Distinguished as “Chicagoan of the Year in Classical Music” by the Chicago Tribune, “Conductor of the Year in Illinois” and winner of the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, Vladimir Kulenovic is currently in his 6th season as the Music Director of the Lake Forest Symphony in the Chicago Metropolitan area.
Achieving unprecedented growth in LFS’s 60-year history, Kulenovic has sustainably increased the orchestra’s artistic excellence, season offerings, audience base, budget, and profile. Under his leadership, LFS released its first-ever commercial recordings on Cedille Records, earning a GRAMMY nomination in 2018. In the 2019/20 season, Kulenovic is launching his ground-breaking community-engagement initiative “JOY! The Voice of Unity” that will form and inaugurate the first-ever LFS Chorus. This landmark initiative focused on Beethoven’s 250th Anniversary includes a production of a feature documentary film, produced by 6-time EMMY Award winning Bitter Jester Productions.
Following the success of his Chicago Symphony debut, his U.S. guest conducting engagements include symphonies of Alabama, Arkansas, Columbus, Florida, Grand Rapids, Houston, Illinois, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Knoxville, Omaha, San Francisco, South Bend, Stamford, Utah, Winston-Salem, philharmonic orchestras of Naples, Oklahoma City and Savannah, the Louisville Orchestra, as well as Aspen, Cabrillo and Round Top music festivals.
Worldwide, his engagements include Basque National Orchestra of Spain, Beethoven-Orchester Bonn, Bilkent Symphony, Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss, Leipziger Symphonieorchester, Malaysia Philharmonic, Minas Gerais Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco, Orquesta Sinfonica de Espana, Orquesta Sinfonica Camera Musicae, Orquesta Classica de Santa Cecilia, Romanian State Philharmonic, Slovenia Philharmonic, Slovenian RTV Symphony, Taipei Symphony, Zagreb Philharmonic, Macedonian Philharmonic, Macedonian Opera and Ballet, as well as Kuhmo, Salzburg Mozarteum, and Verbier music festivals.
Kulenovic’s growing discography includes releases of “Liquid Melancholy” and “Sisters in Song” (2017/18, Cedille Records), “Dreams of a Sleeping World” (2019, Tōrō Records), the upcoming release of Beethoven and Bruch Concertos with violinist Stefan Milenkovich and Slovenia RTV Symphony, and a new album of orchestral works of Lake Forest Symphony’s Composer-in-Residence James Stephenson on Cedille Records scheduled for 2019/20.
Former positions include Associate Conductor of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, Assistant Conductor of the Chicago Lyric Opera, Principal Conductor of the Kyoto International Festival and Resident Conductor of the Belgrade Philharmonic. Kulenovic also served as the cover conductor with the Boston Symphony, New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and Baltimore Symphony, assisting many illustrious conductors including Bernard Haitink, Zubin Mehta, Alan Gilbert, Vladimir Jurowski, Sir Andrew Davis and Marin Alsop. In 2012 he was awarded the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Fellowship at the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, where he assisted his long-time mentor, the late maestro Kurt Masur.
Vladimir Kulenovic earned graduate diplomas in conducting from both The Juilliard School and the Peabody Institute where his teachers were James DePreist and Gustav Meier. He completed his bachelor’s degree in piano and a master’s degree in conducting from the Boston Conservatory, summa cum laude. He is the most awarded young conductor by the Solti Foundation U.S having received awards in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. He received the Bruno Walter Memorial Award, the Charles Schiff Prize for Excellence at Juilliard and the 2nd Grand Prix at the Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Paris. Kulenovic was one of six top U.S. young conductors chosen by the League of American Orchestras for the bi-annual 2013 Bruno Walter National Conducting Preview with the Jacksonville Symphony.