Erik Ochsner, conductor

Erik Ochsner’s versatility as a conductor has stretched across a broad range of repertoire: from conducting as few as five performers in contemporary and modern works, to leading 300 performers in “live to projection” concerts of films like Back to the Future, Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Frozen, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Pixar in Concert, Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. This format projects a complete film over a symphony orchestra. While the sound effects and dialogue are heard as usual, the complete soundtrack is performed live, synchronized to the film.

Equally comfortable on the concert stage or leading opera, oratorio and multi-media performances, he has appeared with orchestras and ensembles in Adelaide, Albuquerque, Beijing, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kaohsiung, Kitchener-Waterloo, Krakow, Leipzig, Melbourne, New York, México City, Oregon, Ottawa, Portland, Reykjavik, Richmond, Rochester, Round Top Festival Institute (Texas), St. Louis, Shanghai, Stockholm, Tampere, Wellington and Wolf Trap, Virginia.

In 2016 Mr. Ochsner was invited for a return engagement with the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa) to conduct a new bi-lingual narrated show called The Music of Star Wars which prominently features the music of John Williams, as well as musical selections from two video games, Kinect and Battlefront, composed by Gordy Haab and Kyle Newmaster.

Mr. Ochsner led his SONOS Chamber Orchestra in the 2016-17 Opera America New Works Showcase, which features selections from five new operas by composers Michele DiBucci, Randall Eng, Julian Grant, Wang Jie and Rene Orth. Mr. Ochsner’s first CD came out in August 2016: An Orchestral Journey (Naxos) by composer Brian Grundstrom. This project included the first public reading of his new opera For Whom the Bell Tolls.

As Music Director and founder of the SONOS Chamber Orchestra, he leads concerts in not often heard repertoire, frequently featuring Scandinavian composers. In 2015, he commissioned “Concerto for 2 Pianos and Chamber Orchestra” by Swedish composer Fredrik Sixten. Mr. Ochsner has conducted SONOS in four world premiere commissions, two world premieres and 13 U.S. premieres, including Requiems by Fredrik Sixten and Karl Jenkins. Learn more at

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Clowes Memorial Hall (Indianapolis), Mr. Ochsner conducted Pixar in Concert with the ISO and appeared in a PBS television documentary The Show Goes On. Mr. Ochsner is Principal Guest Conductor of Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, and was the former Artistic Director of the Dranoff International Two Piano Foundation in Miami, Florida.

Previously, Mr. Ochsner served as Assistant Conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra; he toured worldwide as rehearsal conductor for composer/conductor Tan Dun – which led him to be Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony with Yo-Yo Ma; he was Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master for the Shanghai workshop Metropolitan Opera commissioned The First Emperor, in addition to the opera Tea: A Mirror of Soul which is available on Deutsche Grammophon DVD.

Erik Ochsner is of American and Finnish descent and a graduate of Park Tudor School and Dartmouth College. He attended the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors where he studied under Charles Bruck. He studied with the great Baroque specialist Helmut Rilling and has been a student and assistant of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director, Robert Spano. He currently serves on the Board of the United Palace of Cultural Arts and resides in New York City where his hobbies include computers, traveling, wine and collecting requiem recordings.