Kevin Rhodes
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Conductor Kevin Rhodes has a enjoyed a significant presence in the major music capitals  of Europe for over 25 years, with credits including La Scala of Milan, The Vienna State Opera, The Paris Opera, The Rome Opera, The Berlin State Opera, The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, The Dutch National Ballet, The Korean National Ballet, The Slovenian National Opera and Ballet, The Deutsche Oper am Rhein, among many others. Equally at home in opera, concert, and ballet, Mr. Rhodes has distinguished himself with an exceptionally large and varied repertoire,  having conducted over 60 orchestras in more than 20 countries.

With the start of the 2022-2023 season, Mr. Rhodes celebrates his inaugural season as Chief Conductor of the Slovak National Opera and Ballet in Bratislava. In his first season Rhodes will lead the company in eight productions plus various gala performances. His
leadership will be marked for including not only the repertoire of the opera, encompassing Turandot, Carmen, Aida and Rusalka in addition to a special Gala Concert honoring Slovakian vocal icon, Edita Gruberova. He also devotes himself to the musical excellence of the ballet, leading both new productions and important revivals, as well as gala concerts and special projects with Ballet Director, Nina Polakova.

Currently, Kevin Rhodes regularly conducts at the Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma, the Slovenian National Opera and Ballet in Ljubljana, Slovenia and the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo.

In the United States he has served since 2001 as Music Director of Michigan’s Traverse Symphony Orchestra, with whom he recently signed an agreement extending the relationship to 2032. Under his direction, that orchestra has grown to be one of the finest in Michigan. Rhodes has also served for 12 seasons since 2009 as Principal Conductor of the musician-led cooperative, The Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston and was Music Director of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in Massachusetts for 20 years from 2001-2021. With all of these orchestras, his performances are noted for their excitement, precision, color and life. Rhodes’ sense of musical theatricality and orchestral “story-telling” is frequently mentioned by reviewers and patrons alike as a unique element to his concert work.

Kevin Rhodes began his career with positions on the conducting staff of the Balser Stadttheater in Basel, Switzerland, followed by serving as a First Kapellmeister at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, in Düsseldorf and Duisburg, Germany. In these two houses Rhodes led approximately 40 productions of the standard operatic repertoire spanning Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Verdi’s Il Trovatoreand Rigoletto, Puccini’s Tosca, Wagner’s Tannhäuser and Richard Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten and Salome.

Maestro Rhodes garnered accolades early on in his career with his natural sense of classical ballet, and was appointed Principal Ballet Conductor at the Vienna State Opera by director Renato Zanella in the mid-90s, leading to a 25-year relationship with that storied house and its orchestra, the Vienna State Opera Orchestra/Vienna Philharmonic. It was first in Vienna that he became recognized as a specialist for the classical productions of Rudolf Nureyev. Brigitte LeFévre brought him to the Paris Opera Ballet for 12 seasons at the suggestion of General Intendant Gerard Mortier. He led that company in dozens of productions and international tours to Japan and Australia. It was at Mortier’s Ruhrtriennale Festival that Rhodes led dance icon, Pina Bausch’s staging of Rite of Spring and first came to Mortier’s attention. Rhodes made his Teatro alla Scala debut in 2001 with a production featuring Diana Vishneva and Roberto Bolle, beginning a relationship that continues to this day with many productions and several DVDs resulting from the partnership. In recent years, both in Vienna and Milan, Rhodes has developed a particularly fruitful artistic relationship with ballet legend Manuel Legris, including many productions in both houses. Rhodes also led Legris’ much lauded production of Sylvia, both at its Vienna and Milan premieres and including streaming productions of both as a co-production between the two houses.

Kevin Rhodes was born in Evansville, Indiana in the United States. He studied conducting at the University of Illinois with Paul Vermel and at Michigan State University with Leon Gregorian. He holds degrees from both institutions as well as being the recipient of an honorary Doctorate from Bay Path University.

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Chorus and soloists raised the roof of Symphony Hall with an earth-shaking performance of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony. With slashing gestures, [Kevin] Rhodes initiated the spell that would hold his audience in thrall for the next 75 minutes, eliciting strident unison cries from the strings, and setting in motion the genetic material of the world that is Mahler 2. The performance was exquisite, from the tiniest details to the long view, over which a sense of something momentous was allowed to build and blossom. Rhodes manipulated tension and release, gauging tempos, accelerations, sudden shifts in character and color, abruipt interrupted gestures, all as if he was inside Mahler’s head, and setting the notes on paper for the first time. It was a tired but content conductor that finally turned from his colleagues to the audience to receive the standing ovation they had all so thoroughly earned. Preparing and executing such a performance is a crowning achievement for an orchestra the size of the SSO. The transcendent results are a testament to the excellence of the musicians, Rhodes’s superb artistic leadership, and the visionary leadership demonstrated by the sponsorship of Creelman and McEathron.

THE REPUBLICAN (Springfield, MA)

Recently, I had the great pleasure of working with Kevin Rhodes and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and all of the fine things I had heard about him were completely substantiated. He is an unusually intense musician with deep feelings about the work before him and a keen interest in hearing worthy suggestions. Our performance had genuine fire, which I attribute to his driving energy and strong convictions.

MISHA DICHTER, renowned pianist

At the Paris Opera, a tribute to Violette Verdy during a Balanchine evening [headline]
Throughout the evening, the Orchestra of the National opera of Paris displayed a magnificent cohesion under the baton of American conductor Kevin Rhodes.


New benchmark set [headline]
This was a flawless performance of this giant musical work [Verdi Requiem]. Rhodes was inspired, as he often is, but this one was a triumph – a stunning success. He obviously had an absolute understanding of this score and the musical sense that had to br drawn from it. Further, he conveyed to his players and singers –and so, to the audience – the intensity, power and beauty of this magnificent work.


Visceral Berlioz and luminous Rachmaninov highlight W.Va. Symphony concert [headline]
The West Virginia Symphony performed the final concert of its season-long search for a new conductor when the dynamic Kevin Rhodes led the orchestra in a wide-ranging exploration of music from the Romantic era. Rhodes found the right balance of visceral thrills and intellectual substance to make compelling Berlioz’s fevered autobiographical novel-in-music. The rhythmic accuracy and articulations were keen; the twirling answers from clarinets and brasses led to a thrilling conclusion that Rhodes drove to the tasteful edge of over-the-top.


Springfield’s Kevin Rhodes Impressive At the HSO Podium [headline]
Rhodes has a likeable presence. He demonstrated significant keyboard skill during his preconcert discussion and conducted with clarity and deep musicianship. After intermission we heard the Shostakovich Symphony No. 5. This monumental work became a showcase for every section and many individual members of the Hartford Symphony, but the section trumpets, solo horn and section horns put on a clinic. Rhodes was at his best moving the grand gestures of this work. The recapitulation of the first movement was thrilling and the low brass voiced the theme from the second theme group with a focused sound and gorgeous color. The fourth movement is a case-study in the acceleration and very gradual deceleration of tempos. Rhodes took command of this level of motion and presented a series of relationships that was highly effective in making the finale a powerful and emotionally draining experience.

THE COURANT (Hartford, CT)

All evening, the Springfield Symphony responded to Rhodes’ passion. The violins in the beginning of the Liszt [Les Préludes], teamed for an exquisite unison passage that raised this orchestra’s level of virtuosity. And as in the past, the cello section performed with tasteful, warm balance all night. The most demonstrative emotion of the night followed the Ravel [Daphnis et Chloé] when, during his second curtain call, Rhodes thanked the appreciative crowd, then turned to acknowledge his new orchestra, applauded them and blew its members a kiss.


Maestro Rhodes led a thunderous performance of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth, exploring diametric extremes of ecstacy and despair, and surging between them with true Russian extroversion. Rhodes was able to unleash his players and encourage them to play hugely, without ever compromising the balance of the overall orchestral sound. From the outer rim of the galaxy to the heart of repertoire chestnuts, the Springfield Symphony once again showed the incredible capabilities of its musicians and its conductor to make great music on a world-class scale.

 THE REPUBLICAN (Springfield, MA)

9/6/2022 (7pm)
9/8/2022 (7pm)


The New Building, Slovak National Theater (Bratislava)

Puccini: Turandot

9/10/2022 (7pm)


The New Building, Slovak National Theater (Bratislava)

“Hommage á Gruberova”

9/17/2022 (7pm)
9/18/2022 (5pm)
9/20/2022 (7pm)


The New Building, Slovak National Theater (Bratislava)

Adam: Giselle

9/29/2022 (7pm)
9/30/2022 (7pm)
10/1/2022 (7pm)
10/7/2022 (7pm)


The New Building, Slovak National Theater (Bratislava)

Bizet: Carmen

10/21/2022 (8pm)
10/22/2022 (6pm)
10/23/2022 (4:30pm)             
10/25/2022 (8pm)
10/26/2022 (11am&8pm)
10/27/2022 (8pm)


The New Building, Slovak National Theater (Bratislava)

Adam: Giselle

11/3/2022 (7:30pm)
11/4/2022 (7:30pm)
11/5/2022 (7:30pm)
11/9/2022 (6pm)
11/10/2022 (7:30pm)


Ljubljana Opera House

Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde
Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht

11/18/2022 (7pm)
11/19/2022 (7pm)
11/20/2022 (5pm)
11/22/2022 (7pm)
11/23/2022 (11am)


The New Building, Slovak National Theater (Bratislava)

Hérold: La Fille mal gardée

12/1/2022 (1&4:30pm)
12/6/2022 (6pm)
12/7/2022 (6pm)
12/9/2022 (6pm)
12/10/2022 (1&4:30pm)


Oslo Opera House

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker

12/17/2022 (7:30pm)
12/18/2022 (3pm)


Lars Hockstad Auditorium

“Home for the Holidays: Let It Swing!

1/12/2023 (7:30pm)
1/13/2023 (7:30pm)
1/14/2023 (7:30pm)
1/16/2023 (7:30pm)
1/17/2023 (7:30pm)
1/18/2023 (7:30pm)


Ljubljana Opera House

Adam: Gisell

5/13/2023 (7:30pm)
5/14/2023 (3pm)


City Opera House

“An Evening with Bob James”

Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet (various excerpts)

Teatro alla Scala (Milan, Italy)

Glazunov: Raymonda

Opéra National de Paris (Palais Garnier)

Minkus: Don Quichotte

Dutch National Ballet (Amsterdam Muzietheater)

Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty (Act III Pas de Deux)

Teatro alla Scala (Milan, Italy)

Strauss: Rosenkavalier Suite (Final Waltz)

Basler Festival Orchester (Switzerland)

“Behind the Music with Kevin Rhodes”

Debussy: Prélude à l'Après-midi d'un faune
Poulenc: Gloria
Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique
Springfield Symphony Orchestra (Massachusetts)
May 7, 2011

“Behind the Music with Kevin Rhodes”

Duparc: Aux étoiles
Barber: Piano Concerto
Rachmaninoff: Symphony #2 in e
Springfield Symphony Orchestra (Massachusetts)
October 2, 2010

Kevin Rhodes: co-hosting “Mass Appeal”

WWLP-22 News (Springfield, MA)
July 5, 2013

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