BiographyStudied classical languages at the literature grammar school and music at the Academy of Arts in Bern – flute (Heidi Indermühle, conducting (Ewald Körner), piano (Agathe Rytz-Jaggi) and music theory (Peter Streiff and Arthur Furer). He rounded off his education with master classes in Zurich, Basel, Paris and Siena led by the conductors Ralf Weikert, Werner-Andreas Albert and Horst Stein, studied chamber music and attended the European Mozart Academy (his main teacher being the flautist Aurele Nicolet).
He gained his first conducting experience with the chamber orchestras Kammerorchester Neufeld Bern and Burgdorfer Kammerorchester. Between 1996 and 2006 he worked as a lecturer and conductor at the Kunstakademie in Bern, also devoting to contemporary music creation.
At the present time he is artistic director of the Murten Classics festival and music director of Zentrum Paul Klee Bern. Since being appointed music director of the Prague Philharmonia (succeeding Jiří Bělohlávek), which he conducted until 2008 and with which he is still closely associated as a permanent guest conductor, he has regularly appeared in major concert halls throughout Europe and at prestigious international festivals. He has collaborated with such soloists as Jana Boušková, Brigitte Engerer, Konstantin Lifschitz, Sergei Katchatryan, Isabelle van Keulen, Magdalena Kožená, Natalia Gutman, Jiří Bárta, Bruno Ganz, Marianne Pousseur, Rachel Harnisch, Patricia Kopachinskaya and Antoine Tamestit, and conducted leading European orchestras.
In October 2007 he debuted at Milan’s La Scala. He was subsequently invited to work with Orchestre National de Montpellier, the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Luzerner Symphonieorchester, Orchestre National d’Ile de France, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and many others. Kaspar Zehnder launched the 2009/10 season with a concert with Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at Stade de France in Paris. His schedule further includes an appearance in Sibiu, Romania, (Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique) and concerts with the Prague Symphony Orchestra (Berg’s Violin Concerto, performed by the Moldavian violinist Patricia Kopachinskaya). At the end of this year, Kaspar Zehnder will conduct Mahler concertos with the diva Magdalena Kožená at the National Theatre in Prague. At the beginning of 2010 he is scheduled to appear at the National Theatre in Brno, conducting Strauss’s Die Fledermaus (stage direction: Ondřej Havelka). At the end of January he will appear with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra and the harpist Jana Boušková, who will perform Alberto Ginastera’s Harp Concerto. He will conduct Orchestra National de Montpellier (works by Luciano Berio) and the Lithuanian National Orchestra with the cellist Jiří Bárta (Bohuslav Martinů compositions). In April he will tour Spain with the English Chamber Orchestra and subsequently give concerts with the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and the horn player Radek Baborák, performing Reinhold Gliere’s Horn Concerto. Kaspar Zehnder will conclude the season in Krakow with Sinfonietta Cracovia and at the Janáček May international music festival in Ostrava.