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France’s Orchestre National de Lyon Extends Music Director’s Contract

Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider will resume his role through to the orchestra’s 2026/27 concert season


In 2018, Danish conductor and violinist Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider was appointed music director of the Orchestre National de Lyon (ONL) for an initial four seasons starting from September 2020. His contract has now been renewed for an additional three years until the 2026/27 season.

Szeps-Znaider, 47, confirmed his decision to continue in the music director role after two seasons. Supported by many of the orchestra members, his contract renewal will see him perform in a variety of projects for the next few years of his now seven-year tenure. 

Szeps-Znaider is a regular guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also a close collaborator of the London Symphony Orchestra, with which he has worked extensively as a solo violinist, having recently led and recorded an acclaimed album of Mozart’s violin concertos with them.

Over the last two years, he has worked to raise ONL as a major international orchestra through its projects and association with his own global connections. 

“I have big plans for the orchestra and I think we’re heading in the right direction, but it takes time for an ensemble and its music director to find their own voice,” Szeps-Znaider said. “I know we’ll get there with steady work and commitment on both my part and that of the musicians.” 

“I’m thrilled to see Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider renewed at the head of the Orchestre national de Lyon,” added ONL’s concertmaster, Giovanni Radivo. “It will enable us to further strengthen our artistic and human bond and together develop very ambitious musical projects. I hope the journey will continue and that he’ll lead us as far as possible!” 

“The City of Lyon is very pleased…At the head of the orchestra’s 104 permanent musicians, [Nikolaj] will be able to continue connecting with audiences in Lyon and channel his talent into the Orchestre national de Lyon’s missions of excellence and openness,” added Nathalie Perrin-Gilbert, Lyon’s Deputy Mayor in charge of Culture.

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