Maestro Kazem Abdullah has become one of the most watched young American conductors on the scene today, and, in August of 2012, will become Generalmusikdirector of the city of Aachen, Germany. His predecessors in this tradition-rich post include Fritz Busch, Herbert von Karajan, and Wolfgang Sawallisch.
This season, Maestro Abdullah appeared with the Michigan Opera Theater, Sinfonieorchester Aachen and the Rochester Philharmonic. He will also appear with the Nuremburg Philharmonic and River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, and return to Indianapolis for a reengagement with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
A highlight of Abdullah's 2010-2011 season was the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, given in June 2010. Performances included the Sinfonieorchester Aachen, Napa Valley Symphony, Elgin Symphony Orchestra, and the Atlanta Opera, where he conducted Cosi fan tutte.
In the previous season (2009-2010), Abdullah led sold-out performances of Scott Joplin's Treemonisha at the Théâtre du Châtelet de Paris and debuts with the Chicago Sinfonietta, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Huntsville Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic and the Staatskapelle Weimar. During its return to the United States for a third coast-to-coast tour, Abdullah conducted the internationally renowned Orquestra de São Paulo, one of Brazil's most celebrated classical music ensembles and was named #4 on the Daily Beast's list of "Young Rock Stars of the Conducting World."
Moreover, in 2009, Maestro Abdullah's debuted with the Metropolitan Opera, conducting Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice. The New York Times lauded this first performance at the Metropolitan Opera as "...a confident performance – impressively responsive to the singers during their long stretches of orchestra-accompanied recitative – a combination of urgency and flexibility." The debut was the culmination of three season's service to the Met as Assistant Conductor, a post to which he was appointed by Music Director James Levine. In addition to Levine, while at the Met he worked with conductors such as Louis Langree, Kirill Petrenko, Lorin Maazel, and Fabio Luisi. Before the Gluck Orfeo, he prepared productions of Lulu, Ariadne auf Naxos, Der Ring des Nibelungen, Idomeneo, Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte, and Iphigénie en Tauride.
Previously, Abdullah appeared with the Mexico City Philharmonic, Oregon Symphony and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He received a special invitation from Michael Tilson Thomas to conduct the New World Symphony's 2009 Ives Festival.
Kazem Abdullah's additional conducting credits include the National Arts Center Orchestra of Ottawa, Chautauqua Music School Festival Orchestra, Berliner Kammerphilharmonie, Finnish Radio Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra where he substituted on very short notice to conduct performances of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas in collaboration with the Mark Morris Dance Group.
Mr. Abdullah began his music studies at the age of ten and later graduated from the Cincinnati
Conservatory of Music in 2000, and subsequently studied at the University of Southern California. He originally trained as a clarinetist and has appeared as a soloist with the Cincinnati Symphony, National Symphony, and the New World Symphony. His conducting teachers include Jorma Panula, Gustav Meier, Stefan Asbury, Bernard Haitink, and James Levine.