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Kent Nagano

Kent Nagano is one of the most exciting American conductors, with a particular expertise in 20th Century repertory.

His parents were Nissei (second-generation Japanese-Americans), who ran a family farm in Morro Park. He was brought up with American and Japanese traditions. For instance, in music he studied viola, clarinet, and koto, in addition to being taught piano by his mother. He attended the University of California at Santa Cruz, graduating with highest honors. He took an advanced degree at San Francisco State University. At the same time he worked with the San Francisco Opera as assistant to conductor Laszlo Varga.

From 1977 to 1979 he was Associate Artistic Director of the Opera Company of Boston under Sarah Caldwell, while studying conducting and musicology with Osbourne McConathy. In 1979 he returned to the San Francisco Bay Area. There he was Assistant Conductor of the Oakland Symphony, Music Director of the Oakland Ballet Orchestra, and Music Director of the Berkeley Promenade, which afterward changed its name to the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra.

He gained his first international reputation in a distinctly unorthodox manner: The unorthodox rock composer Frank Zappa chose him to conduct his very difficult orchestral music in a project with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1983. The next year the eminent French composer Oliver Messiaen picked Nagano to assist Seiji Ozawa in preparing the 1984 world premiere of his opera Saint Francis of Assisi.

In 1984 Nagano made headlines by substituting on less than a day's notice and with no rehearsal with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Mahler's Ninth Symphony. The standing ovations and acclaim led to receiving a Seaver Conducting Award, the largest cash conducting award, intended to "develop the talent and artistry of American conductors on the threshold of major international careers." He used the prize for studies with Ozawa, Boulez, and Bernstein.

In 1989 he was appointed Music Director of the Lyon Opera Orchestra. In 1990 he became Associate Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and won two Gramophone Awards for his recording of Prokofiev's Love of Three Oranges with the Lyon Opera. In 1991 he was named Principal Conductor of the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, England.

His first recording with the Hallé was a Shostakovich & Prokofiev Violin Concerto with Vadim Repin. In 1995 he won his first Grammy for his Lyon Opera recording of Carlisle Floyd's Susannah, and a second Grammy for Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf with Patrick Stewart as narrator.

He has guest conducted widely, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, The Berlin Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the German Symphony Orchestra. His recordings stress 20th Century music, including Britten's The Rescue of Penelope, Adam's El Dorado, Slonimsky's Earbox, and Lolapolooza, and Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmelites. Throughout all this he retained his association with the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra. ~ Joseph Stevenson
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Peter And The Wolf: Wolf Tracks

Composer: Sergey Prokofiev
Title: Peter And The Wolf, Children's Tale For Narrator & Orchestra, Op. 67
Composer: Jean-Pascal Beintus
Title: Wolf Tracks, For Narrator & Orchestra
x

Track List: Kaija Saariaho: L'Amour de loin

Disc 1
Title: L'amour De Loin, Opera

1. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act I. Traversée

2. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 1. Tableau 1. J'ai Appris à Parler Du Bonheur

3. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 1. Tableau 2. Peut-être Bien Qu'elle N'existe Pas

4. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 1. Tableau 2. Qu'as-tu Fait De Moi, Pèlerin?

5. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 2. Tableau 1

6. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 2. Tableau 1. Pèlerin, Dites-moi!

7. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 2. Tableau 1. Un Homme Pense à Vous

8. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 2. Tableau 2. Rien Ne Vous Oblige à L'aimer

9. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 2. Tableau 2. Ja Mais D'amor

10. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 3. Tableau 1

11. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 3. Tableau 1. Pèlerin, Pèlerin, Dis-moi

12. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 3. Tableau 1. Jaufré, Elle Sait

13. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 3. Tableau 1. Peut-être Ferais-je Mieux De M'en Aller

14. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 3. Tableau 2. Ben Tenc Lo Seignor Per Verai

15. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 3. Tableau 2. Non, Par Notre Seigneur

Disc 2

1. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 4. Tableau 1

2. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 4. Tableau 1. Me Croiras-tu, Pèlerin

3. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 4. Tableau 2

4. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 4. Tableau 2. Je L'ai Vue, Pèlerin

5. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 4. Tableau 2. Calme-toi, Jaufré

6. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 4. Tableau 3. Je Devrais êTre L'homme Le Plus Heureux Du Monde

7. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 4. Tableau 3. Ces Choses Se Savent, Oui

8. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 5. Tableau 1. Comtesse, Regardez

9. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 5. Tableau 1. Noble Dame, Je Vous Apporte Une Nouvelle

10. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 5. Tableau 2. C'est Vous, C'est Vous

11. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 5. Tableau 2. J'aurais Tant Voulu

12. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 5. Tableau 2. Seigneur, Si Je Pouvais Rester Ainsi

13. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 5. Tableau 3. J'espère Encore, Mon Dieu

14. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 5. Tableau 3. J'avais Cru En Toi

15. L'amour De Loin, Opera: Act 5. Tableau 4. Si Tu T'appelles Amour

x

Track List: Messiaen: Saint François d'Assise / van Dam, Upshaw, Nagano

Disc 1
Title: Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52

1. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Un Peu Vif (J'ai Peur, Sur La Route - 1st Strophe)

2. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: J'ai Peur, Sur La Route - 2nd Strophe

3. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: J'ai Peur, Sur La Route - 3rd Strophe

4. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: S'il Se Met Pleuvoir

5. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Saint Francois Et Frere Leon Remettent Leur Capuchon...

6. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Un Peu Lent

7. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Lou Sois-tu, Mon Seigneur, Pour Frere Vent

8. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Lou Sois-tu, Mon Seigneur, Pour Soeur Eau

9. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Lou Sois-tu, Mon Seigneur, Pour Soeur Notre Mere La Terre

10. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Saint! Saint! Saint!

11. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: O Toi! Toi Qui As Fait Le Temps!

12. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Bien Modere

13. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Comment Peut-on Vivre Une Telle Vie?

14. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Entre Saint Francois...

15. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: La Penitence! La Penitence! Enleve-moi D'abord Mes Pustules

16. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Lepreux, Ton Coeur T'accuse

17. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Pardonne-moi, Pere, Je Recrimine Toujours

18. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Miracle! Regarde, Pere

19. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Pere, Pere, J'ai Tellement Protest Contre Mes Souffrances

Disc 2

1. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Act II: Un Peu Vif

2. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: J'ai Peur, Sur La Route

3. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Frere Massee Rentre Dans La Salle Conventuelle...

4. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Qui Peut Frapper De La Sorte?

5. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Pourquoi Me Derange-t-on Sans Cesse?

6. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Mais, Il Frappe Encore!

7. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Dieu Te Donne Sa Paix, Bon Frere!

8. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Puis-je A Mon Tour Te Poser Une Question?

9. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: L'ange Fait Un Petit Geste De La Main...

10. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Act II: Bien Modere

11. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Toutes Ces Gloires Dont Parle L'apotre Me Ravissent

12. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Montre-moi Combien Est Grande L'abondance De Douceur

13. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Chant De La Fauvette Gerygone...

14. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Que Me Veux-tu, Frere Gheppio, Faucon Crecerelle?

15. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Francois! Francois!

16. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Pardonne Ma Priere, Bel Ange De Dieu...

17. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: L'ange Se Prepare Jouer De La Viole...

18. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: J'ai Peur, Sur La Route (Bien Modere)

19. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Mes Petites Brebis, Merci De Vos Soins

Disc 3
Disc 4

1. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Act III: Bien Modere

2. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Seigneur Jesus-christ, Accorde-moi Deux Graces

3. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Les Miens, Je Les Ai Aimes

4. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: O Faiblesse!... Ame Tres Meprisable!...

5. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Une Lueur Rouge Et Violette Enflamme Toute La Scene...

6. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Si Tu Portes De Bon Coeur La Croix

7. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Tres Modere

8. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Adieu, Creature De Temps! Adieu, Creature D'espace!

9. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Loue Sois-tu, Mon Seigneur, Pour Soeur Mort

10. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: J'appelle: Ha! Et Ma Voix: Ha!

11. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Francois! Francois! Rappelle-toi

12. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Seigneur! Seigneur! Musique Et Poesie M'ont Conduit Vers Toi

13. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Il Est Parti... Comme Un Silence

14. Saint François D'assise, Opera In 3 Acts, I/52: Autre Est L'eclat De La Lune, Autre Est L'eclat Du Soleil, Alleluia!

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