Kirill Karabits

Chief Conductor: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
General Music Director and Principal Conductor: Deutsches Nationaltheater and Staatskapelle Weimar (as of 2016/17)
Artistic Director: I,CULTURE Orchestra

Credit: Sussie Ahlburg


Since 2008 Kirill Karabits has held the position of Chief Conductor of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Together they have been recording a Prokofiev cycle since 2013, of which Symphony No. 5 was released to critical acclaim in July 2015 shortly before its performance at the BBC Proms.

From September 2016 Karabits assumes the position of General Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Deutsches Nationaltheater and Staatskapelle Weimar and his first production with them will be Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg.

Karabits has worked with many of the leading ensembles of Europe, Asia and North America, including the Cleveland, Philadelphia and San Fransisco Symphony orchestras, Philharmonia Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica del Teatro La Fenice and the BBC Symphony. In spring 2016, he conducted the Russian National Orchestra on their tour of the US and returned to the RNO in August 2016 to conduct two concerts at the Edinburgh International Festival. Summer 2016 also saw his debut with the Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival.

A prolific opera conductor, Karabits has conducted at Glyndebourne Festival Opera (La bohème and Eugene Onegin), English National Opera (Don Giovanni) and the Bolshoi Theatre. He also conducted Der fliegende Holländer at the Wagner Geneva Festival in celebration of the composer’s anniversary, and recently returned to Staatsoper Hamburg to conduct Madama Butterfly. The 2016-17 season will see debuts at both the Deutsche Oper and Oper Stuttgart.

He was named Conductor of the Year at the 2013 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards.


Performance Schedule

Online Performances



  • Concertos for Orchestra More info  

    Label: Naxos

    Release Date: 27 Apr 16

    Concerto for Orchestra, No. 2
    Concerto for Orchestra, No.3 “Holossinya” (Lamentations)
    Concerto for Orchestra, No. 1 “Musikalnoe prinosheniye Kievu” (Musical Gift to Kiev)



    Other performers: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

  • Prokofiev: Symphonies No's. 4, 6 & Movement from Symphony in G More info  

    Label: Onyx

    Release Date: 31 Oct 15

    SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
    Symphony No.4 in C major, op.112 (revised version)
    Symphony No.6 in E flat minor, op.111
    Movement from Symphony in G

    Other performers: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

  • Prokofiev: Symphonies Vol. III More info  

    Label: Onyx

    Release Date: 01 Oct 15

    SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
    Symphony No.5 in B flat, op.100
    Symphony No.4 in C, op.47 (1930)
    Dreams, op.6

    Other performers: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

  • Prokofiev Symphonies 1 & 2 More info  

    Label: Onyx

    Release Date: 01 Oct 14

    SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891- 1953)
    Symphony No.2 in D minor, op.40
    Sinfonietta in A, op.5/48
    Symphony No.1 in D, op.25 ‘Classical’

    Other performers: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

  • Prokofiev Symphonies 3 & 7 More info  

    Label: Onyx

    Release Date: 01 Feb 14

    SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
    Symphony No. 3 in C minor, op. 44
    Symphony No. 7 in C sharp minor, op. 131

    Other performers: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

  • Britten & Shostakovich More info  

    Label: Onyx

    Release Date: 01 Oct 12

    BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976)
    Violin Concerto, op.15

    Violin Concerto No.1 in A minor, op.77

    Other performers: James Ehnes (violin), Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

  • Tchaikovsky & Mussorgsky More info  

    Label: Onyx

    Release Date: 01 Aug 11

    Symphony No.2 in C minor op.17 ‘Little Russian’

    MODEST MUSSORGSKY(1839-1881)
    Night on the Bare Mountain
    Pictures at an Exhibition

    Other performers: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

  • Khachaturian More info  

    Label: Onyx

    Release Date: 01 Oct 10

    ARAM KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978)
    Spartacus (1956) Excerpts
    Gayaneh (1942) Excerpts

    Other performers: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

  • 13 Mar 17 SAINT-SAËNS & RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Concert: 13 March 2017
    Congress Centrum Neue Weimarhalle
    More info  

    with the Weimar Staatskapelle.

    “… der Chef des harmonischen Ganzen, Dirigent Kirill Karabits, bewies für dieses rhapsodisch anmutende Terrain sowie für die Zierlichkeit der orientalischen Klänge ein überaus glückliches Händchen. Die reizende Prinzessin aus dem Morgenland beflügelte den en détail präzise Dirigierenden, der das Werk am Schluss aber doch werkgetreu und im Forte “an einer Klippe unter einem bronzenen Reiter” zerschellen lassen musste.”
    Ursula Mielke, Thüringer Allgemeine, 14 March 2017

  • 15 Feb 17 BARTOK, BARBER & LUTOSLAWSKI Concert: 15 February 2017
    Lighthouse Poole
    More info  

    “Conductor Kirill Karabits once again proved what an adept accompanist he is of concerto soloists, discreetly urging the tempo on whenever the violinist’s flights of fancy threatened to rob the music of momentum.”
    **** Ivan Hewett, John Allison & Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 23 February 2017

  • 25 Jan 17 PROKOFIEV & SHOSTAKOVICH Concert: 25 January 2017
    Lighthouse Poole
    More info  

    with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Valeriy Sokolov.

    “In the eight years that Kirill Karabits has been the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s chief conductor he has shown an ever-widening range of musical sympathies, from the baroque to the present day. But Russian music has always brought the best out of the Ukrainian-born Karabits, and his latest programme was an all-Soviet affair, pairing Prokofiev and Shostakovich.
    Shostakovich’s hour-long Eighth symphony – the massive centrepiece of his wartime symphonic trilogy – loomed over the programme, and Karabits and his orchestra spared none of its unblinking, tragic power.”
    **** Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 26 January 2017

  • 27 Apr 16 Dutilleux/Tchaikovsky Concert: 20 January 2016
    Lighthouse Poole
    More info  

    with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

    “The bold colours of Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony seemed the broadest of brush strokes. The score is no pushover for any orchestra, and it’s a measure of what Karabits has achieved in Bournemouth that he should have programmed it, and then carried it off so convincingly. The fine detail and the depth of tone were consistently impressive – a glassiness in some of the string sonorities was down to the harshness of the Lighthouse acoustic more than anything else – while after a deceptively languid start Karabits’ performance gained steadily in power and presence.”
    **** Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 21 January 2016

  • 07 Mar 16 Prokofiev Concert: 07 March 2016
    Kravis Center West Palm Beach.
    More info  

    with the Russian National Orchestra & Stefan Jackiw.

    “[Karabits] commanded whipcrack, turn on a dime response from the ensemble with seamless changes of meter. There was balletic lightness in the Firebird’s Dance and the pantomime was full of Russian languor. Karabits sharply pointed up the percussion effects in the Infernal Dance and gave the final processional clarion impact. The terrific performance brought the usually sedate Kravis audience to its feet with cheers and bravos.”
    Lawrence Budman, South Florida Classical Review, March 2016

  • 26 Jul 15 Prokofiev Symphonies Nos 4 & 5
    More info  

    with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

    “This first-rate recording of Prokofiev’s most famous and least performed symphonies is a testament to Kirill Karabit’s understanding of the composer.”
    ***** Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph, 26 July 2015

  • 04 May 16 Brahms/Mahler Concert: 04 May 2016
    The Lighthouse, Poole
    More info  

    with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra & Guy Braunstein.

    “[Karabits] has acquired a taste for English symphonic music, and has led the orchestra in some remarkable projects, such as the revival of a long-lost passion by C.P.E Bach. And the audience have taken him to their hearts, turning out in droves even for Karabits’s most daring ideas.
    At this concert, the last of the season, he rewarded them for their loyalty by returning to the dead centre of classical music, with two giant 19th-century masterworks. In the first of them, Brahms’s Violin Concerto, he showed that blend of urgency and yielding tenderness that makes his performances of romantic repertoire so winning.”
    **** Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 05 May 2016

    “The test in this symphony … is how the conductor paces those outer movements, which continually simmer and subside and simmer again before erupting. This was where Karabits particularly impressed.”
    Richard Morrison, The Times, 06 May 2016

  • 20 Aug 16 MUSSORGSKY, MOZART & TCHAIKOVSKY Edinburgh International Festival; 20 August 2016
    Usher Hall, Edinburgh
    More info  

    with the Russian National Orchestra & Paul Lewis.

    “Chances to hear a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Second Symphony, the so-called “Little Russian”, are relatively rare at all, so the opportunity to hear it played by the Russian National Orchestra under the baton of rising Ukrainian star conductor Kirill Karabits, chief conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and one of Nicola Benedetti’s favourite collaborators, was one to savour… All of the players in the large version of the orchestra had a great deal to do, but all that gainful employment was under the very firm control of Karabits, particularly in the rousing finale, which seems to do climactic finale-type things for its entire duration.”
    Keith Bruce, Herald Scotland, 21 August 2016

  • 28 Aug 16 GRIEG & BEETHOVEN CONCERT: 28 August 2016
    Kurhaus Wiesbaden
    More info  

    with the Staatskapelle Weimar & Yulianna Avdeeva.

    “Karabits leitete nun ein burghofspieltypisches, klassisch-romantisches Standardprogramm, in dem er Edvard Griegs zweite „Peer-Gynt“-Suite und dessen einziges Klavierkonzert Ludwig van Beethovens dritter Sinfonie, der „Eroica“, gegenüberstellte. Unbedingt spannend zu erleben war, wie er das tat: Griegs zweite Suite aus der Schauspielmusik zu Henrik Ibsens Drama stand hier über aller Tendenz zur anschmiegsamen Häppchenklassik, war vielmehr als Seelenmusik des Anti-Helden plastisch bis drastisch durchgestaltet. Der „Arabische Tanz“ ein perkussiv irrlichterndes Szenario, „Solvejgs Lied“ eine innig-sehnige Klage von tiefer Einsamkeit.”
    Axel Zibulski, Wiesbadener Kurier, 30 August 2016

  • 05 Nov 16 WAGNER Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg: 05 November 2016
    Grosses Haus Weimar
    More info  

    with the DNT Weimar.

    “Einem Dirigenten verlangt gerade dieses Finale äußerste Umsicht ab, da Bühne, Graben und Saal samt Fernorchester punktgenau koordiniert werden müssen. Für einen Karabits, der an diesem Abend das erste Mal im Weimarer Theater arbeitete, war das überhaupt kein Problem.
    Dieser junge Ukrainer könnte sich – man vermeide vorschnellen Überschwang! – als wahrhafter Glücksgriff erweisen. Dank tiefen Musikverstands, schlagtechnischer Präzision und einer durchaus sympathisch-charismatischen Führungskraft besitzt er das Zeug dazu, weit über hiesige Provinzen hinaus Ruhm zu erwerben. Wie stringent sinfonisch seine Wagner-Interpretation konzipiert ist! Wie sinnlich er gleich im ersten Vorspiel satte Mischklänge anbietet und dann mit der vorzüglich aufgelegten Staatskapelle im Graben das solide musikalische Fundament fürs Bühnengeschehen bereitet! Wie farbmächtig, motivreich, durchhörbar er das Wagnersche Klanggespinst präsentiert!
    Hörbar hat dieser Kerl Spaß an der eisern durchgehaltenen Prügelfuge, und das Vorspiel zum dritten Akt mit seiner tief elegischen Dünung formt er zu dem berührendsten Moment an diesem langen, an Eindrücken so reichen Abend. Aber kein Pathos, keine Sentimentalitäten oder billigen Effekte. Stets hält Karabits Kontakt zu den Chören, und selbstverständlich verlangt er den Sängersolisten in­ter­nationale Standards ab… Gut möglich, dass wir hier ei­nen Rising Star erleben.”
    Wolfgang Hirsch, Thüringer Allgemeine, 7 November 2016

  • 28 Nov 16 BORODIN, STRAUSS & RACHMANINOV Concert: 28 November 2016
    Staatskapelle Weimar/Alena Baeva, Congress Centrum Neue Weimarhalle
    More info  

    with the Staatskapelle Weimar & Alena Baeva.

    “Wunderbar aber ist, wenn Orchester und Dirigent strukturelle Defizite in freudvolle Wahrnehmung verwandeln. Unter ihrem neuen Chefdirigenten Kirill Karabits ging die Weimarer Staatskapelle wahrlich in die vom Komponisten geforderten Vollen. Mit dem sprichwörtlich langen Atem sowie mit sattem Streichersound und herrlichen Solostimmen wurde das Werk geadelt.”
    Ursula Mielke, Thüringer Allgemeine Weimar, 29 November 2016

  • 26 Jan 17 SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 8: 25 January 2017
    Poole Lighthouse
    More info  

    with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

    “… Karabits’s sense of the first movement’s epic architecture proved faultless, and the grinding central climax, as well as the bereft cor anglais solo that follows it, were beautifully engineered. In all three of the central movements too there was the sense that something was being held back – the passacaglia, fourth in the sequence, was icily controlled – and even the hints of warmth and optimism that tinge the opening of the finale proved fleeting, and the last few pages seemed more than usually enigmatic and provisional.”
    **** Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 26 January 2017

  • 05 Feb 17 Concert: 04 February 2017
    Philharmonie am Gasteig
    More info  

    with the Münchner Philharmoniker & Augustin Hadelich.

    “Umso beachtlicher, wie absolut professionell der gebürtige Ukrainer es mit den Münchner Philharmonikern realisiert. Besonders in Édouard Lalos „Symphonie espagnole“ geht es darum, dem Orchester zu seinem eigenen Recht zu verhelfen, ohne den Solisten einzuschränken. Nicht, dass sich Augustin Hadelich nicht selbst behaupten könnte. Doch er agiert auch in einem solchen blendenden Virtuosenstück mit einer Diskretion und einer anmutigen Ernsthaftigkeit, die unmittelbar für ihn einnimmt, ihn aber auch etwas schutzbedürftig erscheinen lässt …
    Mit überlegen klaren Gesten spannt Karabits hingegen den Horizont der beiden Suiten aus Maurice Ravels Ballett „Daphnis & Chloé“ auf zwischen üppiger, doch differenziert vorgestellter Breitwandigkeit und rhythmischer Prägnanz in den Tanzepisoden; die drei philharmonischen Flöten treten auf wie eine einzige – Chapeau! Den französischen Zungenschlag dieses Programms hätten die Münchner Philharmoniker nicht besser treffen können als unter dem polyglotten Karabits.”
    ***** Michael Bastian Weiß, Abendzeitung Muenchen, 5 February 2017