Reviewing Christopher Zimmerman’s concert with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra in May 2009, Mark Estren of The Washington Post writes, “(In Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony) Zimmerman pushed the strings, especially in the quicksilver second movement, and they delivered beautifully. And he paid close attention not only to sarcasm and grotesquerie but also to soft passages -- this orchestra can handle quietude, but few conductors ask it to.” Zimmerman’s direction of the orchestra led to his immediate appointment as its new Music Director. Building on a career leading regional orchestras in the US and England, this most recent post confirms what critics and audiences alike have experienced attending Zimmerman’s concerts. From his professional debut, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, of which The Daily Telegraph of London observed “Contact with the orchestra seemed immediate, the result a reading in which the playing responded keenly to gestures which themselves were expressive both of the symphony’s fiery vigour and of its finer nuances. Christopher Zimmerman revealed a sharp interpretative profile and control of orchestral timbre.... a most auspicious London debut.” to guest conducting in Cleveland with the Ohio Chamber Orchestra, where Donald Rosenberg of the Cleveland Plain Dealer described his performance as “some of the finest conducting at Severance (Hall) in recent years,” Zimmerman elicits enthusiasm and praise.
Christopher Zimmerman graduated from Yale with a B.A. in Music, and received his Master’s from the University of Michigan. He also studied with Seiji Ozawa and Gunther Schuller at Tanglewood, and at the Pierre Monteux School in Maine with Charles Bruck. Zimmerman served as an apprentice to Andrew Davis and the Toronto Symphony and in Prague, as assistant conductor to Vaclav Neumann and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
Zimmerman’s debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was followed by engagements with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. He has also conducted the Prague Symphony, the Slovak Philharmonic, the Seoul Philharmonic, the Mexico City Philharmonic, the Edmonton Symphony, the Hartford Symphony, the El Paso Symphony, the Ohio Chamber Orchestra and the Prague Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra among many other orchestras. In opera he has worked as the assistant conductor for “Carmen” at the Nimes Festival and as assistant conductor for “Salome” at the Mexico City Opera where he was immediately reinvited to conduct a production of “Gianni Schicchi”. In 1989 he co-founded and became Music Director of the City of London Chamber Orchestra.
In 1993 Christopher Zimmerman became Music Director of the Cincinnati Concert Orchestra. His U.S. operatic debut conducting Carlisle Floyd’s “Susannah” won the National Opera Association’s First prize as did Bright Sheng’s “Song of Majnun”, which he also led. Zimmerman’s operatic repertoire is as diverse as it has proven successful, from Handel’s “Julius Caesar” through Verdi, Puccini, Strauss and Sheng.
A champion of contemporary music, Zimmerman has conducted more than 25 premieres (many, world premieres) of such eminent composers as Bolcom, Bresnick, Colgrass, Rouse, Sheng, Weir and Zivkovic.
Prior to his appointment to the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, Christopher Zimmerman was Music Director of the Symphony of Southeast Texas and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and the City of London Chamber Orchestra. In 1999 he was appointed Music Director of the Hartt Symphony and Primrose Fuller Professor of Orchestral Studies at the Hartt School.
In 2009 Maestro Zimmerman will make his debut at the Eleazar de Carvalho Festival in Brazil and in 2010 he will return for a third season with the Wintergreen Performing Arts Festival in Virginia. This past season has also brought guest engagements with the Thunder Bay and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestras. ln 2007, Maestro Zimmerman was invited to conduct two orchestras in the People's Republic of China. 2009 also sees Zimmerman returning for the fifth year to co-lead the Rose City Conductors' Workshop in Portland, Oregon.