Julian Wachner


Multi-Grammy-nominated conductor, composer, and keyboardist Julian Wachner's compositions have been variously described as "jazzy, energetic, and ingenious," (Boston Globe), having "splendor, dignity, outstanding tone combinations, sophisticated chromatic exploration…a rich backdrop, wavering between a glimmer and a tingle…," (La Scena Musicale) being "a compendium of surprises," (Washington Post) and as "bold and atmospheric," while having "an imaginative flair for allusive text setting," and noted for "the silken complexities of his harmonies" (New York Times). The American Record Guide recognized that, "Wachner is both an unapologetic modernist and an open-minded eclectic – his music has something to say." Most recently, Early Music America  noted that ""The Vision of the Archangels" soars and entwines, builds and diminishes, with absolutely gut-wrenching beauty."

Wachner also enjoys an active schedule as a guest conductor. Orchestral engagements have included performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra; Kansas City, Montreal, Pacific, Calgary, and Pittsburgh Symphonies; New York Philharmonic; Seraphic Fire; National Arts Centre Orchestra; Philharmonia Baroque; Hong Kong Philharmonic; Bang on a Can All-Stars; and Apollo's Fire. As an opera conductor, he has lead the San Francisco Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Hawaii Opera Theater, Juilliard Opera Theater, and New York City Opera, as well as conducted shows for Carnegie Hall Presents, National Sawdust, and the Lincoln Center Festival. Wachner served for nine seasons as the music director of the Grammy Award-winning Washington Chorus, with whom he won ASCAP's Alice Parker award for adventurous programming and Chorus America's Margaret Hilles award for Choral Excellence.

In March 2018, Wachner was appointed artistic director of Michigan's Grand Rapids Bach Festival, where he will lead the 13th biennial festival in April 2022. He is currently one of three finalists to be the next Artistic Director of the prestigious Oregon Bach Festival where he will lead Bach's B-minor Mass in 2022.

As Director of Music since 2010 at New York's historic Trinity Church Wall Street, Wachner has created a world-renowned performing arts center with an annual season of hundreds of events. Since his professional debut as Music Director of Boston University's Marsh Chapel in 1990, Wachner has been a pioneer in consistently commissioning, performing, and recording both women and BIPOC artists. This life-long dedication to diversity has yielded three Pulitzer-prize winning works (Julia Wolfe's "Anthracite Fields", Ellen Reid's "Prism", Du Yun's "Angel's Bone") and multiple other projects, festivals and recordings (Jessie Montgomery's "Strum", Luna Pearl Woolf's "Fire and Blood", Elena Ruehr's "Averno", Trevor Weston's "Choral Works", Paola Prestini's "Oceanic Verses" and "Hubble Cantata") – several of these releases have been nominated for Grammy awards in a variety of categories.

An award-winning organist and improvisateur, Wachner's solo recital at the Spoleto Festival USA featured an improvised finale that inspired one reviewer to conclude, "this stupefying wizardry was the hit of the recital, and it had to be heard to be believed," (Post and Courier, South Carolina). As a concert pianist, in a Kennedy Center Rachmaninoff performance, the Washington Post noted, "Wachner dazzled with some bravura keyboard work, both in the rhapsodic accompaniments to the songs and…in the highly virtuosic transcription of the Dances."

Julian Wachner

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