fmso music director christopher zimmerman
Christopher Zimmerman graduated from Yale with a B.A. in Music, and received his Master’s from the University of Michigan. He also studied with Seiji Ozawa and Gunther Schuller at Tanglewood, and at the Pierre Monteux School in Maine with Charles Bruck. Zimmerman served as an apprentice to Andrew Davis at the Toronto Symphony and in Prague, as assistant conductor to Vaclav Neumann and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. He is the conductor of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra in Virginia, and the former conductor of the American Youth Philharmonic in Washington DC.
The Washington Post writes of the Zimmerman’s conducting of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra:
“(In Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony) Zimmerman pushed the strings, especially in the quicksilver second movement, and they delivered beautifully. And he paid close attention not only to sarcasm and grotesquerie but also to soft passages -- this orchestra can handle quietude, but few conductors ask it to.” --May 2009
Zimmerman’s direction of the orchestra led to his immediate appointment as its new Music Director. Building on a career leading regional orchestras in the US and England, this most recent post confirms what critics and audiences alike have experienced attending Zimmerman’s concerts. From his professional debut, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, of which The Daily Telegraph of London observed:
“Contact with the orchestra seemed immediate, the result a reading in which the playing responded keenly to gestures which themselves were expressive both of the symphony’s fiery vigor and of its finer nuances. Christopher Zimmerman revealed a sharp interpretative profile and control of orchestral timbre.... a most auspicious London debut.”
Zimmerman’s debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was followed by engagements with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. He has also conducted the Prague Symphony, the Prague Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, the Slovak Philharmonic, the Seoul Philharmonic, the Mexico City Philharmonic and National Symphony, the Edmonton Symphony, the Toronto Philharmonia, the Hartford Symphony, the New Haven Symphony, the Ohio Chamber Orchestra among many other orchestras. In opera he has worked as the assistant conductor for “Carmen” at the Nimes Festival and as assistant conductor for “Salome” at the Mexico City Opera where he was immediately recommissioned to conduct a production of “Gianni Schicchi”. In 1989 he co-founded and became Music Director of the City of London Chamber Orchestra.
Prior to his appointment to the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, Zimmerman was Music Director of the Symphony of Southeast Texas and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and the City of London Chamber Orchestra.From 1999-2009 he held the Primrose Fuller Chair of Orchestral Studies at the Hartt School as well as the Music Directorship of the Hartt Symphony.
In 2007, Zimmerman was invited to the People's Republic of China to conduct the Shenyang and Xiamen Symphony Orchestras; he was invited back this past season to conduct the Shenzhen Symphony. In 2009, Zimmerman was invited to be Music Director of the Eleazar de Carvalho Summer Festival in Brazil, one of the most significant training grounds for young Brazilian musicians, and he returned in that capacity during the summer of 2011. In 2010 he returned for a third season as a guest conductor with the Wintergreen Performing Arts Festival in Virginia. Recent seasons have also brought guest engagements with the Thunder Bay and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras and the Toronto Philharmonia. This season he will debut with the Illinois Philharmonic as well as return to the Toronto Philharmonia.
In July, 2011, Mr. Zimmerman was announced as the first prize-winner of the “American Conducting Prize” in the professional orchestra category.