Frédéric Chaslin is Music Director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, a position he started in September 2012.
Conductor, pianist, composer and author, Frédéric Chaslin was born in Paris and educated at the Paris Conservatoire and the Salzburg Mozarteum. He began his conducting career in 1989 as assistant to Daniel Barenboim in Paris and Bayreuth. He became Pierre Boulez’s assistant at the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris in 1991.
Mr. Chaslin made his Santa Fe Opera debut in 2009 conducting Verdi’s La Traviata and opened the 2011 season with Gounod’s Faust. Performances in 2012 included Tosca and Rossini’s Maometto II. He served as the Company’s Music Director from 2010-2012.
Major international festivals and opera companies at which Mr. Chaslin has appeared include leading houses in New York, Berlin, Munich, Leipzig, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Venice, Scotland, and Wales. He has also led all the major Parisian orchestras, the Vienna Symphony and Philharmonic, the Manchester Hallé, and the London Symphony and Philharmonia.
Mr. Chaslin, who served as music director at Rouen Opera for three years, made his international début in 1993 at Austria’s Bregenz Festival, where he conducted for four seasons and collaborated with David Pountney on notable productions of Nabucco and Fidelio. He served as the chief conductor of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra from 1999 to 2002, and was a resident conductor at the Vienna Staatsoper starting in 1997, conducting more than 130 performances of major repertory. He was named general music director of Germany’s Nationaltheater Mannheim in 2005.
Mr. Chaslin made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2002, conducting Il Trovatore to great acclaim, and since then has led Met productions of The Tales of Hoffmann, Sicilian Vespers, The Barber of Seville, and La Bohème. He conducted Romeo and Juliet at the Los Angeles Opera in 2005, with Rolando Villazon and Anna Netrebko in the title roles. Mr. Chaslin returned to the Vienna State Opera for La Juive with Neil Shicoff and Werther with Jonas Kaufmann.
With a symphonic and operatic repertoire that ranges from Bach to contemporary music and drawing on his experience working with Barenboim in Bayreuth, he led a complete Ring cycle in Hanover. In Mannheim he conducted other Wagner operas including Tristan und Isolde and Tannhäuser as well as all of Richard Strauss’s major works.
Among his performances as pianist, Mr. Chaslin appeared with the Vienna Philharmonic in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, and from the keyboard he conducted Ravel’s G Major Concerto in Japan, Italy, Israel.
Mr. Chaslin considers the renewal of the repertoire an absolute priority, and has been involved in more than twenty world premieres of contemporary works. He addresses this topic in his latest book, Music in Every Sense, an in-depth look at aspects of modern music and its relationship with the audience. Already published in French and German, the book will soon appear in English.
As a composer, Mr. Chaslin has written orchestral pieces, movie soundtracks, and operas. His compositions include the Chagall Suite for Orchestra, whose world premiere was performed by the Jerusalem Symphony, “Diva Dance” for the film The Fifth Element, and the opera Wuthering Heights, on a libretto by P.H. Fisher and recorded by the London Philharmonia and the London Sympony Chorus, with soprano Olga Peretyatko. The Overture, Choral Suite from Wuthering Heights have been recently performed in Oslo, Bologna, Israel. Wuthering Heights selections were performed in St. Petersburg with Valery Gergiev conducting Natalie Dessay, singing two of the lead arias from the opera. Diana Damrau sings Mr. Chaslin’s Vocalise on her recently released album. He has written complete song cycles for soprano and baritone based on the poems of Robert Frost. Current works-in-progress include a symphony, orchestral and chamber compositions, an operatic Diptyque Fantastique: La Morte Amoureuse coupled with Avatar, based on the short works of French author, Theophile Gautier, libretto by P.H. Fisher.