While still in his twenties, Philippe Jordan became a wünderkind among conductors, with acclaimed debuts at the Met, Covent Garden, Glyndebourne, and other major operatic venues. At 33 he was appointed music director of the Opéra National de Paris, effective with the 2009-2010 season, making him the youngest conductor ever to hold the post. With 174 orchestral members, 104 singers in the chorus, two opera houses as performance venues, and with 20 or so operatic productions per season, Jordan oversees one of the more formidable operatic companies in Europe. Jordan is probably best known for his interpretations of the operas of Mozart, Wagner, Massenet, and Richard Strauss. But his repertory extends to the lesser-known reaches, taking in such neglected works as Busoni's Doktor Faust, and he regularly conducts concert music and even occasionally appears as a pianist in recitals and chamber music. Jordan's recordings are available from ArtHaus Musik, Naïve, Opus Arte, and TDK.
Philippe Jordan was born in Zurich, Switzerland, on October 18, 1974. His father was famed Swiss conductor Armin Jordan and his mother, Käthe Herkner, was a ballet dancer. Young Philippe studied piano and voice in his youth, eventually singing in the Zurich Boys Choir. He later took lessons on violin and, at 16, began his advanced music studies at the Zurich Conservatory.
In 1994, just 20 years old, Jordan was named first kapellmeister at the Ulm Staadtheater in Germany. He soon began making debuts across Europe, including at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, in Brussels (1995). From 1998-2001, he served as assistant to Daniel Barenboim at the Berlin State Opera.
From 2001-2004 he was principal conductor of the Graz Opera and Symphony Orchestra. During 2001-2002 season he debuted at the Houston Grand Opera in Saint-Saëns' Samson et Dalila and at Glyndebourne in Carmen. His meteoric rise continued the following season when he debuted at the Met (Die Fledermaus) and Covent Garden.
Following departure from his Graz post in 2004, Jordan remained busy both in the opera house and concert hall with a heavy schedule of guest-conducting appearances, including with the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras. He debuted with the New York Philharmonic in 2007 in a program of works by Smetana, Dvorák, and Beethoven. From 2009, Jordan has guest-conducted regularly and worked with great critical success at the Paris Opera, where his contract ends with the 2014-2015 season, with an option for three more years.