Lithuanian conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla describes her profession as being “a combination of music and communication with musicians". One of the defining qualities of her work is the ability to project strong and clear musical ideas for performers and audiences alike. Gražinytė-Tyla’s dynamic artistry, powered by her unshakeable focus and expressive gestures, is complemented by her imaginative programming and readiness to take risks.
Born in Vilnius into a family of musicians, her father, a choral conductor, and her mother, a pianist, her instinctive desire to perform was encouraged, her precocious talent being nurtured and developed with childhood music lessons. She studied choral conducting and visual arts at the prestigious National M.K. Čiurlionis School of Art in Vilnius, giving her debut concert with the choir at the age of 16.
At the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Gražinytė-Tyla embraced the prospect of conducting orchestras and progressed to study at the Bologna Conservatory, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Music Conservatory in Leipzig, and Zurich University of the Arts and was discovered by the German Conducting Forum in 2009. Having been appointed Second Kapellmeister at the Theater Heidelberg in 2011, she then made her international breakthrough in 2012 when she won the prestigious Salzburg Young Conductors Award and went on to give her Salzburg Festival debut with the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester. The following year she was appointed First Kapellmeister at Bern Opera, and from 2015 to 2017 was Music Director of the Salzburg Landestheater. A Gustavo Dudamel Fellow of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the 2012–13 season, she subsequently served as the orchestra’s Assistant Conductor for two seasons and as its Associate Conductor in 2016–17.
Gražinytė-Tyla’s exceptional talent was instantly recognised by the musicians of the CBSO at their first concert together. She was immediately invited to return and was offered the post of music director, in succession to Simon Rattle, Sakari Oramo, and Andris Nelsons. She launched her tenure in 2016 with innovative programming and intense, often revelatory performances that have become the hallmarks of her CBSO seasons, in repertoire spanning everything from the music of Haydn and Mozart and symphonic scores by Debussy, Mahler, and Shostakovich to new works by, among others, Hans Abrahamsen, Jörg Widmann, and Raminta Šerkšnytė.
Recent highlights have included debut performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia; her first appearance at New York’s Carnegie Hall, with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; Weinberg’s Violin Concerto in Los Angeles with Gidon Kremer; a compelling Debussy festival with the CBSO; her debut with the NDR Elbphilharmonie; a 12 concert tour to Germany, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland with the CBSO; the UK premieres of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis's symphonic poem The Sea and Weinberg's ballet The Golden Key; the world premiere of a new work by Unsuk Chin for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra; and a performance of Tippett's A Child of Our Time with the Orchestre National de France.