Christopher Zimmerman started his musical training on piano at age 7, and violin at age 11. He grew up in England and participated in his high school orchestra program where he still remembers a particularly rousing performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, a piece featured in AYP’s January 2016 concert program.
Zimmerman graduated from Yale with a B.A. in Music, and received his Master’s from the University of Michigan. Prior to his current position with AYPO, Mr. Zimmerman was Music Director of the Symphony of Southeast Texas, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and the City of London Chamber Orchestra. In 1993 he joined the conducting faculty at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati where he was Music Director of their concert orchestra, and in 1999 he was appointed as Fuller Professor of Orchestral Studies at the Hartt School as well as Music Director of the Hartt Symphony.
Mr. Zimmerman’s first experience with AYPO was a personal one; his son, also a violinist, was in the AYPO program for two years. In 2012, Mr. Zimmerman led a side-by-side concert with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and American Youth Concert Orchestra. Mr. Zimmerman joined the AYPO ranks in 2014 and currently serves as principal conductor of AYP and Artistic Director. Mr. Zimmerman is principal conductor of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra (2009-) and the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra (2013-).
Mr. Zimmerman finds inspiration from Nadia Boulanger – one of the first major woman conductors and an educator to such famous composers as Aaron Copland; and Seji Ozawa – a prolific conductor and advocate of modern composers and a past mentor of Zimmerman at Tanglewood.
When asked to give advice to aspiring musicians, he said the following, “you are only as good as your last performance,” “don’t expect others to build your career for you,” and “admit your mistakes – orchestras know immediately when the fault is yours.”
Mr. Zimmerman spends his rare spare time outdoors, either running or working out, or inside with a glass of wine and a good book.
To learn more about Maestro Christopher Zimmerman, read his full biography here.