Biography & Curriculum Vitae
About Kevin Rhodes
American conductor Kevin Rhodes enjoys a wonderfully varied career spanning concerts, opera and ballet across the globe, having conducted in over 15 different countries with more than 50 different orchestras. This season he is celebrating twin 19th Anniversary Seasons as Music Director of Massachusetts’ Springfield Symphony Orchestra and Michigan’s Traverse Symphony Orchestra and his tenth season as Principal Conductor of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra in Boston in addition to continuing his ongoing relationships with the Opera Houses of Vienna, Milan, and Oslo.
His work extends from the major opera houses of Europe to the concert stages of the US. He has been a presence in the major musical capitals of Europe for well over 20 years, with credits including The Paris Opera, The Vienna State Opera, The Berlin State Opera, La Scala of Milan, The Dutch National Ballet, The Verona Ballet, The Stuttgart Ballet, The New York City Ballet and many others. Rhodes is one of the most sought after conductors by the world’s major ballet companies and their orchestras. His work at many of those illustrious opera houses has been seen and heard throughout Europe in many televised appearances and all over the world with the introduction of cinema performances, in addition to a number of productions having been filmed for DVD.
After starting the summer of 2019 with a very successful debut with the Korean Symphony Orchestra in Seoul, S. Korea, the 2019-2020 season sees Maestro Rhodes returning to the Vienna State Opera and celebrating 25 years conducting for the State Ballet in the highly acclaimed Manuel Legris production of “Sylvia” which had it’s premiere last season, described by Wilhelm Sinkovicz of Die Presse as “Also acoustically fairy-tale like … an always tense narrative thread, constantly driven forward by the orchestra under Kevin Rhodes thanks to Delibes’ colorful instrumentation. A ballet dream. ” and by Verena Franke of the Wiener Zeitung: “Kevin Rhodes leads with an infectious enthusiasm extremely attuned to the soloists …”. He will also lead for the 6th time the end of season Nureyev Gala, an over four hour tribute to the legendary ballet star. This season he also returns to La Scala in Milan with the Legris “Sylvia” production for performances at the famed Italian house, including the New Year’s Eve special performances.
Rhodes also returns in 2020 to the Oslo Opera House to continue his relationship with the Norwegian National Ballet in a series of Ballet Festival performances throughout the month of March with a fascinating rotating repertoire. He also begins a new relationship with the Opera House of Chemnitz in Germany as well in 2020 with one of his signature pieces, Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet”.
Back on the US side of the Atlantic this season Rhodes continues his leadership of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in Massachusetts and the Traverse Symphony Orchestra in Michigan as well as continuing as the Principal Conductor of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston. Season highlights include an all Wagner Gala with dramatic soprano, Othalie Graham in Michigan featuring excerpts from “Götterdämmerung”, “Tristan und Isolde”, and “Tannhäuser”; “Carmina Burana” with the combined SSO Chorus, UMass choruses and the Amherst based Illuminati Chorus; collaborations with cellist Julian Schwartz, pianists Spencer Meyer, Ralph Votapek, John Novacek, Viktor Valkov, and many others. Maestro Rhodes will also return to the piano in performances of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” conducting from the keyboard as well as many chamber music concerts in honor of Beethoven’s 250th birthday in 2020.
Kevin Rhodes began his European career as a house conductor at the Basel Stadttheater in Basel, Switzerland. After Basel, he moved on to the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf/Duisburg Germany as a First Kappelmeister leading hundreds of performances of the standard operatic repertoire from Magic Flute to Der Rosenkavelier, while at the same time serving as the principal ballet conductor of the Vienna State Opera after a very successful debut season there with Nutcracker and Romeo and Juliet. Further engagements followed at many other opera houses and orchestras throughout the continent…Berlin, Wiesbaden, Heidelberg, Naples, Verona, Milan, Paris, Stuttgart , etc.
Since returning to the US in 2001 to take over the leadership of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in Massachusetts and Traverse Symphony Orchestra in Michigan, he has devoted himself to the building of those two ensembles as well as attending to the many outreach and education activities of those institutions. Under his leadership those ensembles and audiences have experienced tremendous growth and enthusiasm about classical music. With the start of the 2010-2011 season, Rhodes began working as Principal Conductor of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston and has been invigorating that ensemble with his trademark energy. Maestro Rhodes has also guest conducted the Houston Symphony, the Jacksonville Symphony (FL), the Canton Symphony (OH), the Queens Symphony (NJ) and many more. Kevin Rhodes Profile in MyNorth
Back in the United States, 2018-2019 Rhodes had many exciting collaborations and concerts with his three orchestras including notably the 75th Anniversary of the Springfield (MA) Symphony Orchestra with gala performances of works like Copland’s 3rd Symphony and Mahler 2, “The Resurrection”. He also initiated such projects as the “Real Time Concert Notes” in Springfield, a concept whereby audience members who are so inclined may sit in a certain section of the hall and receive directly to their phone on a special app, information about the piece timed along with the music performance. He also began a project, which will continue beyond the 2018-2019 season, of guiding the audience through a survey of American women composers, bringing during this first season in Springfield works from 5 of the leading lights of current composition. This theme will also be carried over into his work with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston. In Traverse City, the Orchestra had it’s first collaboration with a relatively new professional company based there with dancers taken from the best companies in the US in Richard Danielpour’s “Urban Dancesk” and Debussy’s “La Mer” as well as the world premiere of a new piano concerto by Kenji Bunch. Rhodes continued his commitment to making the concert hall more than just a place to hear music, but rather a place to have singular experiences with music involving all sorts of thought, feeling and art.
In Europe during the 2017-2018 season Rhodes continued his long (24 years) relationship with the Orchestra and Ballet of the Vienna State Opera in four productions including music by Glazunov, Bach, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Liszt, Shostakovich and many others. In addition to having several performances from the State Opera live-streamed around the world, 2017 also saw the DVD release of the highly acclaimed Vienna production of “Don Quixote”. Rhodes also returned to Stuttgart in 2017 for productions of “Swan Lake” and “Romeo and Juliet”. During the 2018-2019 season, in addition to returning to Vienna for the above mentioned productions of “Sylvia”, “Nutcracker” and the Nureyev Gala, Maestro Rhodes will also make his return to the Norwegian National Ballet in Oslo, Norway for their production of “Nutcracker”, after a very successful debut with “Don Quixote”.
In the 2016-2017 season Maestro Rhodes made his highly successful debut with the Norwegian National Ballet in Oslo for a production of Don Quixote at the Oslo Opera House. He also returned to the Paris Opera for a triple bill of Ballanchine masterpieces with music by Stravinsky, Brahms/Schoenberg and Tchaikovsky. 19 years after having led the last major Viennese revival of Glazunov’s Raymonda in the legendary staging of Rudolf Nureyev in 1997, he conducted last season’s new staging which was seen worldwide in a special Live from the Vienna State Opera streaming event. In addition to that production he led lead the annual season finale, a Nureyev Gala celebrating the famed dancer and choreographer’s life and work with soloists and guests from around the world. He is also conducted performances of the Stuttgart Ballet’s production of John Cranko’s immortal staging of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet.
Rhodes began his professional conducting career at the age of 16 in his hometown of Evansville, Indiana. He received his BM in Piano Performance from Michigan State University where he studied conducting with Maestro Leon Gregorian, and earned his MM in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Illinois under the tutelage of Paul Vermel.
- Vienna State Opera, Vienna, Austria 1995-2020
- Norwegian National Ballet, Oslo, Norway 2017, 2018, 2020
- Stuttgart Ballet, Stuttgart, Germany 2016, 2017
- Paris Opera, Paris, France 2005-2016
- Tokyo Philharmonic, Tokyo, Japan 2015
- Stamford Symphony Orchestra, Stamford, CT 2015
- New Tokyo City Philharmonic, Tokyo, Japan 2014
- Santa Fe Symphony, Santa Fe, New Mexico 2014
- Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, Tacoma, WA 2013
- Windsor Symphony Orchestra, Windsor, ON 2012
- Dutch National Ballet, (Het National Ballet) Holland Symfonia, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2010
- National Performing Arts Center Orchestra, Bejing, China, 2010
- La Scala, Milan, Italy, 2010, 2006-2007, 2005, 2003, 2001, 2019, 2020
- Hartford Symphony Orchestra, 2010
- Verona Opera, Verona, Italy, 2006-2007
- Houston Symphony, Houston, Texas, 2007
- Queens Symphony Orchestra, Queens, New York, 2006
- Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2006, 2008
- Symphony Orchestra Basel, Basel, Switzerland, 2006
- Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Duesseldorf, Germany, 2005
- Rurhgebiet Festival, Bochum, Germany, 2004
- Canton Symphony Orchestra, Canton, Ohio, 2003
- Delaware Symphony Orchestra, Wilmington, Deleware, 2003
- Berlin State Opera, Berlin, Germany, 1999, 2000
- Teato Real, Madrid, Spain, 2000
- Zagreb Philharmonic, Zagreb, Croatia, 2000
- Sinfonie Orchester Basel, Basel, Switzerland, 1999,2002
- Vienna Volksoper, Vienna, Austria 1997-1999
- Wuertembuergisches Staatstheater, Stuttgart, Germany, 1998
- Hessisches Staatstheater, Wiesbaden,Germany, 1996, 1997, 1998
- Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville, Florida, 1997
- Suedwestfaellisches Philharmonie, Germany, 1996, 1998, 2000
- Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Springfield, Massachusetts, Music Director, 2001-present
- Traverse Symphony Orchestra, Traverse City, Michigan, Music Director, 2001-present
- Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Boston, Massachusetts, Principal Conductor, 2010-present
- Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Duesseldorf/Duisburg, Germany, Kappelmeister, 1996-2001
- Vienna State Opera, Vienna, Austria, Principal Ballet Conductor, 1996-2001
- Stadttheater Basel, Basel, Switzerland, Kappelmeister, 1991-1996
- Basel Chamber Symphony, Basel, Switzerland, Music Director, 1995-2001
- Swiss Chamber Philharmonic, Zurich, Switzerland, Music Director, 1999-2001
- Basel Festival Orchestra, Basel, Swizterland, Principal Guest Conductor, 1997-2001
- Albuquerque Civic Light Opera, Albuquerque, NM, Music Director, 1989-1991
- Michigan State University – East Lansing, Michigan Bachelor Degree – Piano Performance 1987
- University of Illinois – Urbana, Illinois Master Degree – Orchestral Conducting 1989
- Aspen Music Fesitval – Aspen, Colorado Conducting Seminar 1986, 1987