Meet the Maestro

Music Director Philip Kuttner studied music theory and history at Harvard, piano with Leon Fleisher, whose student/teacher pedigree reached back to Beethoven, and conducting at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Pierre Monteux School.

He was the Music Director of North Bay Opera for 17 years, has guest conducted at Berkeley Opera and West Edge Opera, and was assistant conductor for six productions at San Francisco Opera.

Phil, what are your earliest memories of hearing music?

At the age of five I discovered my parents’ recording of The Marriage of Figaro and fell in love with it. Recordings of The Magic Flute, the Brahms Symphony No. 3, Aïda, Mozart’s G minor Symphony, Falstaff, and Der Rosenkavalier followed in short order.

When I was 11 I heard Schubert’s C major string quintet and was overwhelmed by the warmth of the sound. That opened up the world of chamber music to me.

What are some highlights of your musical experiences?

Studying piano with Leon Fleisher is at the top of the list. He taught me to look for patterns in the notes printed on the page.

Conducting a piano rehearsal at San Francisco Opera of Ariadne auf Naxos with Deborah Voigt was a thrill. There I was, ten feet away from the most beautiful voice in the world.

Accompanying my college roommate Yo-Yo Ma in a concert at Boston’s Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum was exciting and scary at the same time. It was like flying on an eagle’s back without reins or a saddle.

Who’s your favorite composer?

Mozart, hands down. For me, nothing is more divine and at the same time more deeply human than his music.

What excites you most about Twin Peaks Chamber Orchestra?

The passion and commitment of young players. They inspire me to do my best.