A musician with wide-ranging musical interests, conductor Julian Pellicano has made his mark with a multifaceted approach to programming and performing, engaging audiences in a diverse mélange of concerts and genres. Dedicated to invigorating performances of the traditional and contemporary symphonic repertoire, Pellicano’s range has also extended to films live with orchestra, classical and modern ballet, collaborations with composers, opera productions, pops, musical theater, multi-media productions, workshops, as well as carefully programmed concerts for young listeners. The Winnipeg Free Press says of Pellicano, “His versatility is truly astonishing…”
The 2018 – 2019 season includes exciting debut performances with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra as well as a return to conduct two productions with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. This year also marks Pellicano’s sixth season as Resident Conductor of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra with concerts on the WSO’s Masterworks series in addition to leading a multitude of performances throughout the season on the WSO’s Pops, Movie, Kids, Specials and Education series.
Quickly establishing himself as an expert in the new and burgeoning field of performing films live with orchestra, Pellicano’s repertoire of projects includes Fritz Lang’s science fiction masterpiece Metropolis with it’s original 1927 score, E.T. The Extra-terrestrial, Home Alone, Jurassic Park, Singin’ in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz, Disney’s Fantasia, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Howard Blake’s The Snowman and The Bear, plus Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, The Circus and The Kid Auto Races at Venice. During the 2018 – 2019 season Pellicano will take on four new live film projects: Casablanca, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Miloš Forman’s award-winning film Amadeus.
Pellicano has built his career by following an unconventional path. As a young musician he dedicated himself to performing and improvising in a multitude of different groups and styles as a drummer, percussionist, timpanist, and accordionist: from folk music to blues and jazz, rock and punk, and more traditional ensembles and orchestras. An autodidact, he was accepted into the percussion class at the Peabody Conservatory without typical classical training and simultaneously earned a degree in philosophy from The Johns Hopkins University. He continued as a percussionist at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden and at the Yale School of Music where he was member of the critically acclaimed Yale Percussion Group and was taught by the world-renowned soloist Robert Van Sice. As a percussionist, he has performed in concert halls and festivals in North America, Europe and Asia and was notably the percussionist for the legendary composer Mauricio Kagel conducting his own music in one of this final concert tours throughout the Netherlands.
He was immediately spellbound by the sound and complexities of the orchestra at his first exposure as a teenager and went on to begin conducting studies and organizing concerts as a conservatory student. The co-creation of a new performance edition of George Antheil’s groundbreaking original 1923 version of Ballet Mecanique first brought Pellicano to the public’s attention as a conductor and since then his work has brought him to concert halls on four continents.
Passionate about the intersection of music and theater Pellicano recently made his debut with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and has conducted performances with the Huntsville Ballet and Eastern Connecticut Ballet. Other fully staged opera productions include The Marriage of Figaro, Rinaldo, The Medium, La Cenerentola, The Pirates of Penzance, Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny Songspiel, Nancy Van de Vate’s Where the Cross is Made and In the Shadow of the Glen, as well as unique fully orchestrated productions of South Pacific and A Chorus Line.
Recognized for his transparent interpretations of contemporary works, Pellicano has been an Artist in Residence at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival since 2008 where he conducts the Norfolk Contemporary Ensemble and works with young and talented composers and performers each year, workshopping, premiering and recording newly composed music. He has premiered dozens of compositions including the American premiere of Hans Werner Henze’s Drei Geistliche Konzerte, the premiere of Martin Bresnick’s critically acclaimed opera My Friend’s Story and recently led a new film/recording project of music by Australian composer Nicole Murphy for Elm City Records. He has collaborated with Soprano/Director Susan Narucki and the Kallisti Ensemble in rare performances of Pascal Dusapin’s opera To Be Sung and in 2010 he released a recording of Ingram Marshall’s Peaceable Kingdom with the Yale Philharmonia on New World Records. Always interested in unique projects, Pellicano toured throughout Turkey in a cross-cultural project blending both European and Turkish classical instruments in newly composed contemporary works by Eugene Birman and Spencer Topel and recently appeared at the first edition of the Ciclo de Música Contemporánea de Oviedo (Spain).
Pellicano studied conducting on fellowship at the Yale School of Music with Shinik Hahm and he has conducted in masterclasses with Kurt Masur, Peter Eötvös, Zsolt Nagy, Martyn Brabbins, Carl St. Clair, L’Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Other principal conducting teachers have included Dr. Harlan Parker and Per Andersberg.
Pellicano was a recipient of the 2008 Presser Music Award which allowed him to travel and observe world-renowned conductors Simon Rattle, Daniel Barenboim, David Robertson, Bernard Haitink, John Adams and Michael Tilson Thomas in rehearsal. In addition to the Presser Music Award, he has been recognized with awards from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music and Yale’s Phillip F. Nelson Prize for Musical Entrepreneurship.
(Current as of Aug. 2018)