© Jean-Baptiste Millot
Born in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) in 1988, he entered a music school for exceptionally gifted children at the age of six, where he studied violin, viola and orchestra conducting with Vladimir Neymer. At the age of thirteen, he made his debut as a conductor with the National Symphony Orchestra of Uzbekistan. The following year, he conducted his first opera – Bizet’s Carmen – at the Uzbekistan National Opera.
In 2001, he was appointed assistant conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Uzbekistan and became the principal conductor in 2006.
In 2010, his career took a new turn in Bamberg when he was awarded Second Prize in the prestigious, international Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition. The award gave him the opportunity of working with musical heavyweights such as the Staatskapelle Dresden, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester and the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi. In August 2016, Aziz Shokhakimov won the Herbert von Karajan Young Conductors Award at Salzburg Festival. Two years later, he conducted the Festival’s opening concert alongside the violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja.
Since 2017, he has ensured the artistic direction of the Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra (Turkey). He has also conducted internationally renowned orchestras on several occasions. In 2019, he stood out at the helm of the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra in a programme devoted to Shostakovich. In June 2021, he was called on at short notice to replace Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the head of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Munich, in a programme dedicated to Brahms and Dvorak. In the coming seasons, the Maestro has been invited to conduct the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, among others.
In parallel to his symphonic career, Aziz Shokhakimov has also been highly active in the lyrical arts. As Kapellmeister at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein (Düsseldorf & Duisbourg) between 2015 and 2021, he wielded the baton from the orchestra pit of the German opera house for a number of productions, including Madame Butterfly, Salome, Tosca and The Queen of Spades.
The virtuoso has brought out a beautiful CD dedicated to Weber (Mirare, 2017) with the clarinettist Raphaël Sévère and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.
His first encounter with the Orchestre philharmonique de Strasbourg occurred in 2014 for a programme devoted to Mahler and Shostakovich. Aziz Shokhakimov has fond memories of this experience and found the Orchestra musicians "shining", claiming that he soon "developed a close, congenial relationship with the ensemble". He regularly collaborates with the Orchestra and was appointed their Musical and Artistic Director in July 2020. He takes up his role in September 2021, for a 2021|2022 season he is eager to share with the audience.