Fabio Luisi

Music Director

Louise W. & Edmund J. Kahn Music Directorship

GRAMMY® Award-winner Fabio Luisi launched his tenure as Louise W. & Edmund J. Kahn Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) at the start of the 2020/21 season. In January 2021, the DSO and Luisi announced an extension of the Music Director contract through the 2028/29 season. A maestro of major international standing, the Italian conductor embarks on his ninth and final season as General Music Director of the Zurich Opera and his fifth as Principal Conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. He previously served for six seasons as Principal Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera.

Fabio Luisi’s 2020/21 programs in Dallas and for the DSO’s NEXT STAGE platform include revised repertoire for smaller ensembles reflecting the realities and health considerations required for live performance in the age of COVID. Pianist Yefim Bronfman joined Luisi and the DSO for an all-Beethoven program; mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford and tenor Stuart Skelton appeared as soloists in a chamber version of Mahler’s The Song of the Earth; and a celebration of the operas of Giuseppe Verdi—Luisi has won wide acclaim for his performances of the great Italian composer’s music—featured soprano Angela Meade, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton and tenor Bryan Hymel. In five spring programs, Luisi will conduct music by Beethoven, Bizet, Mahler (the chamber version of the Fourth Symphony), Richard Strauss (Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme Suite) and concertos with violinists Leonidas Kavakos and DSO Concertmaster Alexander Kerr, the pianist Alessandro Taverna, and the world premiere of Angélica Negrón’s En otro noche, en otro mundo (On Another Night, In Another World). Last season, Luisi led a concert performance of Richard Strauss’s opera Salome and Alpine Symphony, the Dallas premieres of Fountain of Youth by DSO composer-in-residence Julia Wolfe and Aureole by Augusta Read Thomas.

Beyond Dallas this season, Luisi will finish his tenure at the Zurich Opera with Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra with Christian Gerhaher in the title role and Jennifer Rowley as Amelia. With the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, where his contract was recently extended until 2026, Luisi will conduct a wide range of repertoire, with a special focus on music by Danish composers of the past and present, especially works by Nielsen and Langgaard as well as Abrahamsen and Sørensen. Luisi’s appearances as guest conductor will include several concerts with the Filarmonica della Scala, Philadelphia Orchestra and NHK Tokyo, as well as concerts with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra that include taking the orchestra to the Mahler Festival in Leipzig in May 2021. Last season, Luisi conducted Richard Strauss’s Arabella in Zurich in a new staging by Robert Carsen. He also returned to the Paris Opera for Aribert Reimann’s Lear and Verdi’s Don Carlo with Roberto Alagna and Michael Fabiano sharing the title role.

The conductor received his first GRAMMY® Award in March 2013 for his leadership of the last two operas of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, when Deutsche Grammophon’s DVD release of the full cycle, recorded live at the Met, was named Best Opera Recording of 2012. In February 2015, the Philharmonia Zurich launched its Philharmonia Records label with three Luisi recordings: Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique; a double album surveying Wagner’s Preludes and Interludes, and a DVD of Verdi’s Rigoletto. Subsequent releases include a survey of Rachmaninov’s Four Piano Concertos and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with soloist Lise de la Salle, and a rare recording of the original version of Bruckner’s monumental Symphony No. 8. Luisi’s extensive discography also includes rare Verdi operas (Jérusalem, Alzira and Aroldo), Salieri’s La locandiera, Bellini’s I puritani and I Capuleti e i Montecchi, with Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanča for Deutsche Grammophon, and the symphonic repertoire of Honegger, Respighi and Liszt. He has recorded all the symphonies and the oratorio Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln by neglected Austrian composer Franz Schmidt; several works by Richard Strauss for Sony Classical; and an award-winning account of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony with the Staatskapelle Dresden.

Born in Genoa in 1959, Luisi began piano studies at the age of four and received his diploma from the Conservatorio Niccolò Paganini in 1978. He later studied conducting with Milan Horvat at the University for Music and performing Arts in Graz. Named both Cavaliere della Repubblica Italiana and Commendatore della Stella d’Italia for his role in promoting Italian culture abroad, in 2014 he was awarded the Grifo d’Oro, the highest honor given by the city of Genoa, for his contributions to the city’s cultural legacy. Off the podium, Luisi is an accomplished composer whose Saint Bonaventure Mass received its world premiere at New York’s St. Bonaventure University, followed by its New York City premiere in the MetLiveArts series, with the Buffalo Philharmonic and Chorus. As reported by the New York Times, CBS Sunday Morning and elsewhere, he is also a passionate maker of perfumes, which he produces in a one-person operation, flparfums.com.