Kevin Rhodes
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Celebrating twin 20th Anniversary seasons as Music Director of Massachusetts’ Springfield Symphony Orchestra and Michigan’s Traverse Symphony Orchestra, KEVIN RHODES enjoys an exceptionally varied international career, leading concert, opera and ballet performances with over 50 orchestras in 16 countries. For an 11th season, he also continues as Principal Conductor of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston.

Kevin Rhodes has been a presence in the major musical capitals of Europe for over two decades, leading major productions at the Paris Opera, Vienna State Opera, Berlin State Opera, Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, Dutch National Ballet, The Norwegian National Ballet, Verona Ballet and Germany’s Stuttgart Ballet and Ballet of Die Theater Chemnitz. In 2019, his career expanded geographically with an important debut with Seoul’s Korean National Ballet, leading a production of Renato Zanella’s Mata Hari. His work with many of these illustrious artistic organizations has been seen and heard throughout Europe via television appearances, around the globe with the introduction of cinema showings and on DVD recordings. In the United States, he has conducted the symphony orchestras of Canton, Delaware, Hartford, Houston, Jacksonville, Queens, Santa Fe, Stamford, Tacoma and West Virginia, as well as the New York City Ballet.

Starting his European career as a house conductor at Switzerland’s Basel Stadttheater, Kevin Rhodes subsequently moved to Germany’s Deutsche Oper am Rhein as a First Kappelmeister in which capacity he led hundreds of performances of the operatic repertoire, from Die Zauberflöte to Der Rosenkavalier, while simultaneously serving as the principal ballet conductor of the Vienna State Opera. During his 10 years in Europe, he led repertoire ranging from the operas of, among many others, Strauss, Verdi, Puccini, Massenet, Mozart and Smetana to the major ballets of Prokofiev, Bartók, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky.

In 2001, Kevin Rhodes returned to his native United States to accept the music directorships of both the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and the Traverse Symphony Orchestra, devoting himself to the artistic and organizational enhancement of the two ensembles, while closely attending to their numerous educational and community outreach activities. Under his leadership, these orchestras and their audiences have experienced tremendous growth and enthusiasm about classical music. With the start of the 2010-2011 season, Mr. Rhodes also accepted the reins of Principal Conductor of the Pro Arts Chamber Orchestra of Boston, invigorating the ensemble with his trademark energy.

Kevin Rhodes began his professional conducting career at the age of 16 in his hometown of Evansville, Indiana. He received his Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Michigan State University, where he studied with Leon Gregorian, subsequently earning his Master of Music in Orchestra Conducting from the University of Illinois under the tutelage of Paul Vermel.

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)

12/17/2019 (7:30pm)
12/18/2019 (7:30pm)
12/21/2019 (7:30pm)
12/29/2019 (2:30pm)
12/31/2019 (2:30pm & 7:30pm)
1/3/2020 (7:30pm)
1/11/2020 (2:30pm & 7:30pm)
1/14/2020 (7:30pm)

LA SCALA BALLET (Milan, Italy)

Teatro alla Scala

Delibes: Sylvia

1/26/2020 (3pm)


Kevin Rhodes, conductor & pianist
Corson Auditorium, Interlochen Center for the Arts

Beethoven: chamber music

2/2/2020 (6pm)


Chemnitz Opera House

Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet

2/8/2020 (7:30pm)


Symphony Hall

Beethoven: Music for a Ballet on Horseback
Debussy: Danses sacrée et profane
soloist: Emmanuel Ceysson, harpist
Mozart: Flute & Harp Concerto
soloists: Denis Bouriakov, flutist
Emmanuel Ceysson, harpist
Bernstein: Halil
soloist: Denis Bouriakov, flutist
Ginastera: Harp Concerto
soloist: Emmanuel Ceysson, harpist

2/16/2020 (3pm)


Corson Auditorium, Interlochen Center for the Arts

Beethoven: Piano Concerto #1
Beethoven: Piano Concerto #5
soloist: Ralph Votapek

2/22/2020 (7:30pm)


Symphony Hall

Pops: “Love on Broadway with Maestro Rhodes”

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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