Music Director & Principal Conductor

Matthew Kraemer

"Our thrilling 40th anniversary season celebration features exciting new works by Victoria Bond, Miguel del Aguila, and Joshua Thompson, in addition to collaborations with longtime arts partners Dance Kaleidoscope, American Pianists Association, Indianapolis Children's Choir, and IVCI. "

Matthew Kraemer Signature
ICO Music Director Matthew Kraemer

Recognized for his “musical sensitivity” and “energized sense of interpretation”, Matthew Kraemer is quickly making his mark among young American conductors for his inspired performances and versatility. The Buffalo News notes, “He presents a tall, dignified and stately podium presence with a quite clear beat, a good sense of shaping melodic lines, and an all- business attitude that focused on the music without any histrionics.” Recently announced as Music Director of the Louisiana Philharmonic, Kraemer began his inaugural season with the orchestra in September. Formed in 1991, LPO is the oldest full-time musician-governed orchestra in the United States. Appointed Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra in 2015, he has additionally extended his commitment with ICO through 2027. His active guest conducting schedule includes appearances with many of the nation’s finest orchestras, including the Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Columbus, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Nashville, North Carolina, Saint Louis, Spokane, Syracuse, Toledo, and Virginia symphony orchestras, as well as Canada’s Mississauga Symphony, Niagara Symphony, and Hamilton Philharmonic and in Europe with the Vidin Philharmonic and the Orquesta de Cadaqués. Upcoming highlights include premieres by Stacy Garrop, Arlene Sierra, Wynton Marsalis, Maxim Samarov, Victoria Bond, Miguel del Aguila, and Dan Perttu. Recent and future guest conducting includes the Arkansas Symphony, Toledo Symphony, and Rochester Philharmonic.

Kraemer served as associate conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic from 2009 to 2014, where he regularly led the orchestra in each of its concert series.  A passionate advocate for new music, he has performed the works of many living composers during his career and has led the American Composers Orchestra’s EarShot readings with several orchestras.  The ICO was awarded a Virginia B. Toulmin commission for emerging women composers under his leadership.  Kraemer has also served as Music Director of the Erie Chamber Orchestra and associate conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. 

Increasingly recognized for his committed advocacy of music education and his devotion to young audiences, he served on the faculty at New England Music Camp from 2016-2022.  The Buffalo Philharmonic’s award-winning education concerts grew exponentially under his leadership, expanding to reach over 40,000 students throughout western New York.  He played an integral role in the creation of the orchestra’s successful live broadcast concerts with Time Warner Cable, as well as implementing new collaborations with many organizations in the Buffalo community.  His performances are broadcast regularly on NPR’s Performance Today.

Recipient of the distinguished Herbert von Karajan Conducting Fellowship and the Bruno Walter Career Development Grant, Kraemer served a residency with the Vienna Philharmonic at the 2006 Salzburg Music Festival.  Equally at home in the opera and ballet pit, his operatic credits include productions of The Magic Flute, The Barber of Seville, Fidelio, Madame Butterfly, La Traviata, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Happy Birthday Wanda June (world premiere), Trouble in Tahiti, and Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park (American professional premiere), as well as ballet productions with Virginia Ballet Theatre, Ohio Ballet, Dance Kaleidoscope, Neglia Ballet Artists, and Todd Rosenlieb Dance.  He has performed with many leading artists, including Lang Lang, Awadagin Pratt, Christopher O’Riley, Norman Krieger, Philippe Quint, Jennifer Koh, Elmar Oliveira, Rachel Barton Pine, David Kim, Gary Karr, Richard Stolzman, Wu Man, Bela Fleck, Mark O’Connor, Ben Folds, Chris Botti, Michael Cavanaugh, Jim Brickman, the Indigo Girls, Il Volo, Wynona Judd, and Natalie Merchant, among others.  A frequent collaborator with Broadway superstar Idina Menzel, he served as conductor for many of her symphony engagements nationwide. 

An Indiana native, Kraemer studied conducting in Vienna, Austria with Salvador Mas Conde and was twice a fellowship conductor at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.  He has additionally participated in the National Arts Center Conductor’s Program in Ottawa, Canada.  His conducting teachers include David Zinman, Robert Spano, Stanley DeRusha, and Jorma Panula.  Kraemer is a graduate of Butler University and the University of Nevada, where he assisted former Cincinnati Symphony concertmaster Phillip Ruder. An accomplished violinist, he was a member of the Nightingale String Quartet.  His principal violin teachers include Phillip Ruder, Herbert Greenberg, and Larry Shapiro.  When he is not performing, Kraemer enjoys cooking, running, and reading.   He and his wife, Megan, reside in New Orleans with their sons Gabriel and Nathaniel.