2021 Tanglewood Music Center Conducting Fellow, and four-time recipient of Career Assistance Grants from The Solti Foundation U.S., American conductor Kevin Fitzgerald’s open-hearted presence and commitment to a diverse and modernized musical world bring him to the forefront of the next generation of conductors. Kevin is one of twenty conductors internationally who competed in the 2023 Mahler Competition with the Bamberger Symphoniker, where he was awarded a special prize for Best Interpretation of a Contemporary Work. Though still in the early stages of his career, it is through his rare musical sensitivity and powerful but deft conducting that he is building notoriety for his outstanding promise at becoming one of the classical music industry’s prominent music directors, and his growing list of accolades are a testament to his talents as a musician and leader.
Kevin is the newly-appointed Associate Conductor of the Jacksonville Symphony, and embarks on his second season in the 2023/24 season. Season highlights include his subscription debut, as well as two fully staged ballets and a music-to-picture, in Jacksonville; leading a recording of composer Sean Shepherd’s Concerto for Ensemble (2015) with the Grossman Ensemble at the University of Chicago; performing with acclaimed guest soloists Joyce Yang and Roby Lakatos; and, the opportunity to serve as the cover conductor for three New York Philharmonic concerts, for the second year.
In recent seasons, Kevin conducted projects with the North Carolina Symphony and the Rochester Philharmonic. He was a cover conductor for the New York Philharmonic and the Minnesota Orchestra, an Assistant Conductor at Des Moines Metro Opera, and made his subscription debut with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, of which he was Assistant Conductor for four seasons.
In summer 2021, Kevin gave eight performances with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra as Conducting Fellow. Kevin also appeared at the TMC Festival of Contemporary Music concerts, and conducted the world premiere performance of Chinese composer Xinyang Wang's "Between the Resonating Abysses", and a performance of Saariaho's "Graal théâtre" with violin soloist Momo Wong. While at TMC, Kevin worked closely with Thomas Adès, and was his rehearsal conductor for Ligeti's Violin Concerto as well as conducting Per Nørgård's Dream Play in his stead.
As comfortable with modern compositions as he is with masterworks, Fitzgerald is champion of contemporary music, and founded ÆPEX Contemporary Performance in 2015. ÆPEX promotes and performs music by under-performed and under-represented twentieth and twenty-first century composers from around the world. With ÆPEX, Fitzgerald has conducted works by Pierre Boulez, Unsuk Chin, George Benjamin, Ashley Fure and Hans Abrahmasen. The group has performed multiple times at New Music Detroit’s “Strange and Beautiful Music Marathon Concert,” at the Max M. Fischer Music Center in Detroit.
In 2016, he co-organized in under 48 hours an impromptu performance of Mozart’s Requiem Mass in d minor, K.626, with over 400 volunteer musicians. Dedicated to the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida., the event, known as “Requiem for Orlando” attracted a full-capacity audience in Ann Arbor’s Hill Auditorium. Soloists included legendary tenor George Shirley who afterward lauded: “I assure you that the precision, musicality and interpretative incisiveness defining Mo. Fitzgerald’s leadership produced from all involved a result no less impressive than that I have experienced as a soloist in performances with Herbert von Karajan and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos.”
Fitzgerald is a native of Brighton, Michigan. He first studied with Ramon Parcells, Principal Trumpet of the Detroit Symphony, before turning to conducting. Fitzgerald holds a Bachelor's degree in Trumpet and Music Theory from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with James Thompson, Mark Scatterday and Brad Lubman, and a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan where he studied conducting with Kenneth Kiesler. He has participated in masterclasses with Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony, and Matthias Pintscher at the Lucerne Festival Academy, and was the sole American selected to participate in the 2018 Tanglewood Music Center Conducting Seminar. During his fellowship at Tanglewood, Kevin conducted in masterclasses with Andris Nelsons, Alan Gilbert, Stefan Asbury, and Herbert Blomstedt.
Kevin lives in Raleigh, NC with his husband, violist Kurt Tseng, and their two dogs Bennie and Chipper.