Finalist for the position of Music Director of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, the young German-based Israeli-American conductor Ilya Ram is on the lookout for creative new ways to approach classical music. Praised for his charismatic and energetic performance (Crescendo-Magazine) and his “expressive spontaneity” (Diaposon), he has been noted for breaking formal boundaries on the podium – “Although Ram [...] presents himself as deliberately casual in his shiny silver sneakers, his conducting is the opposite: energetic, spontaneous, yet clear, precise, and attentive to detail.”
Ilya serves as Music Director of the Leipziger Univesitätsorchester and Akademische Philharmonie Heidelberg. Some of his 2023/24 season highlights include international conducting debuts in the U.S., Poland and Portugal, as well as returning to the Gewandhaus Leipzig. He is a prize winner of the 5th Evgeny Svetlanov Competition and a scholarship holder of the Akademie-Musiktheater-Heute supported by the Deutsche Bank Stiftung. He is also a recipient of several other prestigious scholarships such as the “Yotzrim” Scholarship for independent artists, AICF “Sharet” Scholarships and the DAAD Scholarship.
Always looking to deepen his understanding of the current trends in art and creative processes, Ilya is one of the few candidates to have successfully completed the Music.Multimedia.Managemt Project led by the Szczecin Philharmonic in collaboration with Fjord Cadenza Festival and TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art, where he was mentored and assisted artistic director Rune Bergmann on several projects.
Some of his more notable recent engagements included Guest Resident Conductor at the Theater Chemnitz, conducting a premiere of a contemporary opera at the Semperoper Dresden, and spotlighted by the IMPULS Festival for contemporary music in which he debuted with both the Magdeburg Philharmoniker and Ensemble Tempus Konnex. He had the pleasure of working with soloists such as Kristine Balanas, Pekka Kuusisto, Amandine Savary, Ilian Garnetz, Ildiko Szabo, and Charlotte Thiele, to name a few.
Ilya was amongst the four young conductors to be selected to participate in the first-ever Bayreuther Festspiele masterclass for conductors and has also participated in several other international masterclasses and festivals. He has studied amongst others with Christian Thielemann, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Sakari Oramo, Neeme Järvi, Marek Janowski, Hartmut Hänchen, Robert Trevino, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Tim Redmond, Nicolas Pasquet, Johannes Schlaefli, and Jorma Panula.
In 2015 Ilya graduated Cum Laude from the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel-Aviv with a B.A. in Orchestral Conducting and Musicology. He completed his Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting at the Hochschule für Musik “Carl Maria von Weber” in Dresden, in the class of Prof. Ekkehard Klemm and has recently completed the Advanced Professional Training for Conductors Program at the UdK Berlin, studying with Maestros Steven Sloane and Harry Curtis.
A firm believer in the humanities, Ilya spent a year volunteering in underprivileged communities in Israel prior to beginning his formal studies, working with children both in and outside the education system. During his studies in Tel-Aviv, he continued volunteering at the Israeli branch of Physicians for Human Rights.