Music Director

German conductor, Alexander Mickelthwate is renowned for his “splendid, richly idiomatic readings” (LA Weekly), “fearless” approach and “first-rate technique” (Los Angeles Times). Critics have noted Alexander’s extraordinary command over the Austro-Germanic repertoire, commenting on the “passion, profundity, emotional intensity, subtlety and degree of perfection achieved” in Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 as “miraculous” (Anton Kuerti, 2011). 

Alexander made his European debut with the Hamburg Symphony in April 2006. Since then, he has appeared with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, NDR Symphony Orchestra, Nurnberg Symphony, Bucharest Philharmonic, Orchestre Phillharmonique de Monte Carlo and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. 

In North America, Alexander has appeared as guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, Brooklyn Philharmonic and symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Indianapolis, Nashville, New Jersey, Oregon, Toronto and San Antonio.  In 2011, Alexander made his debut in Australia with the Adelaide and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras.

Recent highlights include debuts with the Houston Symphony, the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and the Simon Bolivar Orchestra, a re-engagement with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and highly successful last-minute replacements with the Seattle Symphony, Atlanta Symphony and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the latter featuring Dawn Upshaw singing Barber’s Summer of Knoxville 1915.

Following on from his tenure as Assistant Conductor with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, which he completed in 2004, Alexander Mickelthwate was Associate Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for three years, under the direction of Essa-Pekka Salonen. Now in his seventh season as Music Director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Alexander has significantly developed the orchestra’s profile through active community engagement and innovative programming initiatives like the annual New Music Festival and the Indigenous Music Festival. Chosen to perform at the Carnegie Hall orchestra showcase in New York, 2014, due to “creative and innovative programming” (CBC Manitoba Scene), the orchestra is the only Canadian ensemble in the showcase. Alexander has expanded the orchestra’s repertoire, initiating the first performances of Messiaen’s Turangalila Symphony, Penderecki’sSeven Gates of Jerusalem, George Crumb’s Star Child and inspired a new choreography based on First Nations’ elements to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. As well as significantly contributing to the New Music Festival and Indigenous Festival, Alexander lead the orchestra’s first out of province tour since 1979 to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, launched the International Conducting master-classes, the New Music Festival 2012 film project and played a major part in the acoustic overhaul of the Centennial Concert Hall.

Alexander has worked with Dame Evelyn Glennie, Dawn Upshaw, Placido Domingo, Leila Josefovitz, Louis Lorti, James Ehnes, Janina Fialkowska, Alban Gerhard, Anton Kuerti, Horatio Gutierez, John Kimura Parker, Emmanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos; worked closely with composers Kaja Saariaho, John Corigliano, Valgeir Sigurdson, Daniel Bjarnesson, Murray Schafer, Steven Stucky, Gabriel Prokofiev, Unsuk Chin, Magnus Lindberg, Nico Muhly, John Adams; and conducted the world premieres of John Tavener, Johann Johannsson, Mason Bates and many Canadian composers, amongst them, Vincent Ho and Derek Charke.

Always looking for a fresh approach and creative ways of crossing musical genres, Alexander has collaborated with Iceland’s Bedroom Community, Wayne Shorter, Mark O’Connor, Belle and Sebastian, Jason Alexander, DJ PLove, Canadian bands Waking Eyes, Liptonians and Dukhs. Alexander has conducted for the Queen of England, for former President Jimmy Carter, and was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.