Finnish-American conductor Erik Ochsner’s versatility as a conductor has stretched across a broad range of repertoire: from conducting as few as five performers in contemporary and modern works, to leading 300 performers in “live to projection” concerts of films like Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, Pixar in Concert, Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness, and Back to the Future. This format projects a complete film over a symphony orchestra. While the sound effects and dialogue are heard as usual, the complete soundtrack is performed live, synchronized to the film. After the success of Pixar in Concert at the Krakow (Poland) Film Music Festival, he returned to conduct (for an arena audience of 10,000) a fully-synchronized live performance of Disney’s Frozen. Ochsner is also Principal Guest Conductor of Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, Music Director of SONOS Chamber Orchestra, and Artistic Director of the Dranoff International 2 Piano Foundation.
Upcoming engagements include E.T. with the St. Louis Symphony, as well as a concert of music from Star Wars with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa.
Erik is equally comfortable on the concert stage, or leading opera, oratorio and multi-media performances and has appeared with orchestras and ensembles in Adelaide, Albuquerque, Beijing, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kaohsiung, Kitchener-Waterloo, Krakow, Leipzig, Melbourne, Mexico City, New York, Oregon, Ottawa, Reykjavik, Richmond, Rochester, Round Top Festival Institute (Texas), St. Louis, Shanghai, Stockholm, Tampere, Wellington, and Wolf Trap, Virginia.
Ochsner recently recorded a Naxos CD of the orchestral music of composer Brian Grundstrom. This included the first public reading of his new opera For Whom the Bell Tolls, with Ruth Bader Ginsburg in attendance!
The New York Times wrote“All the hallmarks of a great Rite were here” about a performance of The Rite of Spring in an arrangement for 4 pianos and 2 percussion. Performed 2x in the same night! After Lord of the Rings concerts in Ottawa, the Epoch Times said Ochsner “charmed and excited us during our magic carpet ride through Middle Earth.” A blogger in St. Louis said “Conductor Erik Ochsner’s energy and enthusiasm was obvious and contagious. I could tell from the very beginning that he was as excited to be there as was the crowd, and the orchestra responded with an incredible energy as well….” “Pirates performance is golden…Feats of coordination as exacting as a safely choreographed pirate swordfight,” said The Indianapolis Star and “Ochsner masterfully led the ISO,” declared the examiner.com after performances of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl with theIndianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO). To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Clowes Memorial Hall in Indianapolis, Ochsner was invited to conduct Pixar in Concert with the ISO and appeared in a PBS television documentary The Show Goes On.
As Principal Guest Conductor of Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, Ochsner has led performances with the Detroit and Richmond symphony orchestras. He toured as principal pianist for performances in Ottawa and Hong Kong.
As Music Director and founder of the SONOS Chamber Orchestra, he leads concerts in not often heard repertoire, frequently featuring Scandinavian composers. In 2015, he commissioned a new “Concerto for 2 Pianos and Chamber Orchestra on Themes of Jean Sibelius” by Swedish composer Fredrik Sixten. Ochsner has conducted SONOS in five world premieres, and eleven U.S. premieres, including Requiems by Fredrik Sixten and Karl Jenkins. SONOS performed music alongside Harold Lloyd’s 1920 silent film His Royal Slyness at the United Palace Theater, a 1929 movie house jewel in NYC’s Washington Heights.
As Artistic Director of the Dranoff 2 Piano Foundation in Miami, Florida, Ochsner has helped to bring in larger audiences with his creative programming and his hosting of concerts. In the fall of 2014, he led three separate tours of Dranoff laureates to Colombia.
Previously, Erik served as Assistant Conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra; toured worldwide as rehearsal conductor for composer/conductor Tan Dun – which led him to be Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony with Yo-Yo Ma; Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master for the Shanghai workshop Metropolitan Opera commissioned The First Emperor, in addition to the operaTea: A Mirror of Soul which is available on Deutsche Grammophon DVD.
Erik is of American and Finnish descent and a graduate of Park Tudor School and Dartmouth College. He attended the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors where he studied under Charles Bruck. He studied with the great Baroque specialist Helmut Rilling and has been a student and assistant of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director, Robert Spano.
He currently serves on the Board of the United Palace of Cultural Arts and resides in New York City where his hobbies include computers, traveling, wine, and collecting requiem recordings.
These materials were updated on April 1, 2016.
At the request of the artist, they may not be altered or edited.