Music Director


Vladimir Kulenovic, Music Director

Designated by the Chicago Tribune as the “Chicagoan of the Year in Classical Music” and hailed by the distinguished critic John von Rhein as “conductor with an uncommon passion”, Vladimir Kulenovic is the winner of the 2015 Sir Georg Solti Award and is currently in his fourth season as Music Director of the Lake Forest Symphony on Chicago’s North Shore.  Under his leadership, Lake Forest Symphony has earned continuous critical acclaim, expanded its audience base and is currently producing its first ever commercially released CD recordings under the prestigious Cedille Records label in its 60 year history.  Having concluded four seasons as Associate Conductor of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, where he conducted an average of one hundred performances annually, Mr. Kulenovic also served as assistant conductor with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Resident Conductor of the Belgrade Philharmonic in Serbia, and Principal Conductor of the Kyoto International Music Festival in Japan.

Mr. Kulenovic’s U.S. guest conducting engagements include the symphonies of Alabama, Chicago, Columbus, Grand Rapids, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Knoxville, Utah, San Francisco, Illinois and South Bend Symphony, as well as the Louisville Orchestra and Oklahoma City Philharmonic.

Worldwide, Mr. Kulenovic has appeared with the Beethoven-Orchester/Bonn, Bilkent Symphdony/Ankara Turkey, Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss, Leipziger Symphonie Orchester, Malaysia Philharmonic, Minas Gerais Philharmonic/Brasil, National Arts Centre Orchestra/Ottawa Canada, Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco/Mexico, Orchestra Sinfonica de Espana, Orchestra Classica de Santa Cecilia, Slovenia Philharmonic, Taipei Symphony, Zagreb Philharmonic, Macedonian Philharmonic, and the Macedonian National Opera.  This season, Mr. Kulenovic will conduct the French tour of the Basque National Orchestra of Spain.

Festival appearances include Aspen, Cabrillo, Finland’s Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, Round Top/Texas, Salzburg Mozarteum, and Verbier, and critically acclaimed collaborations with such celebrated soloists as Leon Fleisher, Augustin Hadelich, Mischa Maisky, Joaquín Achúcarro, Barry Douglas, Philippe Quint, Joseph Silverstein, Akiko Suwanai, Stefan Milenkovich, William Burden and Sasha Cooke.  

In 2012, Vladimir Kulenovic was awarded the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholarship and the position of conducting assistant with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, which enabled him to work closely with the late Kurt Masur.  He has also assisted Bernard Haitink with the Boston Symphony, prepared orchestras for Zubin Mehta, and served as cover conductor with the Baltimore Symphony, Baltimore Opera, and Florentine Opera/Milwaukee.  

Mr. Kulenovic holds graduate diplomas in conducting from both The Juilliard School and the Peabody Institute where his teachers were James DePreist and Gustav Meier.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in piano performance and a master’s degree in conducting from the Boston Conservatory, where he graduated summa cum laude. Among his numerous awards are the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Development Award and the Charles Schiff Conducting Prize for Excellence.  He was one of six top young conductors chosen by the League of American Orchestras for the 2013 Bruno Walter National Conducting Preview.

“Kulenovic is personable, charming, dedicated, and talented. His passion and infectious enthusiasm made the concert an incredibly moving experience.” – Lake Forest Symphony Subscriber