Robert Trevino has rapidly emerged as one of the most exciting American conductors performing today, one of the most in-demand talents of the younger generation. He is immensely proud to have been named, in 2016, as the incoming Music Director of the Basque National Orchestra. “They are a marvelous group of players and I immediately felt that I had found my musical family,” he says, “When you spend your life pushing yourself so hard to find truths in music, and then you find an orchestra full of players who want exactly the same thing, everything makes sense. And you know that something special is within reach.”
Trevino burst into the international spotlight at the Bolshoi Theater in December 2013, when he led a new production of Verdi’s Don Carlo, substituting for Vasily Sinaisky. The response was euphoric from both audience and the Russian press, which wrote, “There has not been an American success of this magnitude in Moscow since Van Cliburn.” He was subsequently nominated for a Golden Mask award for “Best Conductor in a New Production”. Appearances with some of the world’s top orchestras swiftly followed in a sensational rise.
‘Overnight successes’, of course, are usually never really created overnight. Even before his professional debut, Trevino had opted away from the traditional school system in favor of intensively teaching himself every score he could lay his hands on, so the triumph in Moscow came as a very personal vindication. He soon caught the eye of David Zinman, with whom he studied as an Aspen Conducting Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival And School – where he was awarded the James Conlon Prize for Excellence in Conducting. Immediately afterwards, in 2011, James Levine invited Trevino to be the Seiji Ozawa Conducting Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Festival. His was also invited to study with Michael Tilson Thomas at the New World Symphony, and to assist Leif Segerstam (in his acclaimed complete Sibelius Symphony cycle) at the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. Trevino is also a laureate of the Evgeny Svetlanov International Conducting Competition in France.
He has served as Associate Conductor at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (2011-2015) and, prior to that, as Associate Conductor to New York City Opera at Lincoln Center (2009-2011).
Recent seasons have seen Trevino crossing continents in an ever-growing number of major debuts – among them the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Dresden Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Orchestre Nationale de France, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Royal Flemish Philharmonic and many others. Magnificent receptions have often greeted his performances. Of his concert with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra in June 2016, Concertnet wrote, “After a majestic interpretation of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7…(the encores) led the public into rhythmic clapping within the pieces and delirious applause…the enthusiasm, with some almost dancing in their seats, got more and more intense…”.
Immediate reinvitations have frequently followed his debuts - the Orchestra Philharmonique de Monte Carlo even invited him to extensively tour Europe and Asia, including inaugurating the new hall, Opera di Firenze of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino – and his performances are now regularly broadcast, including a special profile feature on the Arte Channel.
The coming seasons will bring him to the Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, The Cleveland Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, HR Sinfonieorchester, Tonkuenstler Vienna, MDR Leipzig,Toronto Symphony, Maggio Musicale Florentino, Helsinki Philharmonic, Bournemouth & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras as well as opera productions at the Washington National Opera. Robert Trevino has commissioned, premiered and worked closely with many of today’s leading composers, among them Augusta Read Thomas, Sir Andre Previn, Jennifer Higdon, Phillip Glass, Shulamit Ran and John Zorn.
Says Trevino of his love of making music, "From my earliest years, it was a compulsion, not a choice to sacrifice everything for music and to this day I have that compulsion. People ask me if I want to take a little break – no! I haven’t even scratched the surface of what it is that I hope to find in the music, and when I'm with an orchestra who are right there with me, who don't want to let go of any minute of rehearsal time and love it - and when you have an audience who take that journey with you - well, that's when you know that a life in music is a pretty amazing life." When one encounters Robert Trevino, either in person or by watching him on the podium, one has no doubt what he means.