Recently appointed Music Director of New York City Ballet Orchestra Andrew Litton holds positions across the world including Norway’s Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest. He guest conducts the world’s leading orchestras and opera companies and has a discography of over 120 recordings with awards including America’s Grammy and France’s Diapason d’Or. Also an accomplished pianist, Litton often conducts from the keyboard and is recognized as an authority on Gershwin, having extensively recorded and performed his works as pianist and conductor including the Covent Garden premiere of Porgy and Bess.
Andrew Litton is Music Director of the New York City Ballet, where he recently extended his contract through 2022. He also is Principal Guest Conductor of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Conductor Laureate of Britain’s Bournemouth Symphony and Music Director Laureate of Norway’s Bergen Philharmonic. Under Litton’s leadership the Bergen Philharmonic gained international recognition through extensive recording and touring, making debuts at London’s BBC Proms, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and appearances at Vienna’s Musikverein, Berlin’s Philharmonie, and New York’s Carnegie Hall. For his work with the Bergen Philharmonic, Norway’s King Harald V knighted Litton with the Norwegian Royal Order of Merit.
Litton was Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony from 1988-1994, bringing it on its first American tour and producing 14 recordings, including the Grammy winning Belshazzar’s Feast. As Music Director of the Dallas Symphony from 1994-2006, he hired over one third of the players, led the orchestra on three major European tours, appeared four times at Carnegie Hall, created a children’s television series broadcast nationally and in widespread use in school curricula, produced 28 recordings, and helped raise the orchestra’s endowment from $19 million to $100 million. He regularly guest conducts leading orchestras and opera companies around the globe and adds to his discography of over 130 recordings, which have garnered America’s Grammy Award, France’s Diapason d’Or and other honours.
This season, besides conducting over 30 ballets at the New York City Ballet, Litton returns to the Singapore Symphony, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic, Ulster Orchestra, National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, the Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia, and the Utah Symphony among others. He will also make his debut with the Norwegian Opera and Ballet, conducting the premiere of a new double bill of Stravinsky’s Firebird and Rite of Spring.
An avid Opera conductor with a keen theatrical sense, Litton has led major opera companies throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden, Australian Opera and Deutsche Oper Berlin. In Norway, he was key to founding the Bergen National Opera, where he led numerous critically acclaimed performances. Litton often conducts semi-staged Opera programs with symphony orchestras. During his 14 year tenure as Artistic Director of the Minnesota Orchestra Sommerfest, he concluded the Festival with sold out performances of Salomé, Der Rosenkavalier, Madama Butterfly, La Bohème, Tosca, Rigoletto, La Traviata and others.
Litton’s work with New York City Ballet has earned praise from critics, dancers, and audiences, bringing new prominence to the Ballet’s Orchestra. Litton began his ballet work while still a Juilliard student, performing as on-stage pianist for Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, and Cynthia Gregory. An accomplished pianist, Litton often performs as piano soloist, conducting from the keyboard, most recently Beethoven’s Triple Concerto in Singapore.
An acknowledged expert on George Gershwin, Litton has performed and recorded Gershwin widely as both pianist and conductor and serves as Advisor to the University of Michigan Gershwin Archives. After leading the Covent Garden premiere of Porgy and Bess, he arranged his own concert suite of that work, which is now performed around the world. In 2014 he released his first solo piano album, A Tribute to Oscar Peterson, testimony to his passion for jazz, and particularly the music of that great pianist. Litton’s Dallas Symphony Rachmaninov Piano Concerto recordings with Stephen Hough, widely hailed as the best since the composer’s own, won the Classical Brits/BBC Critics Award. Litton also received a Grammy nomination for his recording of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd with the New York Philharmonic and Patti Lupone.
Born in New York City, Litton graduated from the Fieldston School and earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Juilliard School in piano and conducting. He served as assistant conductor at La Scala and at the National Symphony under Rostropovich. His many honours in addition to Norway’s Order of Merit include Yale’s Sanford Medal, the Elgar Society Medal, and an honorary Doctorate from the University of Bournemouth.