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Kensho Watanabe

Kensho Watanabe

Emerging onto the international stage, Kensho Watanabe is fast becoming one of the most exciting and versatile young conductors to come out of the United States. Recently recognized as a recipient of a Career Assistance Award by the Solti Foundation U.S, Kensho will make his Metropolitan Opera debut this season, conducting Kevin Puts’ The Hours.  

Assistant Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra from 2016 to 2019, Kensho made his critically acclaimed subscription debut with the Orchestra and pianist Daniil Trifonov, taking over from his mentor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. He has continued to enjoy a close relationship with the Orchestra, returning often for subscription concerts, as well as debuts at the Bravo! Vail Festival and the Mann and Saratoga Performing Arts Centres.


Recent highlights include Kensho’s debuts with the Minnesota Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, Enescu Philharmonic, and the Sarasota Orchestra.  Kensho has also enjoyed collaborations with the London Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Brussels Philharmonic, and the Orchestre Metropolitain in Montreal.

Equally at home in both symphonic and operatic repertoire, Watanabe’s recent opera performances include Puccini’s La bohème at Spoleto Festival USA and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro at the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival.  

Watanabe has previously been the inaugural conducting fellow of the Curtis Institute of Music from 2013 to 2015, under the mentorship of Nézet-Séguin. An accomplished violinist, Watanabe received his master of music degree from the Yale School of Music and served as a substitute violinist in The Philadelphia Orchestra from 2012 to 2016.