JORGE MESTER, Piano Judge
Jorge Mester is recognized throughout the world as a preeminent conductor who brings excellence and prominence to Mr. Mester was director of Juilliard’s conducting department, led concerts and operas at the USC Thornton School of Music and directed many high-profile conducting workshops around the country, including an advanced-level conducting workshop in Naples. Generations of conductors have looked to Mr. Mester for instruction, including James Conlon, Dennis Russell Davies, Andreas Delfs, JoAnn Falletta and John Nelson.
Mr, Mester has mentored such internationally acclaimed artists as Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Midori, Renee Fleming, Cho-Liang Lin, Aprille Milo and Robert McDuffie. During his 21-year affiliation with the Aspen Music Festival, Mr. Mester helped solidify the organization’s reputation for recognizing and nurturing emerging world-class musicians.
every organization he leads. This is his sixth season as music director of the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra.
Mr. Mester is conductor laureate of the Aspen Music Festival, and former artistic director of Mexico City’s leading orchestra, Orquesta Filarmonica de la Ciudad de Mexico. His passion for opera has also made him a sought-after conductor in opera houses around the world. He has conducted numerous productions for the New York City Opera, the Sydney Opera, the Spoleto Festival and the Washington Opera. He led a staged operatic production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in November, 2006 in Naples. Maestro Mester has also made numerous recordings, including 72 with the Louisville Orchestra. He is in his 24th year as music director of the Pasadena Symphony. He also serves as music director of the Louisville Orchestra.
Mr. Mester has worked with many gifted composers, presenting over 75 world premieres. In 1985, he received Columbia University’s prestigious Ditson Conductor’s Award for the advancement of American music. Other Ditson Awards recipients include Leonard Bernstein, Eugene Ormandy and Leopold Stokowski.
Mr. Mester, of Hungarian descent, was born and raised in Mexico City. An accomplished violist, he performed with the Beaux-Arts Quartet for several years before focusing exclusively on conducting.