Kevin John Edusei

Kevin John Edusei


• Born 1976


The German conductor Kevin John Edusei is notable for his African background and has performed with Britain's ethnic Chineke! Orchestra. Yet his rapidly growing career has developed largely without connection to Africa and African music. Edusei was born August 5, 1976, in Bielefeld, in West Germany's heavily industrialized North Rhine-Westphalia region. His father was a doctor from Ghana, his mother a German pastor and historian, and among his maternal ancestors was opera singer Antonie Wingels. Edusei studied piano and percussion in his youth and then added sound engineering to the mix at the Berlin University of the Arts, switching to conducting while he was there. He moved on for further studies at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, the Netherlands, working with Ed Spanjaard and Jac van Steen, and then held a scholarship to study with David Zinman at the Aspen Music Festival. His other short-term teachers have included Kurt Masur, Pierre Boulez (for whom he conducted Stockhausen's difficult Gruppen at the Lucerne Festival), and Péter Eötvös. Edusei worked as a conductor primarily in German theater, at Theater Bielefeld, Theater Augsburg, and the Deutsches Nationaltheater Weimar for several years. A first prize at the Dmitri Mitropoulos Competition in Athens attracted bookings with major orchestras including the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg, and, in 2017, the Colorado Symphony in the U.S. He led the Chineke! Orchestra at the BBC Proms that year as well, and with that group he recorded the Dvorak Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 ("From the New World"), and Sibelius' Finlandia, Op. 26. Edusei was named chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic in 2013, and in 2016, his contract was extended through 2022. He made his recording debut with that group with a pair of Schubert symphonies, including the "Unfinished," on the Solo Musica label; the album was released in 2018.