Andrew Litton, conductor
Andrew Litton, newly appointed Music Director of the New York City Ballet, ends his twelve year tenure as Music Director of Norway's Bergen Philharmonic with a Gala Concert celebrating the Orchestra's 250th Anniversary. Under Litton's leadership the Bergen Philharmonic gained international recognition through extensive touring, making debuts at London's BBC Proms, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, and appearances at Vienna's Musikverein, Berlin's Philharmonie, and New York's Carnegie Hall. It records extensively for Sweden's BIS and Britain's Hyperion labels. Litton becomes Bergen Philharmonic Music Director Laureate and continues to serve as Music Director of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in Denver, Artistic Director of the Minnesota Orchestra's Sommerfest, and Conductor Laureate of Britain's Bournemouth. He guest conducts the world's leading orchestras and opera companies, and has a discography of over 120 recordings with awards including America's Grammy, France's Diapason d'Or, and many other honors.
Litton's Sommerfest 2015 performances conducting Gershwin's Concerto in F from the keyboard and his concert presentation of Madame Butterfly drew rave notices. He opens the 2015-2016 season taking the Bergen Philharmonic on tour to Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, London's Royal Albert Hall BBC Proms, and Dublin's National Concert Hall. He also conducts a Proms concert with the BBC Symphony. Litton returns to the Minnesota Orchestra in its regular season, Washington's National Symphony Orchestra, the Brussels Philharmonic, and the Bournemouth Symphony. Having premiered the Deutsche Oper Berlin's 2008 new production of Richard Strauss' Egyptian Helen, he returns to conduct its revival.
Conductor of many of the world's top opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden, and Deutsche Oper Berlin, Litton participated with the Bergen Philharmonic in founding the Bergen National Opera. Now its Artistic Advisor, Litton conducted critically acclaimed, sold-out performances of Tosca, Carmen, Flying Dutchman, and La Boheme.
Litton's work in ballet began while still a Juilliard student, performing as on-stage pianist for Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, and Cynthia Gregory. After a 2015 debut conducting the New York City Ballet's Coppelia he was invited to become its Music Director and begins his new duties conducting the holiday run of The Nutcracker. On January 19 he opens their Winter season with a special performance of ballets he has chosen.
An accomplished pianist, Litton often conducts from the keyboard and enjoys performing chamber music with his orchestra colleagues. Passionate about jazz, Litton joins the New York Jazzharmonic organized by New York City Ballet Principal Bass Ron Wasserman to perform at Symphony Space in May. A recognized authority on Gershwin, Litton has performed and recorded Gershwin's works as pianist and conductor in America, Asia, and Europe. He led the Covent Garden premiere of Porgy and Bess and arranged his own concert suite of that work, now performed throughout the world. The University of Michigan asked Litton to join a distinguished panel of Gershwin experts in developing a critical edition of all Gershwin works. Long an admirer of the late jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, Litton recorded his first solo piano album, A Tribute to Oscar Peterson, released in 2014.
Litton was Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony from 1988-1994, bringing it on its first American tour and producing 14 recordings, including the Grammy winning Belshazzar's Feast. Music Director of the Dallas Symphony from 1994-2006, he hired over one third of the players, led the orchestra on three major European tours, appeared four times at Carnegie Hall, created a children's television series broadcast nationally and in widespread use in school curricula, produced 28 recordings, and helped raise the orchestra's endowment from $19 million to $100 million. Litton's Dallas Symphony Rachmaninov Piano Concerto recordings with Stephen Hough, widely hailed as the best since the composer's own, won the Classical Brits/BBC Critics Award. Litton also received a Grammy nomination for his recording of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd with the New York Philharmonic and Patti Lupone.
Andrew Litton, a graduate of the Fieldston School, New York, received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Juilliard in piano and conducting. The youngest-ever winner of the BBC International Conductors Competition, he served as Assistant Conductor at Teatro alla Scala and Exxon/Arts Endowment Assistant Conductor for the National Symphony under Rostropovich. His many honors in addition to Norway's Order of Merit include an honorary Doctorate from the University of Bournemouth, Yale University's Sanford Medal, and the Elgar Society Medal.