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International Cello Festival

Artistic Director of the Festival is Boris Andrianov

John Axelrod, conductor (USA)


With an extraordinarily diverse repertoire, innovative programming and charismatic performance style, John Axelrod is widely recognized as one of today's leading conductors and is sought after by orchestras throughout the world.

In 2014 Maestro Axelrod became the new Artistic and Musical Director of the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla (ROSS).  His contract was unanimously extended through the 2019-2020 season. In July 2017, unique in the orchestra's history, he was also appointed the General Director (CEO). Other titles positions include Principal Guest Conductor of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano “Giuseppe” Verdi (LaVerdi), from 2001-2017 season, Music Director of the l'Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire from 2009-2013, Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Theater from 2004-2009, and Music Director of "Hollywood in Vienna" from 2009-2011, with the ORF Vienna Radio Orchestra.

Since 2001, Mr. Axelrod has conducted over 160 orchestras around the world, 30 operas and 50 world premieres. Among his long term relationships with European orchestras are Berlin's RSB, NDR Symphony Hamburg, hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI Torino, Teatro La Fenice Orchestra in Venice, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestra Svizzera Italiana in Lugano and the Mariinsky Orchestra. In Japan, Mr. Axelrod regularly conducts the NHK and Kyoto Symphony Orchestras. In the USA, Mr. Axelrod has performed with the Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Orchestra among others.

Highlights of Maestro Axelrod’s upcoming engagements include debuts with the Filarmonica della Scala, the Prague Radio Symphony, the Netherlands Philharmonic, the Würth Philharmoniker, and returns to the RAI Symphony Orchestra, the OSI in Lugano, the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, at the Enescu Festival, the Beethoven Festival in Warsaw, and the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan.

John Axelrod’s recent opera activity includes Bernstein's Candide at Théâtre du Châtelet, Teatro alla Scala and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Eugene Onegin at Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Kurt Weill’s Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny at the Rome Opera, Martinu’s Mirandolina at Teatro la Fenice in Venice and the premiere of Fabio Vacchi’s Lo Specchio Magico at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. For the Lucerne Festival from 2004-2009, he conducted: Rigoletto, The Rake's Progress, Don Giovanni, the Three Penny Opera, Falstaff and Idomeneo. Upcoming opera engagements include La Traviata at the Opera di Firenze.

Mr. Axelrod is actively committed to working with young professional musicians, having been engaged as the Principal Conductor of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo and having toured with the Santander Orchestra in Poland, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra to the Salzburg Festival, the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana in Italy, the Accademia della Scala to Muscat, the NordDeutsche Junge Philharmonie in Germany, and the Vienna Jeunesse Orchester in Austria.


Mr. Axelrod has regularly collaborated with such international artists as Lang Lang, Daniel Hope, Thomas Hampson, Martin Grubinger, Nadja Michael, Patricia Kopatchinskaya, Gabriela Montero, Vadim Guzman, David Garrett, Khatia Buniatishvili, Enrico Dindo, Jan Kisiecki, Albrecht Mayer, José Maria Gallardo del Rey, and Wallis Giunta, among many others. He  has recorded core and contemporary repertoire for Sony Classical, Warner Classics, Ondine, Universal, Naïve and Nimbus.


Mr. Axelrod's most recent release is a cycle of Brahms Symphonies combined with Clara Schumann lieder entitled Brahms Beloved on Telarc, with Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi and accompanying Dame Felicity Lott, Wolfgang Holzmair, Indra Thomas and Nicole Cabell.


Mr. Axelrod graduated in 1988 from Harvard University. Trained personally by Leonard Bernstein in 1982, he also studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with Ilya Musin in 1996.

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