Born in Bulgaria and a graduate of the Hochschule für Musik, Berlin, Yordan Kamdzhalov was unanimously chosen as General Music Director by the City of Heidelberg in 2011. At the young age of 30 this appointment involved the Chief Conductorship of the Opera Theater, of the Heidelberg Philharmonic Orchestra and Heidelberg’s Schloss Festival; his time as GMD saw the highest number of sell-outs in the history of both the orchestra and the opera. With a growing international career in Europe and the Far East, Kamdzhalov reluctantly decided not to renew his General Music Director contract but has been invited by the City of Heidelberg to become Principal Guest Conductor. At the time of his original Heidelberg appointment the Sofia National Philharmonic Orchestra invited him to become their Principal Guest Conductor. In December 2013 he also made his debut with the New Japan Philharmonic and was at once re-invited.
Since his chief appointment he has also worked with a range of other international orchestras, notably the Zurich Tonhalle (also invitation to replace Gennadi Rozhdestvensky), the New Japan Philharmonic, the Beethovenorchester Bonn, the Sinfonieorchester Basel, the Hamburger Symphoniker and, as cover conductor to Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon - CD Presentation). Recently he was unanimously awarded Music Critics’ Award at the Central European Music Festival Allegretto and was at once re-invited for the following season.
Before his General Music Director appointment he conducted Carmen with great success at the Komische Oper Berlin and was immediately re-invited for Tales of Hoffmann, the Hamburger Symphoniker, the Orquestra Sinfonica Portuguesa, the English Chamber Orchestra at London’s Cadogan Hall, La Bohème at the Baltimore Opera Theatre, MusikFabrik Köln in 4 world premieres in Boston and an international concert tour with Helsinki Baroque and the Mezzo Soprano Veselina Kasarova. Also at this time there were concerts with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin at the Philharmonie Berlin (broadcast live 2011), with the Philharmonia Orchestra at London’s Festival Hall (2010), the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra and the Orchestra Toscana at the Teatro Verdi in Florence (broadcast live 2011).
Earlier in his career he was unanimously awarded 1st Prize at the Jorma Panula International Conducting Competition (2009) and the following year 3rd Prize at the Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition, Bamberg (2010); he was also selected to work over an extended period with the Philharmonia and London Philharmonic Orchestras as part of the Allianz Cultural Programme; this led to his working with well-established conducting mentors including the late Lorin Maazel, Vladimir Jurowski and Esa Pekka Salonen.
Highlights of his time in Heidelberg have included the opening of the rebuilt Opera Theater in 2012 with Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa, subsequent performances of Wolfgang Rihm’s new opera Dionysos which earned him Opernwelt’s nomination for the “Best Performance of the Year”, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Christianne Stotijn and a performance of the completion of Bruckner’s 9th Symphony which was compared favourably to that of the Berlin Philharmonic by no less a critic than Ken Ward of the Bruckner Journal.
Kamdzhalov has a particular interest in both contemporary music and astronomy, something recognised by NASA who named a planet after him (their citation reads “With his passion for astronomy, he connects the world of music with the fascination for the universe”) and, in conjunction with the Institute of Astronomy, he has recently launched a musical cycle under the generic title of “Evolution” with the Symphony No 2 (Copernicus) by Gorecki (At Heidelberg’s International Spring Festival 2015 he will also conduct Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs No 3). Kamdzhalov is Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Berlin Group International Ensemble Innorelatio and has also worked with MusikFabrik Köln, Ensemple Morern Frankfurt, Ensemble Contrechamps Geneva . Earlier in his career he took part in the Lucerne Festival Academy (2007) which involved workshops with Pierre Boulez as well as a public performance of Stockhausen’s Grüppen for three orchestras, and his German debut (2005) was the World Première of B. Schweitzer’s opera ‘Informationen über Barteleby’ in Berlin.