Carl St. Clair
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"...St. Clair conducted with such expressiveness and lucidity, shaping, sculpting, molding, pulling out from his players, by turns, power, grace, precisely delineated jarring rhythms, and an overall fluidity underlying these abrupt changes of mood...[Bernstein: Chichester Psalms]."

Pacific Symphony






The 2019/2020 season marks the 30th anniversary of Carl St. Clair’s music directorship of the Pacific Symphony. He has become widely recognized for his musically distinguished performances, innovative approaches to programming, and commitment to outstanding educational projects. The largest ensemble formed in the United States during the last fifty years, the Pacific Symphony’s rapid artistic development is due largely to Mr. St. Clair’s leadership. In April 2018, he led the Symphony in its Carnegie Hall debut, as the finale to the Hall’s yearlong celebration of pre-eminent composer Philip Glass’s 80th birthday. The following month, he brought the Symphony on tour to China, the orchestra’s first international tour since 2006, when it toured Europe.


Mr. St. Clair was named Music Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica in 2014, and the following year celebrated the orchestra’s 75th anniversary season by performing concerts throughout the country in all seven provinces. Currently in its 78th season, the orchestra is a well-established regional and national orchestra, serving the entire country.


Highlights of the 2019/2020 season include engagements with the Hawaii Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, as well as with the philharmonic orchestras of Thailand and Taiwan. An active guest conductor, Carl St. Clair has led the Boston Symphony (where he served as assistant conductor for several years), Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the symphonies of Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Montreal, Nashville, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, and Vancouver, to name a few. Worldwide, he has appeared with numerous orchestras in Europe, Israel, Australia, Asia, and South America.


Mr. St. Clair’s commitment to the development and performance of new works by American composers is evident in the wealth of commissions and recordings by the Pacific Symphony. Under his guidance, the orchestra has commissioned works including Philip Glass’s The Passion of Ramakrishna; William Bolcom’s song cycle, Canciones de Lorca; and Chen Yi’s cello concerto Ballad, Dance and Fantasy, composed for Yo-Yo Ma. Many have been subsequently recorded, including Richard Danielpour’s An American Requiem (Reference Recordings) and Elliot Goldenthal’s Fire Water Paper: A Vietnam Oratorio (Sony Classical), also with Mr. Ma. Other recordings include the highly acclaimed CD of later works by Toru Takemitsu (Sony Classical) and works by John Corigliano and Frank Ticheli (Koch Classics). Additional commissions include works by composers James Newton Howard, Zhou Long, Tobias Picker, Curt Cacioppo, Stephen Scott, and Christopher Theofanidis.


Carl St. Clair has also served as general music director and chief conductor of the Deutsches Nationaltheater & Staatskapelle Weimar in Germany, the first non-European to hold this position. This role gave him the distinction of simultaneously leading one of the newest orchestras in America and one of the oldest in Europe. He has also served as general music director of the Komische Oper in Berlin, and principal guest conductor of the SDR/Stuttgart, where he successfully completed a three-year recording project of the complete Villa-Lobos symphonies. In higher education, he has had a continuing relationship with the USC Thornton School of Music for over 20 years. Since the 2005/2006 season, he has been principal conductor of the USC Thornton orchestras and a faculty lecturer in conducting. In 2012, he took on the expanded role as artistic leader and principal conductor of the USC Thornton orchestras.

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