21 February 2022 - Israeli conductor Ilan Volkov has been appointed the new Principal Guest Conductor of Brussels Philharmonic, starting in the 2022/23 season. He will develop and expand the path of new music with the orchestra, with a clear focus on performance as well as research. A dynamic figurehead of the international contemporary music scene, Volkov has launched the acclaimed Tectonics Festival and the I&I Foundation, and is a passionate ambassador of living composers and groundbreaking initiatives.
Volkov's appointment follows the prior announcement that conductor Kazushi Ono will become the new Music Director of the orchestra from September 2022 onwards. With these reinforcements, and having also engaged 10 new musicians for the new season, the Brussels Philharmonic is embarking on a new chapter that is founded on rejuvenation, advancement and innovation.
Volkov conducted the Brussels Philharmonic last week during the sold-out opening concert of Flagey Piano Days. He also worked together with the orchestra in March and November 2021.
Since his prodigious breakthrough as Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the age of 19, Ilan Volkov has matured into a versatile conductor whose interpretations of familiar repertoire are sought after internationally. He enjoys a long-standing relationship with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, as Principal Conductor from 2003 and Principal Guest Conductor since 2009.
A musical omnivore, Volkov also serves as a dynamic figurehead of the international contemporary music scene. He launched the Tectonics Festival in 2012, which has since become one of the world’s most diverse and acclaimed celebrations of new music, with festivals in Adelaide, Oslo, New York, Tel Aviv, Krakow, Athens, Glasgow and Reykjavík. In 2020 he co-founded the I&I Foundation with Ilya Gringolts to support the development and performance of new music.
Volkov’s repertoire with a variety of ensembles spreads far and wide, and he often appears at the world’s foremost festivals, such as Salzburg, Edinburgh, BBC Proms, Lucerne, Unsound Krakow, Musikprotkoll and Berlin. Between 2011 and 2014 he was Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.
Equally at home in opera, his extensive operatic ventures have included Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin for San Francisco Opera, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Glyndebourne Festival, Peter Grimes for Washington National Opera and Glyndebourne Festival, and Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest at the Lincoln Center with New York Philharmonic, Bach’s Actus Tragicus at Stuttgart Opera, and Olga Neuwirth’s The Outcast in Vienna and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. Most recently he conducted Samir Odeh-Tamimi’s new creation L’Apocalyspe Arabe for the Aix Festival 2021.
Volkov’s diverse discography includes Stravinsky’s ballet scores and a Gramophone Award-winning recording of Britten’s complete works for piano and orchestra, both for Hyperion, and a critically acclaimed survey of Liszt’s three Funeral Odes with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He has a podcast for Radio Halas, in which he explores his extensive musical tastes and interviews colleagues.