LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (September 9, 2021) — Today, the Los Angeles Opera announced the extension of Music Director James Conlon’s contract through the end of the 2024-25 season, which will mark his 19th season with the company.

“I am extremely happy to continue my collaboration with all of the forces of Los Angeles Opera,” said James Conlon. “I am grateful for the close working relationship to the LA Opera Orchestra and Chorus, the music staff, and stage team, Christopher Koelsch, the entire administration, and Board of Directors. As we gradually emerge from these many months of closure during the pandemic, I feel I could not have better colleagues throughout the opera company. Their support, and that of our public, gives me great hope for our continued mission of keeping opera thriving in today’s world.”

Since commencing his tenure in 2006, Mr. Conlon has conducted 404 performances with the company, leading 62 different operas including two world premieres, two U.S. premieres, and 29 company premieres. He has conducted numerous landmark productions for the company, including the 2010 Ring cycle, the 2013 Britten centenary festival, the 2015 “Figaro Trilogy,” and the multi-year Recovered Voices project (devoted to presenting the works of composers suppressed by the Nazis). His recordings of LA Opera productions have received four Grammy® Awards, two each for John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles and Kurt Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.

In addition to raising the profile of the LA Opera Orchestra, Mr. Conlon has become a familiar and much admired presence in the LA community as a champion of public education, leading enormously popular pre-performance talks and collaborating frequently with local universities, museums, performing arts organizations, and other cultural institutions. Through his podcasts and his writings, he has been an active presence on the LA Opera website throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. His 2021-22 season with LA Opera is bookended by Verdi’s Il Trovatore and Aida; to date, he has conducted more than 500 lifetime performances of that composer’s operas.

“We’re looking at our long-awaited resumption of full-scale productions as an opportunity not just to return to the way things were but to refine and expand our rich artistic profile,” said LA Opera President and CEO Christopher Koelsch. “I am truly honored to continue our long, happy, and artistically fruitful collaboration with James Conlon, who has made such an incredible and indelible impact on the company and our community.”


One of today’s most versatile and respected conductors, James Conlon has cultivated a vast symphonic, operatic, and choral repertoire. He has conducted virtually every major American and European symphony orchestra since his debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1974. Through worldwide touring, an extensive discography and videography, numerous essays and commentaries, and frequent television appearances and guest speaking engagements, he is one of classical music’s most recognized interpreters.

In addition to serving as LA Opera Music Director, Mr. Conlon is Artistic Advisor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He has previously held the positions of Principal Conductor of the RAI National Symphony Orchestra in Torino, Italy; Principal Conductor of the Paris Opera; General Music Director of the City of Cologne, Germany, simultaneously leading the Gürzenich Orchestra and the Cologne Opera; and Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. He was also Music Director of the Ravinia Festival, summer home of the Chicago Symphony, and is now Music Director Laureate of the Cincinnati May Festival, where he was Music Director for almost four decades.

As a guest conductor at the Metropolitan Opera, he has led more than 270 performances since his 1976 debut. He has also conducted at leading opera houses and festivals including the Wiener Staatsoper, Salzburg Festival, La Scala, Mariinsky Theatre, Covent Garden, Chicago Lyric Opera, and Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

In an effort to call attention to lesser-known works of composers silenced by the Nazi regime, Mr. Conlon has devoted himself to extensive programming of this music throughout Europe and North America. His work in this area led to the creation of The OREL Foundation, the Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices at the Colburn School, and a recent virtual TEDx Talk titled “Resurrecting Forbidden Music.”

Mr. Conlon holds four honorary doctorates and has received numerous other awards. He was one of the first five recipients of the Opera News Awards and was honored by the New York Public Library as a Library Lion. He was named Commendatore Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana by Sergio Mattarella, President of the Italian Republic. He was also named Commandeur de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture and, in 2002, personally accepted France’s highest honor, the Legion d’Honneur, from then-President of the French Republic Jacques Chirac.

For more information about James Conlon, visit JamesConlon.com.