French conductor Stéphane Denève will assume the role as of the orchestra’s 2022/23 season for an initial five-year term
Stéphane Denève, 50, succeeds New World Symphony (NWS) co-founder Michael Tilson Thomas in the role of artistic director, becoming the second person to hold the position in the orchestra’s 35-year history.
Created in 1987 by Tilson Thomas and Lin and Ted Arison, NWS is an orchestra comprising recent graduates from international music institutions to help prepare them for leadership roles in professional orchestras. Denève will work with and guide these NWS Fellows, as well as collaborate with Tilson Thomas, who will continue on as NWS’s artistic director laureate.
Denève is the music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and has been a regular guest conductor of NWS since 2006. In 2023, he will also begin serving as principal guest conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic.
Having recently completed his tenure as principal guest conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra and chief conductor of the Brussels Philharmonic, Denève has previously served as chief conductor of Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and as music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
As an educator, he has worked with young musicians at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Colburn School, the European Union Youth Orchestra, and the Music Academy of the West.
He was a graduate of and prize-winner at the Paris Conservatoire, and early in his career, worked closely with conductors Sir Georg Solti, Georges Prêtre, and Seiji Ozawa.
“Denève is one of the great conductors of our time…he has shown a talent for developing the artistic stature of his ensembles and broadening the symphonic repertoire [and] is deeply committed to passing the traditions of classical music to the next generation,” said NWS Chairman William M. Osborne III. “We are pleased that he will bring his creativity and experience to the leadership of the NWS.”
“It is a great pleasure to welcome my friend and colleague, Stéphane Denève, to the NWS family. I’m delighted that such a devoted, enthusiastic, and internationally recognized musician has agreed to take up the musical leadership of NWS,” Tilson Thomas added. “With over 1,200 alumni sharing their art and a strong and vital future secured for the institution, I feel we have realized our dream. How reassuring to know that Denève will carry that dream forward. Bravo and congratulations!”
“It is with great joy and a humbling sense of purpose that I am joining [NWS today]…making it now my mission to continue the inspired dream of its founder and guiding soul, Michael Tilson Thomas,” Denève said. “I can’t wait to share my experience, enthusiasm and love for music with all the talented NWS Fellows. I would like to thank ‘de tout coeur’ Michael for his generous endorsement, Will Osborne, NWS President and CEO Howard Herring, and the whole team of the NWS for inviting me to be their new Artistic Director.”
A video announcing Denève’s appointment can be viewed below.