Federico Cortese

Senior Lecturer on Music, Conductor of the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra
Music Building G-5

Federico Cortese has served as Music Director of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras since 1999 and in the same capacity for the New England String Ensemble since 2005. He has conducted operatic and symphonic engagements throughout the United States, Australia, Asia and Europe. From 1998–2002 he served as Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa. Cortese’s tenure with the BSO as Assistant Conductor was the longest of anyone who has served in that capacity.

Cortese has conducted several prominent symphony orchestras, including Atlanta, Dallas, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, and Oslo Philharmonic. Opera engagements have included, among others, Maggio Musicale in Florence, the Spoleto Festival in Italy and, in the United States, the Boston Lyric Opera, the St. Louis Opera, the Finnish National Opera and the Washington Opera.

Cortese has been music coordinator and associate conductor of the Spoleto Festival in Italy. He also served as Assistant Conductor to Robert Spano at the Brooklyn Philharmonic and to Daniele Gatti at the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Cortese studied composition and conducting at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome and subsequently studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna. In addition, he has been a conducting fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. Cortese studied literature and humanities and holds a law degree from La Sapienza University in Rome.