David Afkham is rapidly establishing a reputation as one of the most sought after conductors to emerge from Germany in recent years. His 11/12 season saw highly successful debuts projects with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, DSO-Berlin, Cleveland Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony, Gulbenkian Orchestra Lisbon, Wiener Symphoniker, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, all leading to immediate re-invitations. He also stepped in at short notice for an indisposed Ingo Metzmacher to lead the Gustav Mahler Jungendorchester in its Easter 2012 European tour. The 12-concert tour, which featured two ambitious programmes including Vorspiel and Liebestod from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, Scriabin's Poeme de l'Extase, extracts from Wagner's Götterdämmerung, Zimmermann's Photoptosis and Shostakovich's Symphony No.7, attracted unanimous critical acclaim.
Highlights for the season 12/13 and beyond include debuts with the Munich Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra London, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony, Santa Cecilia Orchestra, Filarmonica della Scala, as well as the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Mostly Mozart New York. Return engagements include the Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, DSO-Berlin, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker (Musikverein series), Orchestre National de France, Gothenburg Symphony, Spanish National Orchestra, and a tour with the Gustav Mahler Jungendorchester.
David Afkham concluded a 3-year tenure as Assistant Conductor with the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester in Summer 2012. In August 2010, he became the first recipient of the “Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award”. He was also the winner of the 2008 Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in London, resulting in him becoming the Assistant Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra for two years.
Born 1983 in Freiburg, Germany, David Afkham received his first piano and violin lessons at the age of six. At 15, he entered his native city’s University of Music to pursue studies in piano, music theory and conducting. He won first prize in the solo-piano category of the 2002 “Jugend Musiziert“ German National Piano Competition. He then completed his conducting studies at the Liszt School of Music in Weimar. David Afkham was the first recipient of the "Bernard Haitink Fund for Young Talent", was a conducting fellow of the "Richard Wagner Association" Bayreuth and a member of the "Conductor's Forum" of the German Music Council. He continues to work on a regular basis with his mentor Bernard Haitink, whom he has assisted on a number of projects including major cycles with the Chicago Symphony, Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra.