Kensho Watanabe has been assistant conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra since the 2016-17 season and was the inaugural conducting fellow of the Curtis Institute of Music from 2013 to 2015, under the mentorship of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. In April 2017 he made his critically acclaimed subscription debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra and pianist Daniil Trifonov, and recently he conducted the Orchestra for his debut at the Bravo! Vail Music Festival and concerts at the Mann Center and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. His 2018-19 season with the Orchestra includes three subscription concerts, the annual Free College Concert, three Family Concerts, and numerous School Concerts.
Mr. Watanabe’s recent highlights have included debuts with the Houston Symphony and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and his Japanese debut at the Matsumoto Festival. Highlights of the 2018-19 season include debuts with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, in addition to a return visit to the Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal.
Equally at home in both symphonic and operatic repertoire, Mr. Watanabe has led numerous operas with the Curtis Opera Theatre, most recently Puccini’s La rondine in 2017 and La bohème in 2015. Additionally, he served as assistant conductor to Mr. Nézet-Séguin on a new production of Strauss’s Elektra at Montreal Opera.
An accomplished violinist, Mr. Watanabe received his Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music and served as a substitute violinist in The Philadelphia Orchestra from 2012 to 2016. Cognizant of the importance of the training and development of young musicians, he has served on the staff of the Greenwood Music Camp since 2007, currently serving as the orchestra conductor.
Mr. Watanabe is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with distinguished conducting pedagogue Otto-Werner Mueller. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Yale College, where he studied molecular, cellular, and developmental biology.
Photo by Andrew Bogard