’s Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra (the first American chief conductor in that orchestra’s history) and as permanent guest conductor of the Orchestre National de Lyon in France, a position which he held for five years.
Stern has led orchestras throughout Europe and Asia, including the London Symphony; London, Royal Stockholm, Israel and Moscow philharmonics; Beethovenhalle Orchestra in Bonn; Budapest Radio Symphony Orchestra; National Symphony of Taiwan; Tokyo’s NHK Symphony and the Vienna Radio Symphony’s tour of China.
In North America, Stern has conducted the New York Philharmonic; Philadelphia Orchestra; National Symphony in Washington, DC and the Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Atlanta, Houston, Baltimore, Toronto, Cincinnati, Seattle, Montreal and Indianapolis symphonies. He also appears regularly at the Aspen Music Festival and has served on the faculty of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.
Stern concluded his first year with the Kansas City Symphony by making a recording for the Naxos label which was released in 2007. Since then, he has released two critically acclaimed CDs with the symphony on the Reference Recordings Label, Britten’s Orchestra and The Tempest.
Stern received his music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where his major teacher was the noted conductor and scholar Max Rudolf. Stern coedited the third edition of Rudolf’s famous textbook, The Grammar of Conducting, and also edited a new volume of Rudolf’s collected writings and correspondence. Stern is a 1981 graduate of Harvard University, where he earned a degree in American history.