Conductor Michael Stern is Music Director of the Kansas City Symphony and Founding Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the IRIS Orchestra. Michael Stern and Kansas City have been hailed for their remarkable artistic ascent, original programming, organizational development and stability, and the extraordinary growth of its varied audiences since his tenure began
Stern and the orchestra have partnered with Grammy® Award-winning Reference Recordings for a series of very well received CDs, including a new recording of works by American composer Adam Schoenberg, Gustav Holst’s The Planets, and albums of Elgar, Sibelius, and Saint-Saëns.
IRIS Orchestra in Germantown, Tennessee is known for the virtuosity of its playing, and the depth and variety of its programming, with special emphasis on American contemporary music. Under Stern’s direction, IRIS has commissioned and premiered works by William Bolcom, Chris Brubeck, Richard Danielpour, Stephen Hartke, Edgar Meyer, Jonathan Leshnoff, Ned Rorem, and Huang Ruo, amongst others, and has released recordings on the Naxos and Arabesque labels.
Recent guest engagements for Michael Stern include leading the New York Philharmonic in the film score to The Red Violin with Joshua Bell as soloist, and concerts at the Stern Violin Competition in Shanghai. He conducts the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra as part of Youth Music Culture Guangdong with Yo-Yo Ma, and subscription weeks with the Stamford and Tucson Symphonies, and the Boca Raton Symphonia.
Stern’s 2018 summer included leading the score to The Red Violin with Joshua Bell at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center with the Philadelphia Orchestra, at the Ravinia Festival, the Chautauqua Festival, and Napa Valley Festival del Sole; a return to the National Repertory Orchestra, and a concert at the Manchester Music Festival.
Michael Stern has conducted the Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Indianapolis, National, Montréal, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Seattle, and Boston Symphonies, the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, as well as the New York Philharmonic. He also appears regularly at the Aspen Music Festival and has served on the faculty of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.
He has led the major orchestras in London, Stockholm, Paris, Helsinki, Budapest, Israel, Moscow, Taiwan, and Tokyo, et al. Stern has been Chief Conductor of Germany’s Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra (the first American chief conductor in the orchestra’s history), Permanent Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Lyon in France, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Lille, France.