The Springfield Symphony Orchestra is under the direction of Maestro Kevin Rhodes, Music Director and Conductor.
American conductor Kevin Rhodes has had a career marked by versatility and variety, and has been directing the SSO as Music Director and Conductor since the 2001 concert season.
American conductor Kevin Rhodes has had an exceptionally varied career spanning concerts, opera and ballet across the globe, and having conducted in 15 different countries with approximately 50 different orchestras. He has been a presence in the major musical capitols of Europe for over 20 years. With credits including The Paris Opera, The Vienna State Opera, The Berlin State Opera, La Scala of Milan, The Dutch National Ballet, The Verona Ballet, The Stuttgart Ballet, The New York City Ballet and many others, Rhodes is one of the most sought-after conductors by the world’s major ballet companies and their orchestras. His work at many of those illustrious opera houses has been seen and heard throughout Europe in many televised appearances and all over the world with the introduction of cinema performances, in addition to a number of productions having been filmed for DVD.
Rhodes began his European career as a house conductor at the Basel Stadtheater in Switzerland. After Basel, he moved on to the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf/Duisburg Germany as a First Kappelmeister leading hundreds of performances of the standard operatic repertoire from Magic Flute to Der Rosenkavelier, while at the same time serving as the principal ballet conductor of the Vienna State Opera after a very successful debut season there with “Nutcracker” and “Romeo and Juliet”. Further engagements followed at many other opera houses and orchestras throughout the continent...Berlin, Wiesbaden, Heidelberg, Naples, Verona, Milan, Paris, Stuttgart etc. In total he worked for 10 years exclusively in Europe where he led repertoire ranging from the operas of Richard Strauss, Verdi, Puccini, Massanet, Mozart, Smetena and many others, to the major ballets of Prokofiev, Bartok, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky.
Since returning to the US in 2001 to take over the leadership of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in Massachusetts and Traverse Symphony Orchestra in Michigan, he has devoted himself to the building of those two ensembles as well as attending to the many outreach and education activities of those institutions. In the Springfield area, Rhodes has collaborated with Bay Path College, Westfield State University, Springfield Technical Community College, The Community Music School of Springfield, The Academy of Music in Northampton, Amherst College and many other educational institutions, in addition to the school systems of many area cities including Springfield, Longmeadow, West Springfield and Westfield, to help bring people both young and old closer to classical music. Under his leadership, those ensembles and audiences have experienced tremendous growth and enthusiasm about classical music. With the start of the 2010-2011 season, he took the reigns as Conductor of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston and has been invigorating that ensemble with his trademark energy.
The 2014-2015 season saw Maestro Rhodes returning to the Paris Opera for productions of “Nutcracker” throughout November and December as well as “Swan Lake” in March and April. This summer, he returns to the Vienna State Opera for “La Sylphide” and the annual Nureyev Gala, a four-hour event celebrating the life and career of the famed Russian dancer and choreographer on the occasion of his birthday. Kevin will also make his debut this summer with the Santa Fe Symphony in New Mexico. Having had his first positions after college in Albuquerque as the Music Director of the Civic Light Opera and professor of piano at the University of New Mexico, Maestro Rhodes is particularly looking forward to revisiting that part of the world and making music there again!
Rhodes began his professional conducting career at the age of 16 in his hometown of Evansville, Indiana. He received his B.M. in Piano Performance from Michigan State University where he studied conducting with Maestro Leon Gregorian, and earned his M.M. in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Illinois under the tutelage of Paul Vermel.