Ilan Volkov

Born 8 September 1976.
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Ilan Volkov on John Cage

Conductor Ilan Volkov talks about composer John Cage.

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Israel-born Ilan Volkov was appointed Principal Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in 2003, becoming Principal Guest Conductor in 2009. He took up his current appointment as Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in 2011.

A frequent guest with leading orchestras worldwide, he works regularly with a wide range of ensembles, including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de Lyon, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg, and Ensemble Modern.

In 2012 he initiated, curated and directed Tectonics, a three-day festival of contemporary music, at Reykjavík’s Harpa concert hall, which celebrated the centenary of John Cage. The following year, the series which combined contemporary classical music with other new music genres, such as improvisation, electronics and rock, took place in both Reykjavík and Glasgow, featuring the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and BBC SSO respectively. Future projects with the BBC SSO include a concert to be recorded for BBC Radio 3’s late-night contemporary music series Hear and Now, featuring recent works from composers Fred Frith, Roscoe Mitchell and George Lewis, and in May another Tectonics festival in Glasgow.

His many recordings with the BBC SSO include two CDs of Stravinsky’s ballet scores, a Gramophone Award-winning disc of Britten’s complete works for piano and orchestra with Steven Osborne, and Liszt’s three Funeral Odes. His CD of works by Jonathan Harvey, Body Mandala, received a Gramophone Award in 2008.

Ilan Volkov is one of the guiding forces behind Levontin 7. This performance venue, among the most adventurous in Tel Aviv, brings together diverse genres, including classical, jazz, electronic and rock music. The enterprise reflects his determination to keep alive the creative spirit and sense of artistic adventure that shaped so many works composed during the opening decades of the last century.

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