Associate Professor of Music,
Music Director and Conductor
of the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra
Barbara K. Jackson Chair in Orchestral Conducting
Christian Baldini has served as the Music Director of the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra since 2009, and is the Barbara K. Jackson Professor of Orchestral Conducting at UC Davis. Since 2012, Baldini also has served as Music Director of the Camellia Symphony Orchestra in Sacramento. In past seasons Baldini has been an assistant conductor with the BBC Symphony in London and the San Francisco Symphony. Baldini recently made a much anticipated debut in London conducting Verdi’s Aida at the Coliseum for English National Opera. He is a dynamic artist with a pure and warm sense of musicality and “a keen ear for detail” (The Scotsman, Edinburgh). When he conducted Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring in Argentina, the Buenos Aires Herald praised Baldini for bringing a “Symphonic Revival” to the country. His Mozart CD conducting the Scottish Chamber Orchestra received 5-star reviews from the BBC Music Magazine (Recording of the Month), Music Web International, Gramophone, The Guardian, Sinfini, Classic FM, etc. In 2014-15 Baldini conducted eleven concerts with the San Francisco Symphony, and he returned for guest conducting engagements in Buenos Aires and London. He guest conducts regularly several international orchestras including the Munich Radio Orchestra, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, National Symphony (of Argentina, including a tour for Ginastera’s 100th Anniversary), BBC Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra (D.C.), Orquestra Sinfonica do Porto (National Symphony of Portugal), Orquesta de Cámara de Chile, San Francisco Symphony, and opera for the Aldeburgh Festival (United Kingdom) and the Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires). Equally at home in the core symphonic and operatic repertoire as in the most imaginative and daring corners of contemporary music, he has presented world premieres of over 100 works. When he made his debut conducting in South Africa, Moira de Swardt stated that “passion and dedication intersect for a fabulous orchestral concert.” After Baldini conducted the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP, Brazil), critic Arthur Nestrovski from the Folha de Sao Paulo praised this “charismatic young conductor” who “conducted by heart Brahms’s First Symphony, lavishing his musicality and leaving sighs all over the hall and the rows of the orchestra”; and in his recent performances of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Varèse’s Amériques, the Buenos Aires Herald hailed Baldini for bringing “A Symphonic Revival” to the Teatro Argentino.
Baldini was a featured composer at the Acanthes Festival in France and the Ginastera Festival in London. His compositions have been performed by orchestras and ensembles including the Orchestre National de Lorraine (France), Southbank Sinfonia (London), Munich Radio Orchestra (Germany), New York New Music Ensemble, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Daegu Chamber Orchestra (South Korea), Chronophonie Ensemble (Freiburg), and the Ensemble Modern (Frankfurt). His music appears on CD on the Pretal Label and has been broadcast on the Southwest German, Austrian and Bayern Radios, as well as on the National Classical Music Radio of Argentina. He has also conducted and recorded contemporary Italian music for the RAI Trade and Tactus labels. His compositions are published by Babel Scores in Paris.
As a conductor, Baldini was privileged to learn from Kurt Masur, Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, Peter Eötvös, Martyn Brabbins, Gerardo Edelstein, and Guillermo Scarabino. He holds degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo (Ph.D. in composition), the Pennsylvania State University (master’s in conducting), and the Catholic University of Argentina (bachelor’s degree in conducting and composition).
In 2012 Baldini made his conducting debut in Salzburg, when he was selected as one of three conductors out of 91 submissions worldwide for the Nestlé/Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award. Baldini’s work has received awards in several competitions including the top prize at the Seoul International Competition for Composers (South Korea, 2005), the Tribune of Music (UNESCO, 2005), the Ossia International Competition (Rochester, NY, 2008), the Daegu Chamber Orchestra International Competition (South Korea, 2008), and the Sao Paulo Orchestra International Conducting Competition (Brazil, 2006). After teaching and conducting at the State University of New York in Buffalo, Baldini became the music director of the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra in 2009. In recent seasons, Baldini has conducted multiple world premieres as well as important local premieres such as Varèse’s Amériques, Berio’s Sinfonia, Ligeti’s Violin Concerto, as well as cycles of symphonies by Sibelius, Brahms, and Schumann. Baldini recently made his guest conducting debut at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam (which was live-streamed worldwide). Baldini is also a guest conductor with Ensemble Dal Niente from Chicago, one of the most innovative new music groups in the world.