Meet the Music Director: Christian Capocaccia

Recognized as an “energetic” performer by The New York Times, Italian conductor Christian Capocaccia has distinguished himself as an artist of keen insight and musicianship. His ease on the podium and comfortable coaching style with musicians and singers alike have made him a favourite with orchestras, opera companies and vocalists.

In the 16/17 season, Mr. Capocaccia continues in his role as Music Director of the Stamford Young Artists Philharmonic for the fifth year. In the Fall he made his company debut with the Pittsburgh Opera, conducting La Traviata. In February he returns to Syracuse Opera to lead performances of Rigoletto.

In the 15/16 season, Mr. Capocaccia took the Stamford Young Artists Philharmonic ensemble to New York City for their Carnegie Hall debut. For the Spring semester of 2016, he served as adjunct professor and visiting conductor with Montclair State University’s opera department. In the Fall of 2015 he returned to the Manhattan School of Music to lead the Philharmonia Orchesetra in a symphonic concert, and in February 2016 made his debut with Syracuse Opera in La Boheme. His performances with the Wallingford Symphony Orchestra in March marked his debut with that ensemble.

Mr. Capocaccia previously held positions as assistant conductor of the Dallas Opera, resident conductor of the Fischer Center at Bard College, assistant conductor of the IU New Music Ensemble, and assistant professor of conducting at the State University of New York College at Fredonia. He has regularly conducted AsLiCo, and has recently conducted operas with the Manhattan School of Music, and the Welsh National Opera. He is a former Aspen Music Festival Conducting Fellow, where he studied with David Zinman and Murry Sidlin.

Born in Rome, he attended the Santa Cecilia Music Conservatory studying under Paolo Ciociola and completed his studies with world-renowned violinist Nina Beilina in New York. Subsequently he studied composition under Boris Porena and Luciano Pelosi, and conducting with Piero Bellugi and Donato Renzetti. A graduate of Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington under David Effron he has participated in Master classes with Herbert Blomstedt, Gustav Meier and Leonard Slatkin.

As a guest conductor he has appeared both in the United States and Europe leading ensembles such as the Orchestra di Roma e del Lazio, Moscow Ballet Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica Città di Grosseto, Orchestra Città Aperta, International Chamber Ensemble, Orchestra da Camera delle Marche and Orchestra Sinfonica di Pesaro among others.

Gregory Robbins, Conductor of the Young People’s Symphony

Combining a unique background of formal conservatory training and digital media entrepreneurship, American conductor Gregory Robbins is the quintessential 21st Century artist. He is the founder and Music Director of the Delphi Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble that utilizes live streaming and digital media to reach a global audience by eliminating geographical barriers to the access of classical music. In 2014 he was appointed Associate conductor of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony. Robbins was educated at Manhattan School of Music and Yale School of Music, where he studied conducting, piano, and double bass. While at Yale, Robbins was part of New Haven’s lively contemporary music community, and made his debut with the Yale Philharmonia conducting at a concert honoring Steve Reich, as a part of the “New Music New Haven” concert series. A strong advocate for community service, Robbins is committed to providing education and inspiration for the next generation of musicians, especially those in underprivileged areas. To that end he serves as director of educational outreach at the Geneva Music Festival, and works to create programs that engage music students in New Haven, CT.

Barbara DiFranco, Conductor of the Young String Ensemble

Barbara DiFranco is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University. She has done graduate work in music at Bridgeport Uniiversity. Ms. DiFranco, violinist, has performed with the Ridgefield Symphonette and Bridgeport Civic Orchestra. An alumna of the Young Artist Philharmonic, she conducted the Young String Ensemble from 1980-1986. In 1986, she was nominated for the American Symphony Orchestra League’s Helen M. Thompson Award. She has taught strings and orchestra in the Fairfield and Norwalk CT school systems for over forty years. In 2015, she was a finalist for the Connecticut Association of Schools Exemplary Educator Award which recognizes educators who have had a significant impact on their students and the music programs of district schools.