Chef Principal - Orchestre Dijon Bourgogne
Principal Conductor - Asian Youth Orchestra
Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Designate - Münchner Symphoniker (from 23/24)
Swiftly emerging as one of the most exciting talents of the younger generation, French-Swiss conductor Joseph Bastian is widely celebrated for his “total precision, and calm and masterful manner”, and renowned for the remarkable and tangible sense of partnership he creates with orchestral musicians. He is the Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Designate of the Munich Symphony Orchestra (Münchner Symphoniker), beginning the role in the 2023/2024 season.
The 2022/2023 season marks the beginning of Bastian’s tenure as Music Director of the Orchestre Dijon Bourgogne, France. In Dijon, Bastian builds the orchestra of the Opéra de Dijon in its first forays as a symphonic orchestra in its own right, exploring a diverse range of repertoire, including two world premieres alongside major symphonic statements. A particular highlight of the season is the world premiere of Pierre Thilloy’s SAMÂ – la lumiére exilée: an intercultural work that brings together contemporary music, Sufism, and literature.
2022 also marks Bastian’s first year as Principal Conductor of the Asian Youth Orchestra (‘AYO’) – inspiring this premiere ensemble on major tours through Europe and Asia (2023) and South-East Asia (2024). In Asia, the AYO regularly tours through China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, the Philippines, and Taiwan. The orchestra also has an increasing presence in Europe, with regular performances at such major Italian festivals as Bergamo and Ravello, concerts in Munich, and appearances at the Young Euro Classics series at the Konzerthaus Berlin.
Bastian’s guest conducting highlights of the 2022/2023 season include the Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitôle de Toulouse, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Sichuan Symphony Orchestra of China, SWR Symphonieorchester, and the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln. He enjoys a particularly strong profile in the German-speaking territories, conducting the Bamberger Symphoniker, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Dresdner Philharmoniker, DRP Saarbrücken-Kaiserslautern, DSO Berlin, Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, Nürnberger Symphoniker, and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, amongst others. Further afield, recent and forthcoming highlights include the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Orchestre National d’Île de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège, Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra Tokyo.
Bastian holds a particular gift for opera, and in 2022 made his debut at the Zürich Opera, conducting Haydn's Il mondo della luna at the Theater Winterthur, Switzerland, to widespread critical acclaim. In 2021, he led a highly successful run of Die Bernauerin at the Carl-Orff Festival, Germany, and has also enjoyed work with the Kammeroper München. Bastian is always keen to further his knowledge and skills in the art of conducting, and to that end he recently worked closely with Vladimir Jurowski at the Bayerisches Staatsoper on their production of Penderecki’s Die Teufel von Loudun.
Bastian burst into the international spotlight in February 2016, when he stepped in at the last moment to conduct the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (‘BRSO’) in three subscription concerts, replacing an indisposed Robin Ticciati. Embracing a demanding programme of Brahms, Berg, and Elgar, Bastian “took over in a very sovereign way as a conductor, transforming this unexpected debut into an artistic triumph” (Abendzeitung München). The event was widely heralded as a “sensational debut”, and subsequent engagements with the orchestra have included contemporary programmes of Boulez, Rautavaara, and Reich. Shortly thereafter, he was awarded the Neeme Järvi Prize at the Gstaad Menuhin Festival (2016), touring the Gstaad Festival Orchestra internationally in the 2016/2017 season. In 2019, he was further awarded the Eugene Jochum Prize for Young Conductors by the BRSO.
Born in France to a French-Swiss family, Bastian began his musical journey by studying the cello, trombone, and composition. After studies in trombone at the University of Music Saar, he performed as a member of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra under Claudio Abbado and Pierre Boulez, and the Orchestra Academy of the Munich Philharmonic. Thereafter, he held for a time the position of Principal Bass Trombonist with the BRSO, before putting the instrument aside in order to focus fully on his rapidly progressing conducting career.
Bastian worked as an Assistant Conductor to the late Mariss Jansons, who helped and supported him significantly in his early conducting studies, as well as to Daniel Harding, and Vladimir Jurowski (London Philharmonic Orchestra). He also received masterclasses and ongoing support from Bernard Haitink, Jorma Panula, and David Zinman, amongst others. Bastian further honed his skills as Chief Conductor of the Abaco-Orchestra of the University of Munich (2011-2018), touring the orchestra to such major European venues as Musikverein Wien.
Alongside the major symphonic repertoire, Bastian is dedicated to championing contemporary works (including the recent world premieres of Fredrik Högberg’s Violin Concerto, and Aziza Sadikova’s Percussion Concerto). He also has a keen interest in historically informed performance practice. During his earlier career as an orchestral musician, Bastian’s expert knowledge of instruments such as the sackbut, serpent, and ophicleide saw him perform not only with the BRSO, but also with other such world-class ensembles as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.