James Conlon named principal conductor of Turin, Italy, orchestra

James Conlon named principal conductor of Turin, Italy, orchestra
James Conlon, music director of the L.A. Opera, has been named principal conductor of the Turin, Italy, orchestra. Conlon, who will be the first American to hold the post, will continue his L.A. duties. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

James Conlon has been named the new principal conductor of the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai in Turin, Italy, his representatives announced on Tuesday. Conlon, who currently serves as music director of Los Angeles Opera, will begin his new job at the start of the 2016-17 season.

Holding multiple conducting positions is common in the classical music world and Conlon's new appointment isn't expected to significantly interfere with his responsibilities in Los Angeles. In Turin, he will conduct eight weeks of programs per season, including tours, recordings, concert operas and choral works.


The last several months have seen a number of changes in Conlon's career. As previously announced, the 65-year-old conductor will conclude his tenure as the music director of the Ravinia Festival in Chicago at the end of the 2015 summer season. He will also step down from his post at Cincinnati's May Festival in 2016.

A New York native, Conlon has spent much of his career in Europe, leading such prestigious companies as the Paris National Opera, the Cologne Opera and the Rotterdam Philharmonic. He joined L.A. Opera at the start of the 2006-07 season, succeeding conductor Kent Nagano.

In 2013, Conlon renewed his contract with L.A. Opera through the end of the 2017-18 season. He is scheduled to appear at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in the fall to conduct Jake Heggie's "Moby Dick."

His appointment to the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai marks the first time that an American will hold the title of principal conductor. The ensemble is affiliated with Italy's state radio and television company RAI.

Conlon will succeed Juraj Valcuha at the orchestra. In a prepared statement, Conlon said: "Over the past five years, I have conducted the orchestra, as a guest, with great pleasure. I am enthusiastic at the prospect of collaborating with them on a regular basis."

Twitter: @DavidNgLAT