Named music Director of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra in 2009, Christopher Zimmerman celebrates his tenth season with the FSO. Under his leadership, the FSO has received consistent praise from the media. The Washington Post chief arts critic, Anne Midgette, wrote: “the Bernstein was a note perfect end to a very refreshing evening that spoke well for the programming vision of Zimmerman”. Washington Post reporter, Stephen Brookes, commented: “Zimmerman has been injecting adrenalin into this determined ensemble…(and has) made the Fairfax players a serious force to be reckoned with.”
In the summer of 2013, Zimmerman accepted two additional appointments: Music Director of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony and Principal Conductor of the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras. He has also been the Music Director of the Eleazar de Carvalho Festival in Brazil, and, closer to home, a regular guest conductor at the Summer Performing Arts Festival in Wintergreen, Virginia. He has also been engaged as a guest conductor all over the world, with the Royal Philharmonic, the London Symphony, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Prague Symphony, the Slovak Philharmonic, the Turku Philharmonic, the Seoul Philharmonic, the Mexico City Philharmonic, theCaracas Philharmonic, National Orchestra of Rio de Janeiro to name a few, and, more recently, he has been on two guest tours of orchestras in China.
A recipient of numerous awards, the FSO, under Zimmerman’s direction was honored as the 2013 winner of Washington Area Music Award (WAMMIE) for the best classical orchestra. In 2011, Zimmerman was selected as the first place winner in the professional orchestra category of “The American Prize in Conducting”, a new award for nationwide performances for conductors of all genres and categories. His U.S. operatic conducting debut, Carlisle Floyd’s “Susannah”, won first place in the National Opera Association competition.
In addition to Susannah, Zimmerman’s opera repertoire includes Julius Caesar, Don Giovanni, Carmen, La Traviata, Un Ballo in Maschera, La Gioconda, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi and Salome as well as Bright Sheng’s Song of Majnun.
A champion of contemporary music, Zimmerman has conducted more than 25 premieres for orchestra by recognized composers such as William Bolcom, Susan Botti, Martin Bresnick, Avner Dorman, Bright Sheng, Christopher Rouse, Chris Theofanidis, Ellen Taafe Zwilich and Judith Weir. On July 4, 2012, Mr. Zimmerman gave the world premiere of "Lingua Angelorum” by Czech composer Sylvie Bodorova, a 50 minute song-cycle with the internationally renowned baritone Thomas Hampson and the Prague Symphony Orchestra. Last season, here with the FSO, he gave the U.S. premiere of her first symphony.
Prior to his appointment with the FSO, Zimmerman served as Music Director of the Symphony of Southeast Texas, the Bangor Symphony and the City of London Chamber Orchestra. His career has also embraced teaching and working with student orchestras and conductors; in 1993 he joined the conducting faculty at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati where he was Music Director of their concert orchestra, and in 1999 he was appointed Primrose Fuller Professor of Orchestral Studies at the Hartt School as well as Music Director of the Hartt Symphony. A much sought after clinician and pedagogue, Mr. Zimmerman continues to teach at workshops and festivals around the world.
Christopher Zimmerman graduated from Yale with a B.A. in Music, and received his Master’s from the University of Michigan. He also studied with Seiji Ozawa and Gunther Schuller at Tanglewood, and at the Pierre Monteux School in Maine with Charles Bruck. Zimmerman served as an apprentice to Andrew Davis and the Toronto Symphony and in Prague, as assistant conductor to Vaclav Neumann and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.