For nearly 20 years Alexander Platt has conducted The Wisconsin Philharmonic. He is also Music Director of the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra. He spends his summers in Woodstock, New York as Music Director of the Maverick Concerts, which just celebrated its centenary as the oldest summer chamber-music festival in America.
Alexander Platt made his debut with Chicago Opera Theater in 1997, conducting Charles Newell’s production of DON GIOVANNI, and then served as the company’s Resident Conductor and Music Advisor from 2001 to 2012. During this historic era for COT, he led the Chicago premieres of Britten’s DEATH IN VENICE, John Adams’ NIXON IN CHINA, the Peter Brook LA TRAGEDIE DE CARMEN, and Britten’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM; the world premiere of the Tony Kushner/Maurice Sendak version of Hans Krasa’s BRUNDIBAR, and of his own version for young people of Tchaikovsky’s IOLANTA; the double-bill of Bartok’s BLUEBEARD’S CASTLE and the Schoenberg ERWARTUNG, with Nancy Gustafson and Samuel Ramey; and the world-premiere recording of Kurka’s THE GOOD SOLDIER SCHWEIK. In 2012, Alexander concluded his tenure at COT leading the Chicago premiere of the Shostakovich MOSCOW PARADISE, to unanimous critical praise.
Devoted to regional orchestras and their communities, Platt has also served numerous other communities in the Midwest and worldwide:
- Minnesota: Apprentice Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Minnesota Opera (1991-93); Music Director of the Minnesota Philharmonic (2014-16)
- Wisconsin: Racine Symphony Orchestra; Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra; conducting assignments with the Skylight Opera Theater
- Banff: Banff Festival in conjunction with Calgary Opera
- North Dakota: Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra (2010-15)
- Florida: Boca Raton Symphonia — Principal Conductor (2007-10)
- Europe: Aldeburgh Festival, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia, the Freiburg Philharmonic in Germany, Aalborg Symphony in Denmark
In 2007 Alexander made his New York debut with the Brooklyn Philharmonic in Central Park, the first of several innovative, successful appearances with that orchestra. In 2013 he made his debut at the Ravinia Festival, leading soloists from the Lyric Opera of Chicago in two American masterworks commissioned for the Bicentennial: Elliott Carter’s modernist landmark A MIRROR ON WHICH TO DWELL, and the premiere of his own version of Leonard Bernstein’s SONGFEST, both to high praise in The Chicago Tribune.
Through all these years, Alexander Platt has also been devoted to the music of our time, having conducted the US premieres of works by Britten, Shostakovich, Ned Rorem, Colin Matthews, Daron Hagen, Joseph Schwantner, John Corigliano, Harold Meltzer, Libby Larsen, Joan Tower, Judith Weir, William Neil, and Simon Holt — as well as those of his brother Russell Platt, the classical-music editor at The New Yorker magazine. A signal success in this regard was the 2007 premiere of Alexander’s new version for chamber orchestra of David Del Tredici’s masterpiece, Final Alice (1976), under a major grant from the New York State Music Fund, with The New York Times praising Mr. Platt’s traversal of Del Tredici’s notoriously difficult score.
A research scholar for the National Endowment for the Humanities before he entered college, Alexander Platt was educated at Yale College, where on graduation he won the University’s most prestigious undergraduate arts prize; as a British Marshall Scholar at King’s College Cambridge, where he was the one student member of the College’s building committee; and as a conducting fellow at both Aspen and Tanglewood, where he studied with Murry Sidlin, Gustav Meier, Leon Fleisher, Oliver Knussen, Seiji Ozawa and Simon Rattle.