Robert Kahn

In November, Rochester Symphony welcomes Robert Kahn to the stage as one of four conductor candidates pursuing the position of our new Music Director.


Conducting for Rochester Symphony: November 11, 2023
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Current Position: Assistant Conductor at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia
About the concert selection: “The concert opener reflects my love of opera. The next two works reveal my passion for finding overlooked masterpieces as well as revisiting the great pillars of the repertoire.”


Dutch-American conductor and 2022 recipient of the Solti Career Assistance Award, Robert Kahn is currently serving as the Assistant Conductor at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. In May 2022, he concluded the Conducting Fellowship at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he was mentored by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Conversant with both symphonic and operatic repertoire, Kahn has served as cover conductor with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the New York Philharmonic under Jaap van Zweden. In 2022, he was invited to assist Yannick Nézet-Séguin with the Rotterdam Philharmonic on their European Tour. Kahn has also served as assistant conductor with the Juilliard Opera, the Curtis Opera, and the Mannes Opera, and most recently conducted performances of Don Giovanni at the Academy of Vocal Arts.

As a recipient of the Julius Rudel Conducting Award, Kahn served as cover conductor with the Buffalo Philharmonic under JoAnn Faletta, returning to conduct the BPO in concert. He also served as cover conductor to Miguel Harth-Bedoya with the Fort Worth Symphony. Passionate about new music, Kahn collaborated with David Hertzberg to conduct the studio recording of his new opera, The Rose Elf, which received wide acclaim including Critic’s Pick by Opera News magazine. In 2021, Kahn conducted the same work for a digital co-production of LA Opera / Opera Omaha in collaboration with the ICE ensemble.

As associate conductor for On Site Opera, Kahn conducted a newly commissioned opera by John Musto at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. He has also conducted new opera works at Opera Philadelphia’s Double Exposure workshop.

Kahn received his Professional Studies Degree in Orchestral Conducting at the Mannes School of Music, studying with David Hayes. Previous conducting teachers include Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Harlan D. Parker, and Harold Farberman. He holds a Double Bachelor’s Degree in Physics and Clarinet from The Johns Hopkins University and Peabody Conservatory.

As someone who comes from a family in medicine, Kahn has known about Rochester for a long time. He is excited to visit in person, get to know the community, and share some favorite pieces in the orchestral repertoire. Having grown up in a relatively small and cold town in the Netherlands, he expects to feel right at home here!