Krzysztof Urbański
Conductor

“A movement of Urbański’s left index finger has more impact [on the orchestra] than many colleagues manage to convey with both arms.” (Michael Struck, Kieler Nachrichten)

Contacts

Linda Marks +44 (0)20 3725 9120
Ed Milner +44 (0)20 3725 9178
Elise Jennings +44 (0)20 3725 9135

Biography

Music Director: Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
Chief Conductor & Artistic Leader: Trondheim Symfoniorkester
Principal Guest Conductor: NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester

 

Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, this season Krzysztof Urbański concludes his tenure as Chief Conductor and Artistic Leader of Trondheim Symfoniorkester.

In the 2016/17 season Urbański returns to the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Philharmonia orchestras, Münchner Philharmoniker, as well as the Wiener Symphoniker for their annual Beethoven Symphony No.9 New Year concerts. Recent debuts include Berliner Philharmoniker, London Symphony and Oslo Philharmonic orchestras.

Music Director: Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
Chief Conductor & Artistic Leader: Trondheim Symfoniorkester
Principal Guest Conductor: NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester

 

Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, this season Krzysztof Urbański concludes his tenure as Chief Conductor and Artistic Leader of Trondheim Symfoniorkester.

In the 2016/17 season Urbański returns to the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Philharmonia orchestras, Münchner Philharmoniker, as well as the Wiener Symphoniker for their annual Beethoven Symphony No.9 New Year concerts. Recent debuts include Berliner Philharmoniker, London Symphony and Oslo Philharmonic orchestras.

In North America Urbański returns to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra. His recent US debuts include the New York Philharmonic, Chicago and San Francisco Symphony orchestras.

In June 2015 Urbański received the prestigious Leonard Bernstein Award when he returned to conduct the Schleswig-Holstein Akademie at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival. Notably, he is the first conductor to have ever received this award.

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Contacts

Linda Marks +44 (0)20 3725 9120
Ed Milner +44 (0)20 3725 9178
Elise Jennings +44 (0)20 3725 9135

Reviews

“Urbański has a compelling style that is both unique and bewitching. (His grace cast the focus on the moment rather than the direction. While the silence-haunted strings drop low in the bass, then ascend, he did not fall into the trap of being shamelessly lush and over the top. His intent was the focus on the venerable confessions of the silence which ended one minute at a time.) It was one of the most tender performances I’ve ever heard from the TSO.” (Michael Vincent, Musical Toronto, October 2016)

“Guest conductor Krzysztof Urbanski coaxed some of the most subtle, beautiful sounds ever heard in Roy Thomson Hall out of a splendid, willing Toronto Symphony Orchestra Wednesday night in an extremely enjoyable evening at the symphony.” (Robert Harris, The Globe and Mail, October 2016)

“The NDR Symphony Orchestra has recorded significant works of the Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski with the Polish conductor Krzysztof Urbanski. The result is simply outstanding. Let’s be clear : this recording is a must! It’s addictive.” (Manuel Stangorra, Klassik, July 2016)

“Urbański has a compelling style that is both unique and bewitching. (His grace cast the focus on the moment rather than the direction. While the silence-haunted strings drop low in the bass, then ascend, he did not fall into the trap of being shamelessly lush and over the top. His intent was the focus on the venerable confessions of the silence which ended one minute at a time.) It was one of the most tender performances I’ve ever heard from the TSO.” (Michael Vincent, Musical Toronto, October 2016)

“Guest conductor Krzysztof Urbanski coaxed some of the most subtle, beautiful sounds ever heard in Roy Thomson Hall out of a splendid, willing Toronto Symphony Orchestra Wednesday night in an extremely enjoyable evening at the symphony.” (Robert Harris, The Globe and Mail, October 2016)

“The NDR Symphony Orchestra has recorded significant works of the Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski with the Polish conductor Krzysztof Urbanski. The result is simply outstanding. Let’s be clear : this recording is a must! It’s addictive.” (Manuel Stangorra, Klassik, July 2016)

“This young conductor has brought a new artistic perspective: different from what has been done in the past, Urbanski offers his own interpretation which is in a way very authentic… An extraordinary album.” (Santiage Martin Bermudez, Scherzo)

“The lightness of the textures, the transparency, the refined playing and an overall electrifying tension are the main characteristics of these impressive performances.” (Remy Franck, Pizzicato Magazine)

“Krzysztof Urbański’s fresh, clear conducting style perfectly matches the orchestra's [NDR Philharmonie Orchester] culture" (Spiegel, March 2016)

“The fact that the communication with the Tonhalle Orchestra works so well already at his debut speaks for the technique of the podium star with wild hairstyle and clear visions.” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung, February 2016)

“Because the dynamic Urbanski animated the Munich Philharmonic from a sparkling pianissimo into a powerful, yet carefully measured eruption of sound; a magnificent game played on the edge of their seats.” (KlassikInfo.de, February 2016)

“Urbanski’s podium style has little to do the kind of extravagantly broad look-at-me gymnastics that is so often associated with physical conducting. On the contrary, he operates within a narrow space. But within that space he makes use of every bodily resource available — not just hands and arms, but also shoulders, hips, knees and feet (his left instep in particular gave some notably eloquent cues).

The result is that Urbanski, like a 12-fingered pianist, seems to have more tools available for shaping an orchestral texture than many conductors do. And the remarkable performance of Dvorák’s “New World” Symphony — fervent, full-bodied and poignant — that occupied the second half of Thursday’s concert showed what he could accomplish with that interpretive arsenal.

Both the opening movement and the slow introduction that preceded it sounded impossibly plush, with a dexterous blend of strings and woodwinds that still found room for a crisp rhythmic profile in the first theme.  Russ deLuna’s English horn solo in the slow movement was at once serene and ardent, phrased with a sense of tenderness and grace, yet Urbanski ensured that the orchestra matched every gesture. And the finale, which brought a reminder of how dazzling the Symphony’s brass players can sound at their best, added a vein of steely grandeur to the proceedings.” (Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, January 2016)

“Once the music started, though, Urbanski's musical gifts simply dominated. Currently in his fifth season as music director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra -- he also serves as chief conductor of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra in Norway -- he presided over the evening's works with a persuasive blend of vigor and refinement. His expressive style -- arms spread wide, he often seems to be physically gathering up the orchestra's sections into a cohesive whole -- yielded a tremendously buoyant reading of Dvorak's "New World" Symphony. Urbanski shaped the first movement's mellow horn themes and ebullient dance tunes with unerring focus. He eased into the Largo, letting the music breathe; the famous English horn solo was played with wistful grace by the always-impressive Russ deLuna.  The conductor took a painterly approach to the Scherzo, judiciously applying dabs of orchestral color and texture; the movement's pastoral trio registered with particular flair. The finale bounded forward, surging with youthful energy and showcasing the Symphony's woodwinds at their vibrant best.” (Georgia Rowe, San Francisco Mercury News, January 2016)

“Not a young hothead, but a maestro whose mature, tight and structured way of thinking makes a pleasantly discreet impression, avoiding any dramatic gestures. Instead, he relishes the rhythmical subtleties of Carmina Burana just as much as the striking effects of this famous score.” (Donaukurier, July 2015)

“Urbanski drew subtleties from the score that otherwise often disappear behind superficial effects. Jazz elements, folk music and medieval elements were accentuated in a remarkable way. He set different focal points in the many musical repeats, showing a variety of colours with the orchestra, and so avoided any repetitiveness and dullness.” (Münchner Merkur, July 2015)

“This conductor is an asset! The screen reveals every nuance and shows the determined, but charming way in which he operates.” (Süddeutsche Zeitung, July 2015) 

“In the Beethoven, music director Krzysztof Urbanski drew from the orchestra an immediate display of tensile strength: The first movement featured sharply defined rhythms and dramatic interplay of rising and falling lines. As the coda approached, the dialogue of woodwinds and strings was piquant and precise. Particularly gratifying was  the sound of massed lower strings, with the basses nestled in a bulge behind the violas and cellos — a harbinger of their unanimity in the insistent recitative passages that propel the first part of the finale.” (Jay Harvey Upstage blog, June 2015)

“The occasion marked the 33-year-old Polish conductor's TSO debut, which more than lived up to the climax. Conducting the entire concert from memory he afforded a trust in the TSO that was returned in spades. His style is incredibly graceful.” (Michael Vincent, Musical Toronto, March 2015)

“In the hands of Polish conductor Krzysztof Urbanski and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, “Pictures” became a well-curated gallery...In his patient, sculpted interpretation, thoughtfully hewn solos and chamber-like sections were the individual sketches working toward a triumphant final image.” (Elizabeth Bloom, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, January 2015) 

“More conductors than you might expect surf on the excellence of the orchestras before which they stand. Far rarer are those who provide the leadership that helps orchestras be their best, to reach beyond their norm. Young Krzysztof Urbanski, showed his rare talents Friday night in his Heinz Hall debut....He has a gift for bold orchestral sonorities and is ready to adapt on the spot when the music takes a momentary lyrical or fanciful turn.” (Mark Kanny, Triblive, January 2015)

“Insisting that the strings use the full length of the bow, correcting wayward balances on the fly and allowing few passages to drift, he suggested mature structural understanding, and had the technical ability to bring it off, with a tease of woodwind detail here and an unexpected balance there.” (David Allen, New York Times, December 2014)

“On the evidence of this concert it appears that the Philharmonia Orchestra may have struck gold with Krzysztof Urbański…There was unusual delicacy in the flutes at the outset of ‘Vltava’ and it was noticeable how carefully the violas picked up the same motion and also matched tone colour to the preceding woodwinds. There was patience too in the way that Urbański allowed the string lines to flower and how he built towards the high point; seldom does one hear as much care devoted to cellos and double basses here, a feature equally marked in the ‘New World’ Symphony. If there was an ‘old world’ mellowness to much of the Smetana, the fierce crispness with which the final two chords were despatched showed the mark of a real conductor.” (Douglas Cooksey, Classical Source, October 2014)

“Urbański again showed an excellent grasp of the detail in this piece. The slow introduction was striking and dramatic and the transition to the faster material well handled….This was very impressive conducting by Urbański – he is clearly a name to watch out for in future.” (Robert Beattie, Seen and Heard International, October 2014)

“That he is no mere flashy wunderkind of the baton was shown by the freshly invigorated playing he drew from the CSO …his keen musical instincts and vigorous way of translating his ideas into orchestral sound that has both shape and meaning.” (John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune, July 2014)

“Urbański does just about everything right. Every movement was well-paced, with crunching climaxes, plenty of detail, and enough of an electric charge to give you a nice buzz heading out of the hall.” (Richard S. Ginell, The Los Angeles Times, January 2014)

Discography