Kent Nagano is one of the world's outstanding conductors of both opera and the orchestral repertoire. Since September 2006 he has been music director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, where he and the orchestra opened the new concert hall in September 2011.
He also became Artistic Advisor and Principal Guest Conductor of Gothenburg Symphony in September 2013. In 2015, he will take up the position of General Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra.
Californian-born Nagano was music director of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra from 1978 to 2009 and continues to work there as conductor laureate. He achieved his first great success with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1984, when Messiaen appointed him to be Seiji Ozawa's assistant for the premiere of his opera Saint François d’Assise. Hereupon Nagano was music director of the Opera National de Lyon from 1988 to 1998. From 1991 to 2000 he was music director of the Halle Orchestra. Seine Uraufführung von Kaija Saariahos Oper "L’amour de Loin" bei den Salzburger Festspielen 2000 war ein weiterer großer Erfolg.
Nagano became principal conductor and artistic director of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin at the beginning of the 2000/01 season. In June 2006, at the end of his tenure with the orchestra, Kent Nagano was given the title Honorary Conductor by members of the orchestra, only the second recipient of this honour in their 60-year history.
Nagano was appointed the first principal music director of the Los Angeles Opera in 2003, after having been its principal conductor for two years. Von 2006 bis 2013 war Kent Nagano Generalmusikdirektor an der Bayerischen Staatsoper in München und hat dort deutliche Akzente gesetzt. As a much sought after guest conductor, Nagano has worked with most of the world’s finest orchestras including the Vienna, Berlin and New York Philharmonics, Chicago Symphony, Dresden Staatskapelle and Leipzig Gewandhaus.
Kent Nagano has recorded numerous albums, including Benjamin Britten's "Billy Budd" with Thomas Hampson, Messiaen's Saint François d’Assise at the Salzburg Festival and Messiaen’s Turangalîla-symphonie with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Kent Nagano and the DSO won the Grammy Award for the best opera recording in 2011 for L’amour de loin by the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. Kent Nagano has recorded several performances with the Bavarian Staatsorchester on DVD, among them Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, Unsuk Chin’s opera Alice in Wonderland, Musorgsky’s Khovanshchina and Wagner’s Lohengrin.