Biography

Thomas Dausgaard is Music Director of the Seattle Symphony and Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He also holds titles as Honorary Conductor of the Orchestra della Toscana (ORT) and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, having previously served as its Chief Conductor from 2004–2011; and Conductor Laureate of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, having served as Chief Conductor from 1997-2019.

He is renowned for his creativity and innovation in programming, the excitement of his live performances, and his extensive catalogue of critically-acclaimed recordings. His programming in recent seasons has seen an increased focus on context, exploring the influences found in folk and liturgical music on orchestral works by a range of composers including Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Sibelius, Nielsen and Bartók. 

In the early part of his career he studied with Leonard Bernstein and assisted Seiji Ozawa, and now regularly appears with the world’s leading orchestras including the Munich Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Salzburg Mozarteum Orchester, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. He began his North American career as Assistant Conductor with the Boston Symphony, and has since appeared with The Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Washington National Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, and the Montreal Symphony. He is also a regular visitor to Asia and Australia, appearing with the Singapore and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphonies; the New Japan, China and Hong Kong Philharmonics; and the Sydney and Melbourne Symphonies. Festival appearances have included the BBC Proms, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Salzburg Festival, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, the George Enescu Festival, the Hollywood Bowl, and Tanglewood.

As a recording artist, his most recent release is Sibelius’ Kullervo with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for Hyperion. Other upcoming projects include Nielsen symphonies with the Seattle Symphony on their own label, the latest disc of which received a Grammy© award nomination in the category of Best Orchestral Performance; a multi-disc survey of Bartók’s orchestral music with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for Onyx; and Brahms symphonies with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos combined with six newly commissioned companion works also with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, and Bruckner symphonies with the Bergen Philharmonic, all for BIS. His critically acclaimed recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 10 (Deryck Cooke version III) with the Seattle Symphony received the Gramophone Magazine Disc of the Month among other awards, and was a finalist for the Gramophone Award for orchestral music. In total, he has made well over 70 CDs to date, including complete cycles of symphonies by Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Rued Langgaard, and a disc of Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen’s orchestral repertoire with the BBC Symphony Orchestra for Da Capo. “Opening Doors”, his ground-breaking series for BIS with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, has consistently won praise for performances of 19th-century repertoire more usually associated with symphony orchestras.

He has been awarded the Cross of Chivalry by the Queen of Denmark, and elected to the Royal Academy of Music in Sweden. His interests beyond music are wide-ranging, and include architecture, landscape, and a fascination with the life and culture of remote communities. He lives in Denmark with his family. 

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