Swiftly emerging as one of the most exciting talents of the younger generation, French-Swiss conductor Joseph Bastian is widely celebrated for his “total precision, and calm and masterful manner”, and renowned for the remarkable and tangible sense of partnership he creates with orchestral musicians.
Recent and forthcoming highlights include performances with the Bayerische Staatsoper, DRP Saarbrücken-Kaiserslautern, DSO Berlin, hr-Sinfonieorchester,Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National d’Île de France, Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, and the SWR Symphonieorchester. In 2022, he makes his debut at the Zürich Opera Studio, conducting five performances of Haydn’s Il mondo della luna.
This builds upon the success of the last seasons, which have seen Bastian making an impressive number of major debuts across Europe and Asia in relatively short time. These have included, amongst others, the Bamberger Symphoniker, Dresdner Philharmoniker, Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, Nürnberger Symphoniker, Orchestra Dijon-Bourgogne, Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège, Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra Tokyo.
The former Principal Bass Trombonist of the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (‘BRSO’) (2004-2017), Bastian burst into the international spotlight in February 2016, when he stepped in at the last moment to conduct the orchestra in three subscription concerts – replacing an indisposed Robin Ticciati – with the blessing of his Chief Conductor and conducting supporter, Mariss Jansons. Embracing a demanding programme of Brahms, Berg, and Elgar, Bastian “took over in a very sovereign way as a conductor, transforming this unexpected debut into an artistic triumph” (Abendzeitung München). The event was widely heralded as a “sensational debut” – and Bastian was immediately re-invited.
Bastian’s recent projects with the BRSO have included conducting the finals of the ARD International Music Competition (2018), and a contemporary programme of Boulez and Reich. During the performance of the latter, Bastian was awarded the Eugen-Jochum-Preis for Conducting (2019).
Born in France to a French-Swiss family, Bastian began his musical journey by studying the cello, trombone, and composition. After studies in trombone at the University of Music Saar, he performed as a member of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra under Claudio Abbado and Pierre Boulez, and the Orchestra of the Academy of the Munich Philharmonic, before taking up his position as Principal Bass Trombonist with the BRSO.
During his tenure with the orchestra (a period which afforded him first-hand observation of the rehearsal techniques and performance styles of many of the world’s leading conductors), Bastian was helped and supported in his own conducting studies by Mariss Jansons, with whom he worked closely as an Assistant Conductor. He also worked as an Assistant to Daniel Harding (BR Choir, Symphony Orchestra, and Academy), and Vladimir Jurowski (London Philharmonic Orchestra), whilst receiving masterclasses and support from such artists as Bernard Haitink (Festival Strings Lucerne), Jorma Panula (Noord Nederlands Orkest), and David Zinman (Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich). Bastian further honed his skills as Chief Conductor of the Abaco-Orchestra of the University of Munich (2011-2018), touring the orchestra to such major European venues as Musikverein Wien. He was awarded the prestigious Neeme Järvi Prize at the Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy (2016), and went on to take the Gstaad Festival Orchestra on international tour during the 2016/2017 season. In spring 2018, Bastian took the decision to resign his position as Principal Bass Trombone, in order to dedicate himself fully to developing his rapidly expanding career on the conducting podium.
In addition to his work with the Zürich Opera Studio, Bastian’s operatic experience includes productions with BRSO, Bourgas State Opera, and Kammeroper München. Alongside the major symphonic repertoire, coupled with a dedication to the championing of contemporary works (including the recent world premieres of Fredrik Högberg’s Violin Concerto, and Aziza Sadikova’s Percussion Concerto), Bastian also has a keen interest in historically informed performance practice. During his earlier career as an orchestral musician, his expert knowledge of instruments such as the sackbut, serpent, and ophicleide saw him perform not only with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, but also with other such world-class ensembles as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.