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Musical World

Alexander Mickelthwate

  • Conductor


Alexander Mickelthwate is active both in North America and in Europe as a guest conductor.  Recent highlights include debuts with the Houston Symphony, the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, the Johannesburg Philharmonic and the Toledo Symphony, a re-engagement with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and a  highly successful last-minute replacement with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, which featured Dawn Upshaw singing Barber’s Summer of Knowville 1915.   In addition, he has also appeared with the Heidelberg Philharmonic, Edmonton Symphony, Eugene Symphony, NDR Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Nurnberg Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic and the Vancouver Symphony.

In August 2007, Mr. Mickelthwate culminated his three-year tenure as Associate Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with which he appeared regularly at Walt Disney Concert Hall and at the Hollywood Bowl. In his first year, he made his subscription debut on thirty-minutes notice when he stepped in for Mikko Franck leading Shostakovich's Symphony No. 12 and John Adams' Violin Concerto. His Los Angeles Philharmonic performances last season included a subscription program with soloist Emanuel Ax and a program on the Green Umbrella series including works by Sofia Gubaidulina and Alfred Schnittke.

In North America, Mr. Mickelthwate has appeared as guest conductor with the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston, Indianapolis, Nashville, New Jersey, Oregon, Toronto and San Antonio; the New York Philharmonic, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Eos Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), and at the Music Academy of the West and La Jolla’s SummerFest.

Abroad, Mr. Mickelthwate made his European debut with the Hamburg Symphony in April 2006.  Since then he has appeared with the Orchestre Phillharmonique de Monte Carlo, the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie.

During his tenure as Assistant Conductor with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, which he completed at the end of the 2003-04 season, he co-founded the new music ensemble Bent Frequency, which was hailed by Gramophone Magazine as "one of the brightest ensembles on the scene." Always striving to engage young people in music, he conducted more than 60 Young People's Concerts with the Atlanta Symphony and organized an exchange between the Atlanta Youth Symphony and Berlin Youth Orchestra during the summer of 2003, hosting concerts in both cities.

Having inherited a passion for opera from his grandmother, a professional opera singer, Mr. Mickelthwate has been a coach, pianist and conductor at New York's Amato Opera and an assistant conductor for the Baltimore Opera, the Florida Grand Opera, and the El Paso Opera.

Mr. Mickelthwate was born in Germany into a musical family. He developed his musical talent at an early age as a cellist in youth orchestras and chamber groups, as a singer in a professional choir, and as a pianist and organist. He studied conducting and piano performance at the Musikhochschule in Karlsruhe as well as at the Eötvöes Institute in Hungary.

After winning a Peabody merit scholarship, Mr. Mickelthwate came to America to study at Baltimore's Peabody Institute of Music with Frederik Prausnitz and Gustav Meier. Further studies took place with Seiji Ozawa, Robert Spano, and André Previn as a fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center and with Leonard Slatkin at the National Conducting Institute in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Mickelthwate is married with two young sons.