Maxim Eshkenazy, conductor
Considered a rising star among today’s youngest generation of conductors, Bulgarian native Maxim Eshkenazy has been described as a musician of “vigor and intelligence” who conducts with “complete assuredness and insight…” The Los Angeles Times calls him “charismatic and exciting.”
Eshkenazy marks the third season as music director and conductor of Fortissimo Fest, Bulgaria's largest classical music festival, which attracts such soloists as Sarah Chang and Midori, and has become an important cultural pillar of the country. It counts the Sofia Philharmonic and National Radio Orchestra and Festival Orchestra among its guest ensembles.
Recently promoted to associate conductor of the Pacific Symphony after a three-year stint as assistant conductor, Eshkenazy also holds posts as music director of the Bakersfield Youth Orchestra and assistant conductor at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. Previously he was associated with the Pasadena Youth Symphony as its music director, and served as music director of the Music of Changes Chamber Orchestra, assistant conductor of the American Youth Symphony, and assistant conductor of the Herbert Zipper Chamber Orchestra.
He regularly guest conducts Bulgaria’s major orchestras, including the Sofia Philharmonic, Classic FM Orchestra, Pleven Opera-Philharmonic Association and Bourgas Opera-Philharmonic Association. Committed to the promotion of new music, Eshkenazy frequently programs and performs the music of contemporary composers.
Among his upcoming highlights include his debut with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica in the summer of 2012.
During the 2011/2012 season, Eshkenazy returned to the Pacific Symphony's Summer Festival to conduct the season finale, titled "Tchaikovsky Spectacular," following last summer's "Cirque de la Symphonie," and his 2009 debut in collaboration with the Orange County affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which saw record-breaking attendance. He also made debuts at the Woodstock Mozart Festival in Illinois and in 2010 with the Huntsville Symphony, where he substituted for music director Carlos Miguel Prieto at short notice.
Other memorable concerts consist of performances with noted violinist Shlomo Mintz in celebration of the State of Israel Independence Day, and Pinchas Zukerman and the Classic FM Orchestra, which received nation-wide attention and was broadcast on Bulgarian National Television.
The conductor received his early musical training at the Sofia Conservatory before moving to the United States to pursue a double masters' of music degree in conducting and violin performance at the University of Southern California.
He is an alumnus of several conducting schools and workshops including the Pierre Monteux School in Maine, and he was awarded a coveted Conductor's Fellowship to the then-newly established American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival in the summer of 2000.
Besides conducting, Maxim Eshkenazy is fascinated with aerodynamics and aeronautics and has become an accomplished airplane and helicopter pilot. He has crossed the US from California to Florida on a R44 helicopter.