Credit: Liz Linder
An artist of impeccable musical credentials, Joshua Gersen is widely respected as an engaging and inspiring conductor, able to communicate effortlessly with both young and established orchestras internationally. A native of the New York area, he made his debut as a conductor at the early age of 11 and has established himself as a dynamic presence on the podium.
Joshua recently concluded his tenure as the Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic, where he most notably made his subscription debut at just a few hours’ notice, filling in for an indisposed Semyon Bychkov. “Impassioned and incisive,” wrote The New York Times, “the performance earned a standing ovation and prolonged applause from his colleagues in the orchestra.” He then conducted his own subscription concert the following season, which included the orchestra’s only performance of Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story during the Bernstein Centennial year.
As an educator, Joshua has frequently worked with students and ensembles at the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, Boston University, and the Curtis Institute of Music. He was the Interim Director of Orchestras at Boston University for the 2019-20 academic year. During his time with the New York Philharmonic, he also conducted many of the orchestra’s celebrated Young People’s Concerts and worked extensively with both the Very Young Composers Program and the Harmony Program, which provides music education for students in underserved communities across New York City. Previously, Joshua was Music Director of the New York Youth Symphony, where he conducted numerous concerts to critical acclaim, and successfully led the orchestra on their first international tour in over 50 seasons.
A respected composer as well as conductor, Joshua studied composition with Michael Gandolfi at the New England Conservatory of Music before studying conducting with the esteemed Otto-Werner Mueller at the Curtis Institute of Music. His work as a composer has also led to an interest in conducting contemporary music. He conducted several world premieres of new works by young composers with the New York Youth Symphony through their First Music Program, and also collaborated with many prominent contemporary composers including John Adams, Steve Reich, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jennifer Higdon, Mason Bates and Michael Gandolfi. As Principal Conductor of the Ojai Music Festival in 2013, Joshua led numerous performances by celebrated American composers such as Lou Harrison and John Luther Adams.
In addition to his love of contemporary music, he remains passionate about the core classical repertoire, in particular the German and Russian masters, as well as the classic American composers, including Copland, Gershwin, Barber and Bernstein.
Joshua has enjoyed a very successful relationship with the New World Symphony, where he served as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Conducting Fellow, acting as assistant conductor to the symphony’s Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas. He made his conducting debut with the San Francisco Symphony in the fall of 2013 and has since been invited back numerous times to conduct a variety of concerts.
Other recent guest conducting appearances include performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Hannover Opera, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, and the Colorado Music Festival. He is the recipient of a 2015 and 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award.