Constantine Orbelian

Music Director and Principal Conductor of the NYC Opera


Four-time Grammy-nominated conductor Constantine Orbelian has been called “the singer’s dream collaborator” by Opera News,

which hailed him for conducting vocal repertoire “with the sensitivity of a lieder pianist.” He has toured and recorded with some of the world’s greatest singers, such as American stars Renée Fleming, Sondra Radvanovsky and Lawrence Brownlee, and with the great Dmitri Hvorostovsky and other renowned Russian singers in European, North American, Russian and Asian music centers.

Maestro Orbelian’s accomplishments
include being Music Director of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonia of Russia, founder of the annual Palaces of St. Petersburg International Music Festival, Chief Conductor of the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra in Lithuania, and Artistic Director of the State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater in Yerevan, Armenia. Among his concert and televised appearances are collaborations with Hvorostovsky, Renée Fleming, Anna Netrebko, Elīna Garanča and Van Cliburn, including the legendary pianist’s farewell performance.

Born in San Francisco to Russian and Armenian émigrés parents,
Maestro Orbelian made his performing debut as a piano prodigy with the San Francisco Symphony at the age of 11. After graduating from Juilliard in New York, he embarked on a career as a piano virtuoso that included appearances with major symphony orchestras throughout the U.S., U.K., Europe and Russia.

The first American to become music director of an ensemble in Russia, he was awarded the coveted title “Honored Artist of Russia” in 2004 in recognition of his efforts championing Russian-American cultural exchange. In 2012 the Russian Consulate in San Francisco awarded the maestro the Russian Order of Friendship Medal, joining such luminaries as Cliburn and Riccardo Muti in being so honored. In 2001 Maestro Orbelian was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, given to immigrants, or children of immigrants, who have made outstanding contributions to the United States.

Maestro Orbelian has recorded over 60 CDs for the DELOS Label and has additional DVDs and CDs which have been released on Decca, Deutsche Gramophone, Chandos, Philips and Warner labels.

Conductor Constantine Orbelian Grammy® Nominations

picture of album cover - A Te, O Cara: Stephen Costello Sings Bel Canto

A Te, O Cara: Stephen Costello Sings Bel Canto
2019 Grammy® Nomination for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

American tenor Stephen Costello’s meteoric career has taken him to the stages of the world’s top opera houses. In this, his first recording for Delos, he performs a glittering assortment of arias that will appeal strongly to any opera lover, but that will be a particular treat for fans of the bel canto repertoire.

While it mainly showcases classic arias by Gaetano Donizetti, we also hear single selections by Vicenzo Bellini and Giuseppe Verdi. Polished and sensitive orchestral collaboration comes courtesy of Maestro Constantine Orbelian and his vaunted Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra.

Verdi: Rigoletto
2019 Grammy® Award Nominee – Best Opera Recording

Giuseppe Verdi may have written his most glamorous and heroic roles for tenors, but he often assigned his more psychologically complex and conflicted character portrayals to baritones—and Rigoletto is just such a role: perhaps the greatest baritone role ever written. It demands not only a magnificent voice, but also a supremely gifted actor who is able to convey a broad range of emotions, human qualities, and inner subtleties. Enter universally beloved Dmitri Hvorostovsky: a prolific Delos artist and supreme Verdi baritone. The resplendent beauty and incomparable versatility of his voice is matched only by the depth of his interpretive soul.

In this—Dmitri’s first-ever (and long-awaited) complete recording of Rigoletto—he performs the title role magnificently, along with an all-star supporting cast. Choral-orchestral splendor comes courtesy of renowned maestro Constantine Orbelian, his Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra, and the men of the Kaunas State Choir.

album cover photo - Verdi: Rigoletto - Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Album cover photo - Sviridov: Russia Cast Adrift

Sviridov: Russia Cast Adrift
2017 Grammy® Nomination for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

While greatly revered in Russia, the profound and beautiful music of neo-romantic composer Georgy Sviridov (1915–1998) is hardly known beyond his homeland’s borders. His predominantly vocal output reflects his strong affinity for many of the nest Russian poets, who inspired him to compose highly idiomatic music to match the emotional intensity and expressive passion of their verses. Thus did Sergei Yesenin’s vivid and moving poetry spark the creation of the stunning twelve-song cycle Russia Cast Adrift.

Legendary baritone (and cherished Delos artist) Dmitri Hvorostovsky developed especially strong personal and artistic bonds with Sviridov in the composer’s final years, compelling Sviridov to compose specifically for him. Dmitri infuses Sviridov’s songs with the same emotional intensity, musical insight and sheer vocal glory that have distinguished his many earlier Delos releases.

Joining Dmitri in this world premiere recording of the orchestral version are his long-time collaborators Constantine Orbelian, conducting the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, and the Russian folk music ensemble Style of Five.

Virtuoso Rossini Arias
2014 Grammy® Nomination for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

Lawrence Brownlee
Constantine Orbelian, conductor; Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra;

This album of spectacular rarities by Gioacchino Rossini from superstar tenor Lawrence Brownlee – his first-ever aria collection with orchestra – is long overdue. It not only captures the most exciting bel canto tenor voice of our time in its absolute prime, but also offers a choice selection of rarely heard vocal blockbusters – drawn from several of the old master’s most rarely performed operas.

Brownlee’s voice is unique in the bel canto repertoire. While dripping juicy emotion, it boasts uncanny evenness of tone and timbre from top to bottom; no other tenor can deliver this repertoire’s highest notes with his special blend of rapid-fire vibrato and a thrilling, chesty ring. He nails the speediest and most florid runs with jaw-­dropping flexibility, precision and dead-­on pitch. It all adds up to a blazing, “shiver-me-timbers” vocal phenomenon that’s guaranteed to make any opera fan go weak in the knees. The Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra – under the assured baton of Constantine Orbelian – furnishes sympathetic and sonorous support.

Album cover photo -

Conductor Constantine Orbelian awarded the Armenian Order of Friendship

Photo of Constantine Orbelian receiving the Armenian receiving The Order of Friendship

2015 Armenian Order of Friendship

The President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan signed a decree in May 2015 awarding Constantine Orbelian with the Armenian Order of Friendship. The Mass Media and Public Relations Department of the Armenian President’s Office declared that the order was awarded to Constantine Orbelian for his contribution to the strengthening of the Armenian-Russian cultural ties.

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