Joshua Weilerstein, Conductor


Joshua Weilerstein is Artistic Director Designate of the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne. He will begin his tenure with the orchestra in the 2015/16 season. With a repertoire ranging from Gesualdo to Rouse, he is committed to opening up the traditional classical repertoire to new audiences, enlivening and broadening concert-going and creating a natural dialogue between musicians and their public.

In 2014/15 he makes his debut with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in a program of Brahms/Pärt/Bartok/Ligeti, the Deutsches Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin, the symphony orchestras of Dallas, Detroit, and Grand Rapids, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, National Arts Center Orchestra (Ottawa), NHK Symphony (Tokyo), and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. He will also return to the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with whom he makes his Barbican debut in a program of Lutoslawski’s Concerto for Orchestra and the UK premiere of Christopher Rouse’s Prospero’s Rooms.

In addition to return engagements with the BBC SO, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Vancouver Symphony, the Florida Orchestra, and his alma mater the New England Conservatory, among others, he will take the Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg on a seven-city tour of Germany, including concerts in Munich, Cologne and Hannover. Further ahead, he will conduct the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, NDR Hannover and Lahti Symphony Orchestras, and he will return to the Danish NSO, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, and the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne.

Born into a musical family, Weilerstein’s career was launched when he won both the First Prize and the Audience Prize at the Malko Competition for Young Conductors in Copenhagen. He then completed a three-year appointment as Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic, which concluded in the 13/14 season. His varied experience has convinced him of the importance of forging an immediate and natural connection with an audience as well as with an orchestra. He also believes strongly in the universality and relevance of the great masters while appreciating the accessibility and innovation of living composers. For this reason, he is committed to presenting, whenever possible, at least one piece by a contemporary composer alongside more traditional repertoire.

Joshua Weilerstein believes fundamentally in the importance and value of music education. Wherever the opportunity arises, he will engage directly with his audience speaking from the stage or in pre/post-concert discussions. During his time as the Assistant Conductor with the New York Philharmonic, he was heavily involved in Young People’s Concerts, and also served as Concertmaster of Discovery Ensemble, a Boston-based chamber orchestra dedicated to presenting classical music to inner-city schools in Boston. He also established a close link with the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar (a product of the famed El Sistema music program in Venezuela) as the ensemble’s first non-Venezuelan guest violinist while still in his teens, and then as conductor in 2010 and 2012.

Joshua Weilerstein is always excited to hear from musicians and audiences alike. He is accessible on social media for conversation about the future of classical music, programming, and the experience of concert-going.

Well Begun Half Done
Berlingske Tidende
Fri, 2009-10-02
“Admitted! When he won the Danish Malko Competition, Berlingske Tidende did not have him down as a winner, as the American Joshua Weilerstein was only 21 years old, and he had never stood in front of a professional orchestra before. It seemed strange to appoint him as the winner. But one was fortunately wrong. Joshua is absolutely the right winner. He proved this, when he conducted the Danish N ational Symphony Orchestra […] and it is obvious that young Joshua has his own style. The orchestra sounds different in his hands. Take the opening piece - a contemporary piece, usually not a favorite with the audience. Far too many prefer to hear music they already know. But after only a few moments, everybody has come to terms with the choice of the piece. Joshua has formidably convinced the audience. And the humor is expressed using a couple of bulb horns. Well, well... Joshua Weilerstein also conducted Brahms' last symphony. A strict, statuary and almost gloomy piece. It ended softly streaming - perhaps a little eventless. But anyway: Even in this type of music, he has his own sound. And with the years to come, this young conductor will get more out of the slow movements and play even more up to the audience. In time he will be priceless. Wait and see....”
The 21-year old Malko Winner exceeded all expectations
Fri, 2009-10-02
"Last Spring, the 21-year old Joshua Weilerstein from Boston sensationally won the Malko Competition without ever having directed a professional orchestra before. In the finale, he triumphed the much more experienced conductors with his impressive energy and drive expressed in the first movement of Brahms’ fourth symphony, which is one of the most demanding pieces in its genre. The concert last Thursday was one of the first in the series of the Malko tour, which consists of 16 concerts directed by the winner of the competition. He will be directing 16 Nordic symphony orchestras playing very demanding symphonies. Brahms' fourth symphony is in fact a masterpiece that most conductors wouldn't touch until they are very experienced. It is very complex, full of details and energetic phrases, while at the same time being marked by a very serious undertone. It seemed like an impossible task, but Weilerstein succeeded with an impressive drive and intoxicating enthusiasm. He knew from the very beginning in which direction he wanted the orchestra to go and he never looked back along the way. He accentuated the great musical culminations with his fist, while the many complex details were smoothly shaped with his hands and swaying body. […] When three years of conducting lessons has brought him to where he is today, it is impossible to predict, where his great talent will take him in the future, when he has gained more experience.”
The Boy with the Baton
Fri, 2012-05-04
"Thursday Malko-winner Weilerstein was back with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra - as a human advertising pillar for the Malko Competition 2012. With a light tread and a wide smile he entered the podium and the orchestra was with him from the first beat." "Where the conductor made an effort to keep the orchestra down in Penderecki and Beethoven, he let the orchestral machinery loose in Dvorak Symphony no. 9. The desire to make music shone from the boy with the tense baton. A great evening in every way. Good, Weilerstein is back." Christine Christiansen
A Winner Returns
Fri, 2012-05-04
The former winner of the Malko Competition was received as a king by a boiling concert hall and he repaid with three highlights in the concert hall's history. He came, beat his beats and stole everybody's heart. The first applause had just stopped thundering and he showed why. Penderecki's "Threnos" from 1960 composed in commemorance of the victims of Hiroshima and sounds like a scream. Not a vulgar or shocking scream - as one often hears it. It was dignified and therefore more painful". "Weilerstein conducted a surprisingly unsentimental Dvorak Symphony no. 9. The familiar melodies stood surprisingly clear, almost supernaturally clear in his hands. It was an evening with highlight upon highlight".
Press Service

Photo: Jesse Weiner

Photo: Jesse Weiner

Photo: Jesse Weiner

Photo: Jesse Weiner

Photo: Jakob Boserup