Indian-American conductor Ankush Kumar Bahl is recognized today by orchestras and audiences alike for his impressive conducting technique, thoughtful interpretations, and engaging podium presence. In concert, he has left The Washington Post “wanting to hear more” and has been praised by The New York Times for his “clear authority and enthusiasm” and ability to “inspire.” His recent and future guest conducting highlights include core classical repertoire performances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, and the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México, as well as return engagements with the Omaha Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. (among others). Bahl also has enjoyed prestigious summer festival engagements with the Copenhagen Philharmonic at Tivoli, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival, the Chautauqua Institute, and at Wolf Trap with the NSO. Most recently, Bahl has been a regular assistant conductor to Music Director Jaap van Zweden at the New York Philharmonic and this season he will make his debut conducting the Philharmonic’s first-ever family benefit concert for children.
Bahl is a proud recipient of four separate Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards between 2011 to 2016 and of the 2009 Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholarship (Leipzig). A protégé of former New York Philharmonic Music Director Kurt Masur, Bahl served as his assistant conductor at the Orchestre National de France, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. In addition to Maestros Masur and van Zweden, Bahl has been fortunate to count Zdenek Macal, Christoph Eschenbach, David Zinman, and Gianandrea Noseda among his mentors.
From 2011-15, Bahl was the Assistant Conductor at the National Symphony Orchestra under Christoph Eschenbach. During his four year tenure, Bahl conducted over 100 performances, including his subscription debut in 2012, his Wolf Trap debut in 2013, the inaugural concert of the Kennedy Center Concert Hall’s Rubenstein Family Organ, numerous run out concerts for the NSO’s In Your Neighborhood program, and his annual Young People’s Concerts which educated over 24,000 students each year. In addition, Bahl was the primary conductor for their Beyond the Score series. In February 2013, Bahl’s ability to step in on short notice was once again called upon when he successfully replaced Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos at a few hours’ notice in a concert with the NSO that featured soloists Kelley O’Conner and Daniil Trifonov. Other soloists Bahl has collaborated with include Lang Lang, Sara Chang, Lara St. John, Karen Gomyo, Nicholas Drauticourt, Bhezod Aburiamov, Benjamin Grosnver, Orion Weiss, Conrad Tao, Charlie Albright, Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster David Kim, and Concertgebouw Concertmaster Vesko Eschkenazy.
American born and of Indian descent, Ankush Kumar Bahl is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area and received a double degree in music and rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley. He has been a conducting fellow at the Aspen Music Festival with David Zinman and completed his master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting at the Manhattan School of Music with Zdenek Macal and George Manahan. In recent years Bahl has been a frequent collaborator with jazz legend Wayne Shorter, leading his quartet in concerts of his orchestral music at both the Kennedy Center and the Detroit Free Jazz Festival.