Hailed by the New York Times as an “energetic” conductor who leads with “authority and enthusiasm,” Ankush Kumar Bahl is recognized today as a conductor with unassailable technique, thoughtful interpretations, and affable podium presence. Bahl has made, in recent years, appearances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchestre National de France, the National Opera Orchestre de Nancy, the Copenhagen Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the Indianapolis Symphony; among others in the U.S. and Europe. During the 2016-2017 season, Bahl will expand his international presence with debuts in Canada, Mexico and South America. Bahl appeared once again with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony during the summer of 2016 and made his debut with an all Mendelssohn program at the Chautauqua Institute. Bahl is a proud recipient of the 2013 and 2015 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards as well as the 2009 Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholarship.
Discovered in 2009 by New York Philharmonic Music Director Emeritus, Kurt Masur, Bahl soon became Masur’s most trusted protégé. Masur’s mentorship continued after Bahl was hired to be an assistant conductor at the Orchestre National de France, the Royal Concertgebouw, and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. It was in this capacity that Bahl began a relationship with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and was called upon to step in for Maestro Masur for two performances of Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony.
In 2011, Bahl began a two year appointment with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. under the mentorship of Christoph Eschenbach. As a result of his work with the orchestra and his contributions to the D.C. community, Bahl was renewed in 2013 for an additional two seasons. During his time with the NSO, Bahl conducted over 100 performances including his NSO debut in 2011, his subscription concert debut in 2012, his Wolf Trap debut in 2013, the inaugural concert of the Rubenstein Family Organ for the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall, numerous run out concerts for the NSO’s In Your Neighborhood program, and his annual Young People’s Concerts which educated over 24,000 students each year. In addition, Bahl was the primary conductor for the NSO’s Beyond the Score series and in February 2013, he stepped in on hours notice for an ailing Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos in a performance that included Respighi’s Pines of Rome and featured mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor and pianist Daniil Trifonov.
American born, of Indian descent, Bahl is native of the San Francisco Bay Area and received a double degree in music and rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley. He has been a conducting fellow at the Aspen Music Festival with David Zinman and completed his master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting at the Manhattan School of Music with Zdenek Macal.