The conductor James Conlon has been announced as the new Principal Conductor of Turin's Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai. He takes up the appointment at the start of the 2016-7 season. He has appeared with the orchestra regularly as a guest since 2009. 'I am thrilled and honored to accept this invitation from the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai to serve as its Principal Conductor,' he said. 'Over the past five years, I have conducted the orchestra, as a guest, with great pleasure. I am enthusiastic at the prospect of collaborating with them on a regular basis.'
Conlon, the first American to head the ensemble in its 84-year history, has held posts as General Music Director of the City of Cologne (1989-2002), Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (1983-91) and Principal Conductor of the Opéra de Paris (1994-2004). Conlon has been Music Director of Los Angeles Opera since 2006, the Ravinia Festival (summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra) since 2005 and the Cincinnati May Festival since 1979.
The Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai was founded in 1931 and has worked with many of the world's major conductors and composers. After its restructuring in 1994, when Georges Prêtre and Giuseppe Sinopoli worked with the ensemble, Principal Conductors have included Juraj Valčuha (2009-16) and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos (2001-7).