David Stern‘s musical leadership is spread across three continents. Whether conducting a major symphony orchestra, baroque opera, teaching vocal master classes or defending cultural activities, Stern keeps his musicians, students and audiences riveted by sharing his strong musical convictions, his flexibility of approach and his belief that music is relevant and indeed essential in today’s world. He is the founder and director of the Paris-based opera studio and period-instrument ensemble Opera Fuoco, as well as artistic adviser and chief conductor of the Shanghai Baroque Festival and chief conductor of the Palm Beach Opera in Florida.
Stern is known for his extensive range of repertoire. As music director of the Israel and the St. Gallen Opera houses, he championed eclectic works such as Simone Mayr’s Medea, Berg’s Wozzeck, Britten’s Turn of the Screw and Weill’s Mahagonny. He has premiered four new operas since 2010: Gil Shochat’s A Child Dreams at the Israel Opera, Nicolas Bacri’s Cosi Fanciulli commissioned by Opera Fuoco and performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, Ben Moore’s Enemies, A Love Story in Palm Beach and Jan Sandström’s The Rococo Machine at the Drottningholm Festival, Sweden.
With Opera Fuoco, his Paris-based opera company, he has recently recorded ”Berenice che fai?”, a compilation of late Baroque and early Classical works with three members of Opera Fuoco’s studio singers and very well received by the press. Previous recordings with Opera Fuoco include The Romantic Cantatas with Karine Deshayes, Johann Christian Bach’s opera Zanaida, and two Handel oratorios, Semele and Jephtha. He also recorded Simone Mayr’s Medea with the St. Gallen Opera, John Field’s piano concertos with Concerto Köln and Andreas Staier, as well as works by Otto Nicolai and concertos of Albert Roussel.
Since launching the Aix-en-Provence Festival’s Académie Internationale d’Art Lyrique with Stephane Lissner in 1998, David Stern has been committed to developing young voices. He created Opera Fuoco in 2003 as a platform for young professional singers in France, combining both an young artists program, a period-instrument orchestra and a company which produces concertante and staged projects nationally and internationally. In 2016, he conducted Mozart’s Magic Flute at the Juilliard School in New York, and since 2014, as artistic director of the Shanghai Baroque Festival, Stern has included singers from the Shanghai Conservatory in performances and master classes at the Shanghai Symphony Hall. He works regularly with the singers of the Benenson Young Artists Program in Palm Beach.
Stern has enjoyed collaborations with international stage directors including David Alden, Stéphane Braunschweig, Robin Guarino, Sam Helfrich, Waut Koeken, Jakob Peters-Messer and Aron Stiehl, among many others. With Yoshi Oïda he created iconic settings of Britten’s CurlewRiver and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and with Francisco Negrin he led performances of Mozart’s Mitridate as artist in residence at the 2014 Drottningholm Opera Festival. The productions of Telemann’s Damon at the Magdeburg Theater in 2016 as well as Telemann’s Richardus in 2018 received great critical acclaim.
David Stern is frequent guest conductor around the globe. He is regularly invited to the Edmonton Opera, the Drottninghom Opera Festival, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Shanghai and Guangzhou Symphonies, the China Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Russian Symphony the Swedish Chamber orchestra and has led recent performances with the Boston Lyric Opera, the Royal Danish Opera orchestra, the Vienna Symphony and NDR Hannover.
Stern received his Bachelor of Arts from Yale College and his Masters of Music from the Juilliard School.
Damien Dutilleul – Olyrix Critique – 7 janvier 2016 // Paris Philharmonie
David Stern shows great finesse in his choice of tempi and nuances. In accompanying his soloists, he knows how to make them shine, revealing a complicity which can be felt in the hall.
Anthony Ogus – Richard Löwenherz – March 2018// Magdeburg Theater
…this was a splendid exposition of baroque opera. Praise in the first place for the conductor David Stern at the head of a combination of his own Opera Fuoco and members of the Magdeburg Philharmonic. As well as endowing the performance with an energetic momentum, he brought out all the details in Handel’s brilliant instrumentation, culminating in a remarkable introduction to an aria in the second half of the work. The music hesitates, stops and uncertainly starts again, providing a striking dramatic realisation of the singer’s despair and indecision.
© Tom Watson