"Swensen was like a magician wielding his arms and cajoling the notes from his musicians"
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Photo by Lukasz Rajchert
About Joseph Swensen
Music Director designate (from 2024-25), Orchestre National de Bordeaux Aquitaine
Principal Guest Conductor, the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada
Principal Guest Conductor, NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra, Wrocław
Conductor Emeritus, Scottish Chamber orchestra
Characterised by the strength of the bonds forged through long-lasting and loyal relationships with numerous orchestras and their audiences, Joseph Swensen's activity as a conductor extends throughout Europe and beyond, without regard to geographical or cultural borders. Praised by critics in particular for his interpretations of the great romantic repertoire such as Mahler, Bruckner and Sibelius, he is also a musical explorer who ventures into much more experimental terrain when working with smaller ensembles, and whose programmes regularly include 21st century composers alongside works from the classical period.
The result of an exceptional musical encounter and a relationship that has developed over the last decade, Joseph Swensen will take up his new position as Music Director of the Orchestre National de Bordeaux Aquitaine at the start of the 2024-25 season.
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”
"Swensen provided two thought-provoking bookends to the two concertos, with the SCO on blistering form. His opening Sibelius Pelleas and Melisande was dark, sonorous and gutsy, brilliantly alive to each movement’s often surreal picture painting. His closing Beethoven Eighth Symphony – so brisk it seemed over in a flash – crackled with glee – and it’s not often you see a conductor having so much sheer fun on the podium."
David Kettle, The Scotsman