Christopher Ocasek

The Operosa Forum is dedicated to promoting dynamic classical music and opera talent

Christopher Ocasek


American conductor Christopher Ocasek is recognized for his rising international career, collaborating with opera companies and orchestras throughout Europe, the United States, and Asia. Acclaimed as a young conductor with an astounding gift for musical detail and a clear passion on the podium, Mr. Ocasek is quickly becoming known for his ability to elicit the very best from orchestras and singers alike.

In the 2017/18 season, Ocasek makes debuts with the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing with Placido Domingo in performances of Thaïs, Dubai Opera with Carmen, Yerevan State Opera and Ballet Theatre with performances of Manon for French and Armenian dignitaries as part of the Organization of La Francophonie Summit, Teatro Real in Madrid with Thaïs, the Miami Music Festival with Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Merola Opera Program at the San Francisco Opera with a triple bill including Savitri, La serva padrona, and Walton’s The Bear in addition to productions as cover conductor at both the Washington National Opera and the San Francisco Opera. This season’s collaborations have included such artists as Placido Domingo, Ermonela Jaho, Arturo Chacón-Cruz, Michael Fabiano, Ellie Dehn, Karine Babajanyan, Quinn Kelsey, Leah Crocetto, Eric Owens, John Caird, Tim Albery, and Vincent Boussard, among others.

Mr. Ocasek gains considerable attention for his understanding of and insistence on highlighting strengths in voices and his intensely personal care of great orchestral playing. He served for four years on conducting staff of the San Francisco Opera and Washington National Opera where he collaborated with some of the world’s finest voices, five years as music director of The American Repertory Chamber Orchestra (ARCO) in Berlin, and as music director of both Chamber Ensemble Wisconsin and the Mozart and More Orchestra, which he took on at the early age of 21.

In 2014, his work with singers was noticed by Marilyn Horne, who invited Mr. Ocasek to be part of her 80th birthday celebration with Carmen at the Music Academy of the West. Ocasek returned in 2015 where he made principal conducting debuts in both a concert version of Rossini’s La Cenerentola and in opera scenes as part of Operafest. In 2017 Mr. Ocasek was invited by San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program to conduct a triple bill in collaboration with stage director Peter Kazaras. Ocasek has also built a strong relationship with the University of California Los Angeles and the Juilliard School, joining the orchestra program as well as the Vocal Arts division for productions. His knowledge of working with emerging singers has earned him invitations with some of the United States’ top programs for young artists.

Mr. Ocasek has received numerous awards in conducting and education and has been praised by renowned critics such as Greg Sandow for his authority in leading ensembles. He serves on various competition panels and gives masterclasses throughout the year. His early training was with conductors David E. Becker and Alexander Jiménez, pianist Martha Fischer, baritone Paul Rowe, and opera conductor and former coach/pianist of Marilyn Horne, Frederica von Stade, Judith Blegen, and Anna Moffo—Douglas Fisher.

Christopher Ocasek currently resides in Vienna, Austria.