Gerhardt Zimmermann

Music Director

Maestro Gerhardt Zimmermann begins his 39th season as Music Director of the Canton Symphony Orchestra.  Zimmermann’s energetic and vibrant performances have drawn invitations to appear on the podium with the Cleveland, Chicago, National, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, New Jersey, Syracuse, Rochester and San Antonio Orchestras.  Other guest appearances include the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Orchestre Symphonique de Paris, the Toronto Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic, Tulsa Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago’s Grant Park and the Colorado Philharmonic.  As comfortable with opera as on the concert stage, the Maestro has conducted staged works of Mozart, Verdi, Strauss Jr., Puccini and Gershwin.

Since 2006, Zimmermann has been Director of Orchestral Activities at The University of Texas, Austin. Zimmermann served as the Music Director and Conductor of the North Carolina Symphony for 20 seasons from 1982-2002, and Conductor Laureate from 2002-2007. And for 21 years, from 1993 to 2014, he was Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Breckenridge (CO) Music Festival.

After his debut with the Colorado Philharmonic, the Denver Post  wrote  “…one would be hard pressed to recall a better account of Edward Elgar’s ‘Enigma’ Variations. Zimmermann, though with a score on the music desk before the podium, never opened it, and led the orchestra with command and sure concert. It was masterful, the orchestra responding with sonorous clarity.” And the Rocky Mountain News read: “Zimmermann and company created an exquisite reading of Elgar’s ‘Enigma’ Variations… the conductor, working from memory, made every note count. His control over the proceedings was complete, and the orchestra responded with some of its finest playing of the season.”

Tom Wachunas of ARTWATCH wrote of Zimmermann and the Canton Symphony: With Zimmermann, on the podium for Also Sprach Zarathustra (“Thus Spoke Zarathustra”), “I don’t recall an occasion when the CSO was more powerful or finessed in balancing the challenging intricacies of conflicting tonalities and mood changes that characterize this complicated work, from brooding drama to gentler lyricism. And the same attention to aural detail that was evident in the Mendelssohn was even more pronounced here. So much so that something quite ironic emerged from all the Sturm und Dräng. This performance of Richard Strauss’s music was hypnotic and compelling to the point of transcending its contextual origins. Never mind Nietzche’s blustery atheism and convoluted philosophizing. In the end, what resonated most was not what Strauss called “…homage to Nietzche’s genius,” but rather something profoundly divine. The wondrous sound of the CSO can do that.”

In writing his review of the Symphony No. 9 by Antonin Dvořák,  Mr. Wachunas said: “… there was nothing forced or frenetic about his deportment as he conducted the evening’s final selection, … Not that there ever is. Yet with only the subtlest of hand movements, or a slight tilt of his head, he clearly elicited astonishing articulations from this highly gifted ensemble – the fierceness of (the) brass, the ravishing winds, the palpable warmth and depth of the strings.  Under Zimmermann’s astute direction, Dvořák was a perfect choice for exhibiting the CSO’s uncanny ability to seamlessly balance penetrating grace with unmitigated muscularity, gentle lyricism with compelling power.”

Born in Ohio, Mr. Zimmermann and his wife Sharon, have two children,  Anna Marie and Peter Karl Irum, and six grandchildren.