Lorenzo Viotti appointed as chief conductor

The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Dutch National Opera have appointed a new Chief Conductor: Lorenzo Viotti. The 29-year-old conductor with Swiss and French dual nationality will take over in the 2021-2022 season.

He is an inspirational conductor, who has shown himself more than worthy of the most prominent concert podia and opera houses’, says Rob Streevelaar, managing director of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. ‘His deep understanding, passion and commitment for the stage coupled with his respect and love for the singers, provides a powerful combination of drama and music’, adds Sophie de Lint, director of Dutch National Opera. Lorenzo Viotti will take over the baton from Marc Albrecht, who is stepping down at the end of next season.

Lorenzo Viotti made his debut with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra in 2018, when he conducted Stravinsky’s Petrushka in The Concertgebouw Amsterdam. He has also made his name as an opera conductor, and is currently conducting Bizet’s Carmen at the Paris Opera. He has won several major conducting competitions, the highlight being the Nestlé Young Conductors Award at Salzburg Festival in 2015. In 2017, he was proclaimed ‘newcomer of the year’ at the International Opera Awards.

Choice for NedPho and DNO

Viotti has conducted some of the most renowned orchestras of our time, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Vienna Symphonic Orchestra,  Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, Staatskapelle Berlin, the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Filarmonica della Scala. At the moment, Lorenzo Viotti is Principal Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon.

Rob Streevelaar, managing director of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra: ‘In view of his huge international success, we realise just how privileged we are that Lorenzo has chosen the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Dutch National Opera for the next step in his conducting career. Appointing this fantastic young conductor feels like a gift to the orchestra and is a musical promise to all concerned.’

Talented opera conductor

Viotti has recently conducted Rigoletto (Staatsoper Stuttgart and Semperoper Dresden), Werther (Oper Frankfurt and Opernhaus Zürich), Tosca (Oper Frankfurt and New National Theatre Tokyo) and Carmen (Staatsoper Hamburg and Opéra National de Paris). His futrure projects include Manon Lescaut (Oper Frankfurt), Carmen (Metropolitan Opera), Madama Butterfly (Semperoper Dresden), La bohème and Faust (Opéra National de Paris), Roméo et Juliette and Thaïs (Teatro alla Scala). At Dutch National Opera, he will open the season with Verdi and Puccini before delving into masterpieces from the Romantic German repertoire and many others.

Sophie de Lint, director of Dutch National Opera: 'When I first saw Lorenzo Viotti conduct a symphonic concert I was immediately impressed by the special connection and chemistry he shared with the musicians, allowing for unique music-making. Later, when I witnessed Lorenzo working on Werther at the Zurich Opera, it became crystal clear to me that he would be the ideal musical partner for Dutch National Opera. I look forward to collaborating with this exceptionally gifted maestro and to accompanying him throughout his new artistic journey at DNO.'

Musical family

Lorenzo Viotti comes from a musical family. He studied piano, voice and percussion in Lyon before, like his father Marcello Viotti, finally deciding to focus on conducting. He took lessons in orchestral conducting from Georg Mark in Vienna and Nicolás Pasquet in Weimar. He is regularly invited to conduct some of the orchestras that his father once conducted, including the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, where his father stood on the rostrum in 1996 and 1999. According to most members of the orchestra, Lorenzo is very different from his father in all ways but one: ‘They both sing along during rehearsals.’

Dual role

Since it was formed in 1985, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra has been the resident orchestra of Dutch National Opera, with principal conductor Hartmut Haenchen acting as first principal conductor in this special dual role. Lorenzo Viotti succeeds Marc Albrecht, who is leaving the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Dutch National Opera in the 2019-2020 season after a spell of ten years.

Photography: Desiré van den Berg