“He goes beyond just music; he strives to create an atmosphere and evoke feelings in the listener.” – Opernnetz, Oper Bonn
Garrett Keast has received worldwide attention for his ability to create galvanizing and soul-stirring experiences both in concert halls and opera houses. Praised for “leaving audiences hungry for more” (Basler Zeitung), the Berlin-based conductor is recognized for his vast repertoire experience. He is consistently admired for the enthusiasm and synergy he builds with musicians and audiences alike, and he is considered by many to be an inspiring leader from the podium.
Keast launched his career in New York City, quickly followed by international demand for his presence as a guest conductor. He regularly appears at venues including the Opéra National de Paris, Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Munich’s Gasteig, the Staatsoper Hamburg, and Germany’s largest concert house, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden. Described as drawing out “refined and concentrated playing” with “assured sensitivity” (Financial Times), Keast has conducted successful performances with orchestras such as the Tonkünstler Orchester Vienna, MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Belgian National Orchestra, as well as conducting performances at Hamburg’s renowned Elbphilharmonie for its inaugural season.
Deeply committed to bringing new works to life, in the 2020/21 season, Keast makes a return to the podium of the Elbphilharmonie with the TONALi Orchestra to lead the world premiere of BeEnigma, a work commissioned to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th-anniversary. The celebrations with the TONALi orchestra continue on tour with concerts in Berlin, Cologne, Lucerne and Vienna. Further engagements include a Euroarts recording of Peter and the Wolf with the Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin, debut performances at the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, Hänsel und Gretel with the Berlin Opera Festival, and a re-engagement at the Finnish National Opera & Ballet for the world premiere of Jekyll & Hyde featuring 20th-century masterworks by Polish composers Penderecki, Kilar, and Gorecki. With the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra, he is invited to make his debut with two subscription weeks, firstly celebrating the optimism found in Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony, followed by an American-music inspired program featuring works by Barber, Copland and Stravinsky. In the US, Keast returns to the San Antonio Symphony with a program that includes Poulenc’s Gloria and as part of the anticipated 2021 Stravinsky anniversary, he will conduct the composer’s famed Firebird.
With distinct performances leading over sixty symphony orchestras and more than twenty opera companies across four continents, the conductor’s experience on the podium showcases extraordinary range. His symphonic repertoire extends from Haydn and Brahms to Adams, Britten and Widmann. In the opera house, Keast has led masterworks of American composers such as Bernstein and Glass to contemporary and iconic pieces by Unsuk Chin, Puccini, R. Strauss and Wagner.
Always eager to serve as a cultural bridge between America and Europe, Keast is a prominent interpreter of repertoire from his homeland and continuously develops new exciting programming each year. In recent seasons this American focus has brought him projects with the Tonkünstler Orchester Vienna, Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg, Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, and with the Hamburg Ballet at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden. Garrett Keast is the Artistic Director and Founder of the Berlin Academy of American Music, a newly created organization composed of top Berlin musicians who share an enthusiasm for the discovery and performance of American music. In the 2020/21 season, they presented performances of Bernstein’s rarely heard Songfest and produced an Onyx Classics recording featuring masterworks of Stravinsky, Copland, Urquhart, Takemitsu and Dorman. Guest soloists in the album are flautist Stathis Karapanos, soprano Chen Reiss and violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley, American violinist and Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic.
Throughout his career, Garrett Keast has been invited to conduct important international orchestras including the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, SWR Symphonie Orchester Stuttgart, Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg, Bamberger Symphoniker, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Operá National de Lorraine à Nancy (New Year’s Concerts), Atlanta Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Royal Danish Orchestra, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, Odense Symphony Orchestra (Carl Nielsen Violin Competition), and the Prague Philharmonia.
Garrett Keast has conducted opera and ballet productions such as Faust and Swan Lake with the Opéra National de Paris, Die Zauberflöte with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Sylvia and Jekyll & Hyde with the Finnish National Opera & Ballet, La Bohème at the Aspen Music Festival, Der Fliegender Holländer at Theater Erfut, Rigoletto at Theater Bremen and Bluthaus at Oper Bonn. At the Staatsoper Hamburg, Keast has enjoyed a long relationship with John Neumeier’s Hamburg Ballet where he has led over one hundred performances of nine productions. Additionally, he has conducted performances at the Royal Danish Ballet, the Staatsoper Hannover, Opera San Antonio, New Orleans Opera, Virginia Opera, as well as a highly praised Così fan tutte at the Fort Worth Opera Festival.
Garrett Keast was mentored by Christoph Eschenbach at the Houston Symphony and studied at the Aspen and Tanglewood Music Festivals. He was awarded the Bruno Walter Career Development Grant during his tenure as Associate Conductor of the New York City Opera. Keast has held positions as Assistant Conductor at the Opéra National de Paris, the Wiener Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and has continuously accompanied Maestro Eschenbach as his musical assistant throughout international orchestra tours and opera productions.