Elena Dubinets © Ben VanHouten

The London Philharmonic Orchestra today announced the appointment of Russian-born Elena Dubinets to the role of Artistic Director from September 2021. She joins the Orchestra from the US, where over a period of 15 years she made an outstanding impact on the artistic direction and vision of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

In Seattle she focussed on shaping and implementing the Orchestra’s artistic vision in her multifaceted role as Vice President of Artistic Planning and Creative Projects. She was responsible for its classical music programming, incorporating wide-ranging repertoire and numerous new commissions into the subscription series season, as well as late-night performances and collaborations in cross-arts partnerships such as with National Nordic Museum and Mark Morris Dance Group.

As a co-founder and executive producer of the Seattle Symphony Media in-house label, Dubinets led the organisation to receive five Grammy awards in five years and the 2018 Gramophone Magazine Orchestra of the Year Award. March 2019 saw the opening of the new Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Centre at Benaroya Hall. Dubinets was instrumental to all aspects of the creation, development and funding of this pioneering educational and experimental music venue.

In Autumn 2019 Dubinets joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as Chief Artistic Officer, bringing together the roles of Vice President of Artistic Planning and Senior Director of Education. Her tenure there ended due to the impact felt by the Orchestra during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A noted musicologist, Dubinets has taught at universities in the US, Russia and Costa Rica; published five books; and written hundreds of articles, liner and programme notes. Her next book, Russian Composers Abroad: How They Left, Stayed, Returned, will be published in October by Indiana University Press.

Dubinets will work side-by-side with the LPO’s CEO David Burke, as well as in close artistic collaboration with incoming Principal Conductor Edward Gardner, Principal Guest Conductor Karina Canellakis, and Vladimir Jurowski, who will become Conductor Emeritus from the end of the 2020/21 season.

Victoria Robey OBE, LPO Chairman, and Martin Höhmann, LPO President, commented:

‘It is with tremendous optimism that we welcome Elena Dubinets to the Artistic Directorship of the LPO. An artistic programmer and musicologist with vision, creative curiosity and true commitment to broadening community engagement, Elena is dedicated to exploring and embracing the opportunities and challenges of creating forward-facing artistic programming to engage the widest possible audiences. We welcome her energy, collaborative focus and outstanding flair as she will build the LPO’s voice for the future with a fresh approach to bringing classical music into the heart of our multi-cultural communities. Elena’s widely recognised innovation, attention to detail and huge interest in relevant technological applications, as well as her creativity and clarity of vision, is evident in the tremendous work she helped pioneer over more than 15 years at the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. We look forward to exciting years ahead with Elena leading our artistic vision for the future.’

Elena Dubinets commented:

‘I am honoured and excited to become part of the incredible London Philharmonic Orchestra as it enters a new era. With Edward Gardner as its new Principal Conductor, Principal Guest Conductor Karina Canellakis and Conductor Emeritus Vladimir Jurowski, the LPO has assembled a true “dream team” of phenomenal musical breadth and depth, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to join its creative team.

The simultaneous eruption of the pandemic landscape and social justice movements last year have led to considerable changes in our art form and made the musical world even more relevant and interconnected. I see my role as helping the LPO nurture both its local supporters and its global audiences through curating transformational music experiences filled with insight and wonder that will make the LPO a destination for artistically vibrant and socially impactful discoveries.’

Cristina Rocca joined the LPO in the autumn of 2020 from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, bringing with her a wealth of expertise, creativity and experience. During her brief time with the LPO she has made a real impact, working tirelessly to counter the effects of the pandemic and lockdown, ensuring continuity and the maintenance of the LPO’s high standards of excellence and artistic collaborations. Rocca has worked in close partnership with LPO CEO David Burke to solidify the Orchestra’s stability during this challenging time in spite of the very significant personal loss that now sees her deciding to step down from the post. Though very sorry to see her depart, the LPO is very grateful for having had the opportunity to work with her and fully supports her decision, wishing her all the very best in the years ahead.

Cristina Rocca commented:

‘For very personal reasons and with great difficulty, I have come to the conclusion that I need to leave London at this moment in my life. My wholehearted thanks to the LPO family for their support and understanding. In particular, I wish to thank Victoria Robey, Martin Höhmann and David Burke as they have been outstanding and wonderful colleagues. Special thanks also to the Concerts team: amongst the most dedicated and knowledgeable I have ever come across.

My deepest thanks to all the members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra for countless hours of wonderful music-making; their passion and musicianship are exemplary. Finally, I want to say how much I enjoyed working alongside Vladimir Jurowski, Edward Gardner and Karina Canellakis; they are fabulous musicians, totally dedicated to the LPO and its audiences. I will miss everyone terribly and very much hope to stay in touch with each and every one of them. A heartfelt “In bocca al lupo” to Ed for his first season as Principal Conductor!’

Claire Mera-Nelson, Director Music and London, Arts Council England, commented:

‘Arts Council England is pleased to welcome Elena Dubinets as the new Artistic Director for the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Building on the partnership between Cristina Rocca and David Burke, the LPO’s continued commitment to advancing the voice of female leaders within classical music is a welcome step in encouraging better representation across the sector. We look forward to seeing what the LPO achieves under their shared leadership.’