American/Canadian conductor Julian Pellicano has rapidly established himself as a leading interpreter of music across a broad spectrum of genres, traditions, and time periods, leading the Winnipeg Free Press to proclaim that “his versatility is truly astonishing.” Whether it be traditional and contemporary symphonic repertoire, classical and modern ballet, opera, films live with orchestra, pops, musical theater, multi-media productions, workshops, or his carefully programmed concerts for young listeners, Julian brings an incisive musicality and collaborative spirit to every performance.
The 2021 – 2022 season marks his third as the Principal Conductor of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Pellicano’s ninth season with Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra where he serves as the orchestra’s Associate Conductor. Upcoming guest engagements include performances with the Vancouver Symphony, Orlando Ballet, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra where Julian is a candidate for the position of Music Director. Highlights from past concert seasons include guest appearances with the Seattle Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony with Cincinnati Ballet, Edmonton Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic, Yale Philharmonia, Orquestra de Valencia, the Hartford Symphony, and the Orquestra Sinfônica de Porto Alegre.
Quickly establishing himself as an expert in the burgeoning field of performing films live with orchestra, Julian’s repertoire of projects includes Fritz Lang’s Metropolis with its original 1927 score, E.T. The Extra-terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Home Alone, Miloš Forman’s award-winning film Amadeus, Casablanca, Singin’ in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz, Disney’s Fantasia, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Howard Blake’s The Snowman and The Bear, plus Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, The Circus and The Kid Auto Races at Venice.
Committed to developing the art of performing and conducting with dancers, Julian is passionate about the intersection of music and theater. In addition to many performances with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, he has conducted performances with Cincinnati Ballet, Huntsville Ballet and Eastern Connecticut Ballet. 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, Guys and Dolls, and A Chorus Line.
As an interpreter of contemporary works, Julian has been an Artist in Residence at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival since 2008, where he conducts the Norfolk Contemporary Ensemble to workshop, premiere and record newly composed music each year. 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. Julian 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. He also toured throughout Turkey as part of a cross-cultural project blending both European and Turkish classical instruments in newly composed contemporary works and appeared at the first edition of the Ciclo de Música Contemporánea de Oviedo (Spain).
Pellicano studied conducting with Shinik Hahm on fellowship at the Yale School of Music, with Per Andersberg at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, and 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.
Julian 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.
Julian Pellicano’s career grew out of unconventional beginnings, performing as a self-taught percussionist, timpanist, drummer and accordionist, in styles ranging from folk music to blues and jazz, rock and punk, as well as more traditional ensembles and orchestras. He went on to study percussion at the Peabody Conservatory with Jonathan Haas, the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden with Anders Loguin, and the Yale School of Music with Robert Van Sice, where he was also a member of the critically acclaimed Yale Percussion Group. 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 his final concert tours throughout the Netherlands. He also holds a degree in Philosophy from The Johns Hopkins University.