Tito Muñoz, Virginia G. Piper Music Director
Praised for his versatility, technical clarity, and keen musical insight, Tito Muñoz is internationally recognized as one of the most gifted conductors on the podium today. Having recently renewed his contract he is now in his fifth season as Music Director of the Phoenix Symphony. Previously Tito served as Music Director of the Opéra National de Lorraine and the Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy in France, and other prior appointments include Assistant Conductor positions with the Cleveland Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and the Aspen Music Festival.
Tito has appeared with many of the most prominent orchestras in North America, including those of Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee, as well as the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the National Symphony Orchestra. He also maintains a strong international conducting presence, including recent and forthcoming engagements with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, SWR Sinfonieorchester, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre National d’Île de France, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Danish National Chamber Orchestra, Luxembourg Philharmonic, Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier/A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Opéra de Rennes/The Turn of the Screw, Auckland Philharmonia, Sydney Symphony and Sao Paolo State Symphony.
As a proponent of new music, Tito champions the composers of our time through expanded programming, commissions, premieres, and recordings. He has conducted important premieres of works by Christopher Cerrone, Kenneth Fuchs, Dai Fujikura, Michael Hersch, Adam Schoenberg, and Mauricio Sotelo. During his tenure as Music Director of the Opéra National de Lorraine, Tito conducted the critically-acclaimed staged premiere of Gerald Barry’s opera The Importance of Being Earnest. A great advocate of the music of Michael Hersch, he led the world premiere of Hersch’s monodrama On the Threshold of Winter at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2014, followed by the premiere of his Violin Concerto with Patricia Kopatchinskaja and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in 2015, a piece they also recorded with the International Contemporary Ensemble on the New Focus label, released in summer 2018. Most recently he gave the world and European premieres of I hope we get a chance to visit soon at the Ojai and Aldeburgh Festivals.
Tito’s relationship with the Cleveland Orchestra since his tenure as Assistant Conductor has been consistently critically acclaimed, most notably in 2012 when he was engaged to replace the late Pierre Boulez for subscription performances. He led joint performances with the Joffrey Ballet and the Cleveland Orchestra in the summer of 2009, marking the first collaboration between these two organizations in three decades. This successful partnership led to further performances in the summer of 2010 as well as an invitation to tour with the Joffrey Ballet in the 2010-11 season. In the 2012-13 season, Tito conducted the Cleveland Orchestra’s first complete performances of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, a program he repeated in 2014-15, and, in summer 2013, led the orchestra’s first staged performances of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in the reconstructed original choreography of Vaslav Nijinsky, both with the Joffrey Ballet.
A passionate educator, Tito regularly visits North America’s top conservatories/universities, summer music festivals, and youth orchestras. He has led performances at the Aspen Music Festival, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Cleveland Institute of Music, Indiana University, Kent/Blossom Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, New England Conservatory, New World Symphony, Oberlin Conservatory, Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, University of Texas at Austin, and National Repertory Orchestra, as well as a nine-city tour with the St. Olaf College Orchestra. He maintains a close relationship with the Kinhaven Music School, which he attended as a young musician, and now guest conducts there annually. Tito also enjoys a regular partnership with Arizona State University where he has held a faculty position and is a frequent guest teacher and conductor.
Born in Queens, New York, Tito began his musical training as a violinist in New York City public schools. He attended the LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts, the Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program, and the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division. He furthered his training at Queens College (CUNY) as a violin student of Daniel Phillips. Tito received conducting training at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen where he studied with David Zinman and Murry Sidlin. He is the winner of the Aspen Music Festival’s 2005 Robert J. Harth Conductor Prize and the 2006 Aspen Conducting Prize, returning to Aspen as the festival’s Assistant Conductor in the summer of 2007, and later as a guest conductor.
Tito made his professional conducting debut in 2006 with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, invited by Leonard Slatkin as a participant of the National Conducting Institute. That same year, he made his Cleveland Orchestra debut at the Blossom Music Festival. He was awarded the 2009 Mendelssohn Scholarship sponsored by Kurt Masur and the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Foundation in Leipzig, and was a prizewinner in the 2010 Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition in Frankfurt.