From his debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, of which the Daily Telegraph of London observed “Contact with the orchestra seemed immediate, the result a reading in which the playing responded keenly to gestures which themselves were expressive both of the symphony’s fiery vigour and of its finer nuances. Christopher Zimmerman revealed a sharp interpretative profile and control of orchestral timbre…a most auspicious London debut.”, to guest conducting in Cleveland with the Ohio Chamber Orchestra, where Donald Rosenberg of the Plain Dealer described his performance as “some of the finest conducting at Severance Hall in recent years”, Zimmerman continually elicits enthusiastic orchestral playing and exciting audience responses. Reviewing his debut concert with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra in May 2009, Mark Estren of the Washington Post writes, “(in Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony) Zimmerman pushed the strings, especially in the quicksilver 2nd movement, and they delivered beautifully. And he paid close attention not only to sarcasm and grotesquerie but also to soft passages-this orchestra can handle quietude, but few conductors ask it to.” Mr. Zimmerman was appointed as the 3rd Music Director of the Fairfax Symphony, beginning in the 2009-10 season.
Born in the U.K., Christopher Zimmerman graduated from Yale with a B.A. in Music and received his Master’s from the University of Michigan as a student of Gustav Meier. 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 Sir Andrew Davis and the Toronto Symphony, and in Prague as assistant conductor to Vaclav Neumann and the Czech Philharmonic.
Mr. Zimmerman’s debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was followed by engagements with the London Symphony and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. He has since guest-conducted orchestras in most areas of the world including Western and Eastern Europe, China, South Korea, Canada, USA, Mexico, Venuezuela and Brazil. In 1989, he was appointed Music Director of the City of London Chamber Orchestra and in 1993 he was appointed to the Faculty of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music as Music Director of the Cincinnati Concert Orchestra.
Committed to, and passionate about, the standard repertoire of the 18th and 19th centuries, Zimmerman is also a champion of contemporary music, having conducted to date more than 25 premieres (local and world) by such eminent composers as William Bolcom, Martin Bresnick, Michael Colgrass, Avner Dorman, Christopher Rouse, Bright Sheng, Judith Weir and Nebojse Zivkovic. He is also at home in opera, having conducted productions from most eras and in most genres: Handel, Mozart, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini, Strauss and the first Conservatory production of Sheng’s “Song of Majnun”, which won the National Opera Association’s First Prize.
Prior to his appointment as Music Director of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, Christopher Zimmerman held the Primrose Fuller Chair of Orchestral Studies at the Hartt School from 1999-2009. He has previously held Music Director positions in this country with the Symphony of Southeast Texas and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, and has maintained his commitment to teaching by co-leading the Rose City Conductors’ Workshop in Portland, Oregon, every summer since its inception in 2005.
Since taking up his position at the Fairfax Symphony, Maestro Zimmerman made his debut as Music Director of the Eleazar de Carvalho Festival in Brazil and returned in the summer of 2011. His international guest conducting activities remain active with a recent return to China as well a return to the Toronto Philharmonia in 2012. He debuts this season with the New Haven Symphony and Illinois Philharmonic. He returns regularly to the Wintergreen Performing Arts Festival in Virginia where he is a favored guest conductor of the Festival Orchestra and its audiences.
In July, 2011, Mr. Zimmerman was announced as the 1st prize-winner of the “American Conducting Prize” in the professional orchestra category.