Meet the Maestro

Conductor Kevin Rhodes has enjoyed a significant presence in the major music capitals of Europe for over 25 years with credits including La Scala of Milan, The Vienna State Opera, The Paris Opera, The Rome Opera, The Berlin State Opera, The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, The Dutch National Ballet, The Korean National Ballet, The Slovenian National Opera and Ballet, The Deutsche Oper am Rhein, among many others. Equally at home in opera, concert, and ballet Mr. Rhodes has distinguished himself with an exceptionally large and varied repertoire having conducted over 60 orchestras in more than 20 countries.

With the start of the 2022-2023 season, Mr. Rhodes celebrates his inaugural season as Chief Conductor of the Slovak National Opera and Ballet in Bratislava. In his first season, Rhodes will lead the company in eight productions plus various gala performances. His leadership will be marked for including not only the repertoire of the opera, encompassing Turandot, Carmen, Aida, and Rusalka in addition to a special Gala Concert honoring Slovakian vocal icon, Edita Gruberova. He also devotes himself to the musical excellence of the ballet, leading new both productions and important revivals as well as gala concerts and special projects with Ballet Director, Nina Polakova.

Currently, Kevin Rhodes regularly guest conducts at the Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma, the Slovenian National Opera and Ballet in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo.

In the United States, he has served since 2001 as Music Director of Michigan’s Traverse Symphony Orchestra, with whom he recently signed an agreement extending the relationship to 2032. Under his direction, that orchestra has grown to be one of the finest in Michigan. Rhodes has also served for 12 seasons since 2009 as Principal Conductor of the musician-led cooperative, The Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, and was Music Director of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in Massachusetts for 20 years from 2001-2021. With all of these orchestras, his performances are noted for their excitement, precision, color, and life. Rhodes’ sense of musical theatricality and orchestral “story-telling” is frequently mentioned by reviewers and patrons alike as a unique element of his concert work.

Kevin Rhodes began his career with positions on the conducting staff of the Balser Stadttheater in Basel, Switzerland, followed by serving as a First Kapellmeister at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, in Düsseldorf and Duisburg, Germany. In these two houses, Rhodes led approximately 40 productions of the standard operatic repertoire spanning Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Verdi’s Il Trovatore and Rigoletto, Puccini’s Tosca, Wagner’s Tannhäuser Richard Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten and Salome.

Maestro Rhodes garnered accolades early on in his career with his natural sense of classical ballet, and was appointed Principal Ballet Conductor at the Vienna State Opera by director Renato Zanella in the mid-90s, leading to a 25 year relationship with that storied house and its orchestra, the Vienna State Opera Orchestra/Vienna Philharmonic. It was first in Vienna that he became recognized as a specialist in the classical productions of Rudolf Nureyev. Brigitte LeFévre brought him to the Paris Opera Ballet for 12 seasons at the suggestion of General Intendant Gerard Mortier. He led that company in dozens of productions and international tours to Japan and Australia. It was at Mortier’s Ruhrtriennale Festival that Rhodes led dance icon, Pina Bausch’s staging of Rite of Spring and first came to Mortier’s attention. Rhodes made his Teatro alla Scala debut in 2001 with a production featuring Diana Vishneva and Roberto Bolle beginning a relationship that continues to this day with many productions and several DVD’s resulting from the partnership. In recent years both in Vienna and Milan, Rhodes has developed a particularly fruitful artistic relationship with ballet legend, Manuel Legris including many productions in both houses. Rhodes also led Legris’ much lauded production of Sylvia both at its Vienna and Milan premieres and including streaming productions of both as a co-production between the two houses.

Kevin Rhodes was born in Evansville, Indiana in the United States. He studied conducting at the University of Illinois with Paul Vermel at Michigan State University with Leon Gregorian. He holds degrees from both institutions as well as being the recipient of an honorary Doctorate from Bay Path University.

Guest Conducting

Vienna State Opera, Vienna, Austria 1995-2019
Norwegian National Ballet, Oslo, Norway 2017, 2018
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
Hartford Symphony Orchestra, 2010
Verona Opera, Verona, Italy, 2006-2007
Houston Symphony, Houston, Texas, 2007
Queens Symphony Orchestra, Queens, New York, 2006
Principal Conductor 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
Symphony Orchester Basel, Basel, Switzerland, 1999,2002
Wuertembuergisches Staatstheater, Stuttgart, Germany, 1998
Hessisches Staatstheater, Wiesbaden,Germany, 1996, 1997, 1998
Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville, Florida, 1997
Suedwestfaellisches Philharmonie, Germany, 1996, 1998, 2000

Positions Held
Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Springfield, Massachusetts Music Director, 2001-present
Traverse Symphony Orchestra, Traverse City, Michigan Principal Conductor and Artistic Director, 2001-present
Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Boston, Massachusetts, Principal Conductor, 2010-present
Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Duesseldorf/Duisburg, Germany, Kappelmeister, 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 Festival – Aspen, Colorado Conducting Seminar 1986, 1987

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