Karel Mark Chichon OBE is the Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, a post he has held since the 2017/18 season. He has guest conducted widely across Europe both in the concert halls and opera houses, and previous titled positions include Chief Conductor of the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken (2011-2017), Chief Conductor & Artistic Director of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra (2009-2012) and Chief Conductor of the Graz Symphony Orchestra (2006-2009). He is a regular Deutsche Grammophon recording artist, having recorded numerous CDs and DVDs for the renowned record label.
In Gran Canaria, where Chichon has recently renewed his contract until 2025, critics and public alike have credited him with transforming the orchestra, through undertaking several acclaimed recordings, as well as attracting the world’s finest conductors and soloists. During his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern, he received praise for his profound interpretation of a wide repertoire and transformative music-making. He also received unanimous critical success for his cycle of the orchestral works of Dvořák with Hänssler Classic, with critics saying 'Chichon scores significantly over several esteemed rivals' and praising the first release as 'the finest version available'. His disc of music by Prokofiev, Stravinsky and de Falla inspired Fanfare Magazine to describe Chichon as 'commanding, electrifying, utterly individual, with his German Radio Philharmonic playing as those possessed'.
Chichon has conducted the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Wiener Symphoniker, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre National de Belgique and Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI amongst other orchestras and in venues such as the Berlin Philharmonie, Musikverein Vienna, Konzerthaus Vienna, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Royal Festival Hall London, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées Paris, Munich Philharmonie, Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Alter Oper Frankfurt, Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Auditorio Nacional de Musica Madrid and Seoul Arts Center South Korea.
In 2016, Chichon made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, conducting Madama Butterfly, which included a live broadcast in 2,000 cinemas across 66 countries throughout the world; he has since returned to the Met to conduct La traviata and in June 2022, will conduct Rigoletto in the closing performance of its 2021/22 season. Chichon has also conducted at Wiener Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bayerisches Staatsoper Munich, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Teatro Real Madrid, Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona and in April 2022 makes his debut at Zürich Opera.
Chichon was born in London and is of Gibraltarian heritage. He studied organ at London’s Royal Academy of Music and conducting at the Hochschule für Musik, Vienna. In 2016, Chichon was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in recognition of his achievements within the profession.
For more than ten years, Elīna Garanča and Karel Mark Chichon have been sharing the stage with young, aspiring talents from the opera world as part of their Open-Air concerts in Göttweig and Kitzbühel, Austria. These appearances often started a successful international career of the young protégés.
Following this collaboration, the idea of young talent initiative ZukunftsStimmen, with the support of Raiffeisen Bank, was born. It is particularly important to Elīna Garanča that ZukunftsStimmen is not just a classical singing competition. Rather, it is about discovering, accompanying, helping at the beginning of a career – and of course about the opportunity to be on stage with Kammersängerin Elīna Garanča and Maestro Karel Mark Chichon during the classical Open-Air concerts in Göttweig Abbey and Kitzbühel.
New York Observer
Mr. Chichon’s debut demonstrated he is a very fine artist, able to coax delicate impressionistic tone color from the massive Met orchestra. Madama Butterfly is one of the world’s most popular operas, but it doesn’t play itself; it takes a perceptive maestro like Mr. Chichon to present this score at its best