Kaspar  Zehnder, conductors
© Ondrej Melecky


Marina Bower




© Ondrej Melecky

Kaspar Zehnder



Kaspar Zehnder is the artistic director of the Murten Classics summer festival, the music director at the Paul Klee Centre in Bern and the director of the Ensemble Paul Klee. He has also assumed the artistic direction of the Biel Symphony Orchestra from the 2012/013 season.

Kaspar Zehnder has regularly performed in important European concert halls and at significant festivals since his appointment to the leadership of the Prague Philharmonia, where he presided as the principle conductor and Jiří Bělohlávek’s successor from 2005 to 2008 and with which he continues to be closely associated as a guest conductor.

He works with soloists such as Radek Baborák, Jiří Bárta, Jana Boušková, Brigitte Engerer, Bruno Ganz, Natalia Gutman, Viviane Hagner, Rachel Harnisch, Konstantin Lifschitz, Sergei Katchatryan, Isabelle van Keulen, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Magdalena Kožená, Marianne Pousseur or Antoine Tamestit and he conducts a number of leading European orchestras.

While still at a grammar school with a focus on ancient languages, Kaspar Zehnder studied the flute (Heidi Indermühle), the piano (Agathe Rytz-Jaggi), conducting (Ewald Körner) and theory (Peter Streiff, Arthur Furer) at the Bern University of the Arts. He also received further impulses from the conductors Ralf Weikert, Charles Dutoit, Werner-Andreas Albert and Horst Stein and as a member of the European Mozart Academy where his mentor was the flautist Aurèle Nicolet. His initial experience as a conductor was with orchestras in Bern and Burgdorf and as the leader of the Bern University of the Arts Orchestra where he mainly focussed on a contemporary repertoire.

Since his remarkable debut at Milan’s La Scala in October 2007, he has been invited to conduct the Orchestre National de Montpellier, the Slovak Philharmonic, the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre National d’Ile de France, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Brno Philharmonia and many others.

In recent years, Kaspar Zehnder has conducted the following stage works: Carmen as the closing performance at the 2010 “Iberia” Murten Classics Festival, Les Contes d’Hoffmann in Paris (2011), Le nozze di Figaro at the Lithuanian National Opera (2011) and Das Tagebuch der Anne Frank at the Paul Klee Centre in Bern (2011).

He has guest performed with renowned European orchestras such as the Orchestre National d'Ile-de-France (with the pianist Giovanni Bellucci) and the Warsaw Radio Orchestra with which he has performed the works of the Swiss composers Arthur Furer, Arthur Honegger and Ceszlaw Marek, as well as the modern premiere of the Emil Mlynarskis violin concerto. In Switzerland, he was the youngest ever conductor to perform with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and the Aargau Symphony Orchestra. He undertook a tour of Spain with the Prague Chamber Orchestra.   

Kaspar Zehnder is also a regular guest performer at various festivals. He conducted the opening concert at the Concentus Moraviae Festival with the Brno Philharmonia and the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno, he conducted the Hymn of Praise by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy at the Musica sacra Festival in Târgu Mures (Rumania), he led a performance of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater at the Pazaislis Festival in Lithuania and he was a guest conductor at the Festival of Polish Music in Krakow and at the Spielberg Festival in Brno. 

Kaspar Zehnder will perform in France several times during the 2011/12 season, including with the Orchestre National de Montpellier, the Orchestre National de Lille and the Orchestre National d'Ile-de-France. Further concerts have also been planned with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Brno Philharmonia, the Slovak Philharmonia, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonia, the English Chamber Orchestra, Cappella Istropolitana or the Klaipeda Chamber Orchestra. He also often performs with chamber orchestras as both a soloist and a conductor.

A further important project is the Junge Philharmonie Valiant with which Kaspar Zehnder will have a total of 15 concerts in spring and autumn 2012, including at KKL Lucerne, Kongresshaus Biel and Kursaal Bern. The 63 young musicians from 22 nations auditioned to receive their places in this ensemble. The program includes Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, where the music has been supplemented with an original text by and with Ulrich Beseler.