“Watch out for Christopher Zimmerman. The Music Director of the Fairfax Symphony has been injecting adrenalin into this determined ensemble since he took over on 2009, and the resulting performances--to judge by Saturday’s imaginative, high-octane concert--have made the Fairfax players a serious force to be reckoned with” (Stephen Brookes, Washington Post, 2013)
Subsequently appointed Music Director of the Fargo Moorhead Symphony Orchestra in 2013, reviewer John Lamb wrote “Christopher Zimmerman gave the… Orchestra a workout Saturday night and gave the audience something to stand and cheer about.” Zimmerman is also newly appointed Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the American Youth Philharmonic, the Washington DC area’s premiere youth orchestra.
Critics have continued to praise Zimmerman’s dynamic and thoughtful music-making, leadership and programming: “The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra is evidently more willing to push the envelope…Zimmerman’s energy and good will showed their best effect in the Bernstein…It was a note-perfect end to a very refreshing evening that spoke well for the programming vision of Zimmerman who just extended his Fairfax contract for another three years.” (Anne Midgette, Washington Post 2012)
Building on a career leading regional orchestras in the US and England, these most recent posts confirms what critics and audiences alike have experienced attending Zimmerman’s concerts. From his professional debut, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, of which The Daily
Telegraph of London observed “Contact with the orchestra seemed immediate, the result a reading in which the playing responded keenly to gestures which themselves were expressive both of the symphony’s fiery vigour and of its finer nuances. Christopher Zimmerman revealed a sharp interpretative profile and control of orchestral timbre.... a most auspicious London debut.” to guest conducting in Cleveland with the Ohio Chamber Orchestra, where Donald Rosenberg of the Cleveland Plain Dealer described his performance as “some of the finest conducting at Severance (Hall) in recent years,” Zimmerman elicits enthusiasm and praise. His leadership of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra continues to garner praise as Zimmerman enters his seventh season at its helm: “(In Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony) Zimmerman pushed the strings, especially in the quicksilver second movement, and they delivered beautifully. And he paid close attention not only to sarcasm and grotesquerie but also to soft passages -- this orchestra can handle quietude, but few conductors ask it to.”
Christopher Zimmerman was recognized as the winner of the American Conducting Prize in 2011, a new award given for nationwide performances by orchestral conductors, choral conductors, and a host of other categories.
Zimmerman’s debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was followed by engagements with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. He has since conducted orchestras all over the world--the Prague Symphony, the Slovak Philharmonic, the Turku Philharmonic, the Seoul Philharmonic, the Mexico City Philharmonic, the Caracas Philharmonic, National Orchestra of Rio de Janeiro, the Shenzhen Symphony, the Xiamen Symphony--to name a few. In opera he has worked as the assistant conductor for “Carmen” at the Nimes Festival and as assistant conductor for “Salome” at the Mexico City Opera where he was re-invited to conduct a full production of “Gianni Schicchi” the following season. His U.S. operatic debut conducting Carlisle Floyd’s “Susannah” won the National Opera Association’s First prize as did Bright Sheng’s “Song of Majnun”, which he also led. Zimmerman’s operatic repertoire is as diverse as it has proven successful, from Handel’s “Julius Caesar” through Verdi, Puccini, Strauss and Sheng.
Prior to his appointment to the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, Christopher Zimmerman was Music Director of the Symphony of Southeast Texas, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and the City of London Chamber Orchestra. His career has also embraced teaching and working with student orchestras and conductors; in 1993 he joined the conducting faculty at the College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati where he was Music Director of their concert orchestra, and in 1999 he was appointed as Fuller Professor of Orchestral Studies at the Hartt School as well as Music Director of the Hartt Symphony. A much sought after clinician and pedagogue, Mr. Zimmerman continues to teach at workshops and festivals around the world.
Christopher Zimmerman is committed to performing music by living composers and he has premiered over 35 works for orchestra by names such as Sylvie Bodorova, William Bolcom, Martin Bresnick, Avner Dorman, Jonathan Leshnoff, Christopher Rouse, Bright Sheng, Chris Theofanidis, Judith Weir and Ellen Taafe Zwilich. On July 4, 2012, Mr. Zimmerman gave the world premiere of "Lingua Angelorum” by Czech composer Sylvie Bodorova, a 50-minute song-cycle with the internationally renowned baritone Thomas Hampson and the Prague
Christopher Zimmerman graduated from Yale with a B.A. in Music, and received his Master’s from the University of Michigan. He also studied with Seiji Ozawa and Gunther Schuller at Tanglewood, and at the Pierre Monteux School in Maine with Charles Bruck. Zimmerman served as an apprentice to Andrew Davis and the Toronto Symphony and in Prague, as assistant conductor to Vaclav Neumann and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
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