Since his prodigious breakthrough as Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the age of 19, Ilan Volkov has matured into a versatile conductor whose interpretations of familiar repertoire are sought after internationally. He enjoys a long-standing relationship with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, as Principal Conductor from 2003 and Principal Guest Conductor since 2009. A musical omnivore, Volkov also serves as a dynamic figurehead of the international contemporary music scene.
He launched the Tectonics Festival in 2012, which has since become one of the world’s most diverse and acclaimed celebrations of new music, with festivals in Adelaide, Oslo, New York, Tel Aviv, Krakow, Athens, Glasgow and Reykjavík. In 2020 he co-founded the I&I Foundation with Ilya Gringolts to support the development and performance of new music.
Volkov’s repertoire with a variety of ensembles spreads far and wide, and he often appears at the world’s foremost festivals, such as Salzburg, Edinburgh, BBC Proms, Lucerne, Unsound Krakow, Musikprotokoll and Musikfest Berlin. Between 2011 and 2014 he was Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.
Equally at home in opera, his extensive operatic ventures have included Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” for San Francisco Opera, Britten’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Glyndebourne Festival, “Peter Grimes” for Washington National Opera and Glyndebourne Festival, Gerald Barry’s “The Importance of Being Ernest” at the Lincoln Center with New York Philharmonic, Bach’s “Actus Tragicus” at Stuttgart Opera, and Olga Neuwirth’s “The Outcast” in Vienna and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. Future plans include conducting Samir Odeh-Tamimis’s new creation for the Aix Festival and Feldman’s “Neither” for Salzburg Festival in summer 2021.
Volkov’s diverse discography includes Stravinsky’s ballet scores and a Gramophone Award-winning recording of Britten’s complete works for piano and orchestra, both for Hyperion, as well as a critically acclaimed survey of Liszt’s three Funeral Odes with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He has a podcast for Radio Halas, in which he explores his extensive musical tastes and interviews colleagues.