Artistic Leader and Principal Conductor of the USC Thornton Orchestras
- Division:Classical Performance and Composition
Carl St.Clair is internationally recognized for his distinguished career as a professional conductor and master teacher. He has had a continuing relationship with the USC Thornton School of Music for over 20 years. Since the 2005-06 season, he has been principal conductor of the USC Thornton orchestras and a faculty lecturer in conducting. In 2012, he took on an expanded role as artistic leader and principal conductor of the USC Thornton orchestras.
This season marks his 25th year as music director of the Pacific Symphony, an organization he has helped morph into the largest United States orchestra formed within the last 40 years. As a renowned member of the Southern California music community, St.Clair is known for distinguished musicianship, passion for music education, commitment to outstanding educational programs, and innovative programming.
From 2008 to 2010, St.Clair was general music director of the Komische Oper Berlin. During his tenure he led acclaimed productions of La Traviata, the world premiere of Christian Jost’s Hamlet, as well as the heralded new production of Lear by Aribert Reimann, one of Germany’s most distinguished composers. Leading to his appointment in Berlin, from 2005 – 2008, St.Clair was general music director and chief conductor of the German National Theater and Staatskapelle (GNTS) in Weimar, Germany, where he conducted and recorded Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle to great international critical acclaim. St.Clair was the first non-European to hold his position at the GNTS, one of the oldest European orchestras. He was the principal guest conductor of the Radio Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart from 1998-2004, where he successfully completed a three-year recording project of the eleven symphonies of Heitor Villa-Lobos, the only such cycle in existence. He has also appeared with orchestras in Bulgaria, Portugal, Switzerland, Israel, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Brazil, Mexico and and summer festivals worldwide.
St.Clair maintains a strong commitment to the development and performance of new works by American composers, leading many critically acclaimed recordings, including two piano concertos of Lukas Foss on the Harmonia Mundi label. Other orchestra commissions that were subsequently recorded include Richard Danielpour’s An American Requiem (Reference Recordings) and Elliot Goldenthal’s Fire Water Paper: A Vietnam Oratorio (Sony Classical with Yo-Yo Ma). He has also commissioned composers William Bolcom, Philip Glass, Zhou Long, Tobias Picker, Frank Ticheli and Chen Yi, Curt Cacioppo, Stephen Scott, Jim Self, Christopher Theofandis, Michael Daugherty and James Newton Howard.
In addition to the orchestras he has conducted abroad, St.Clair has been guest conductor with orchestras throughout the U.S., including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, (where he served as assistant conductor from 1986 to 1990), New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic as well as the San Francisco, Seattle, Detroit, Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver symphonies among many others.