Kent Nagano

Kent Nagano


Kent Nagano has established an international reputation as one of the most insightful and visionary interpreters of both the operatic and symphonic repertoire. He is Music Director of the OSM since 2006. Maestro Nagano was General Music Director of the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich from 2006 to 2013. He became Principal Guest Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in 2013. Since 2015, he has been General Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Hamburg State Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra.

Born in California, Kent Nagano spent his early professional years in Boston, working in the opera house and as Assistant Conductor to Seiji Ozawa at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He was Music Director of the Opéra national de Lyon (1988-1998), Music Director of the Hallé Orchestra (1991-2000), Associate Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (1990-1998) and Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (2000-2006) and remains their Honorary Conductor. Kent Nagano was also the first Music Director of the Los Angeles Opera (2003-2006). As a much sought-after guest conductor, Maestro Nagano has worked with the Berlin, New York and Vienna Philharmonics, Chicago Symphony, Dresden Staatskapelle and Leipzig Gewandhaus, and at leading opera houses including the Opéra national de Paris, Berlin State Opera, Metropolitan Opera and Semperoper Dresden. He has won two Grammy awards for his recording of Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester and for Busoni’s Doktor Faust, recorded with the Opéra national de Lyon, among other awards. Maestro Nagano was named Commander of the Ordre de Montréal, Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec, Companion of the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec, and he was decorated with the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal. 

Musical direction

2006 to present: Music director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal since September 2006, with the contract renewed until 2020.

September 2015 to the present: General music director of the Hamburg State Opera and conductor of the Hamburg Philharmonic.

January 2014: Kent Nagano returns to the Bavarian State Opera to conduct a revival of Jörg Widmann’s Babylon.

2006 to 2013: Music director of the Bavarian State Opera, where he commissions new operas. With the Bavarian State Orchestra, Kent Nagano undertakes tours in Europe and to Japan, and records Bruckner’s Symphonies Nos 4, 7 and 8.

2003: Kent Nagano becomes the first music director of the Los Angeles Opera, after occupying the position of principal conductor of the orchestra for two years.

2000 to 2006: Artistic director and principal conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. These years constitute a key period in his career, involving as they do numerous tours and recordings.

1991 to 2000: Music director of the Hallé Orchestra.
1988 to 1998: Music director of the Opéra National de Lyon.
1978 to 2008: Music director of the Berkeley Symphony.

Artistic advisor and guest conductor

A sought-after guest conductor, Kent Nagano has worked with most of the world’s finest orchestras, including the philharmonic orchestras of Vienna, Berlin and New York, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Leipzig Gewandhaus. Additionally, he was appointed the principal guest conductor with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in September 2013.

Kent Nagano has also led numerous other works at other opera houses, among them Shostakovich’s The Nose (Berlin State Opera), Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel (Le Châtelet, Paris) and Hindemith’s Cardillac (Opéra National de Paris). Among his other world premieres may be mentioned Bernstein’s A White House Cantata and operas by Peter Eötvös (Three Sisters) and John Adams (The Death of Klinghoffer and El Niño).


Kent Nagano has a continuing relationship with Sony Classical and has also recorded on the Analekta, Erato, Teldec, Pentatone, Deutsche Grammophon, Harmonia Mundi and Decca labels, winning many awards:

A Grammy for his recordings of:
– Busoni’s Doktor Faust with the Opéra National de Lyon
– Peter and the Wolf with the Russian National Orchestra
– Saariaho’s L’amour de loin with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin

ECHO Klassik award:
In March 2016 the OSM and Kent Nagano won a first ECHO Klassik award for their complete version of L’Aiglon, a lyrical drama by Honegger and Ibert recorded as a world premiere on the Decca label.

Maestro Kent Nagano has received the following awards and distinctions:

– The insignia of Grand Officer from the Ordre national du Québec, in 2013

– Named a Great Montrealer by the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, in 2013

– The Order of the Rising Sun, the most prestigious decoration awarded by the Japanese government to a non-Japanese, in 2008

– The title of honorary citizen of the City of Montréal, in 2007

– Honorary doctorates from McGill University and Université de Montréal, in 2007

– The title of honorary conductor, in June 2006, at the conclusion of his mandate with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. Over that orchestra’s 60 years of existence, he is only the second recipient of that honor.