Award-winning conductor Julie Desbordes leads ensembles in the Americas, Asia and her native France. Recent guest conducting appearances have included performances with orchestras in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Venezuela and Cuba.
Ms. Desbordes made her conducting debut at age 17 with l’Harmonie Municipale de Limoges, France. Since then, she has led diverse groups, from professional orchestras to community bands to youth ensembles.
Currently based in New York and Baltimore, she is the Artistic Director of two groundbreaking orchestras in New York City: the Queer Urban Orchestra (QUO) and the Turtle Bay Youth Orchestra. With those ensembles, she presents innovative programs of traditional and new repertoire that attract large, enthusiastic audiences. Prior to those appointments, she garnered praise for her work conducting other New York orchestras, among them, the Chelsea and Litha Symphonies.
Also a leader in the El Sistema movement, she was a featured cast member in the documentary film, Crescendo! The Power of Music, directed by Jamie Bernstein (daughter of Leonard Bernstein), and is a frequent guest conductor at El Sistema programs internationally. In New York, she has taught and conducted hundreds of young musicians participating in El Sistema initiatives such as the Harmony Program and the Corona Youth Music Project.
As both a conductor and an educator, Ms. Desbordes has years of experience developing new audiences for classical music. Beyond New York, in Taiwan each summer, she draws multi-generational audiences to her concerts as guest conductor of the Tainan Kaoshung Orchestra Festival.
Her success at thrilling audiences arises from both her musical and curatorial abilities. When crafting concert programs, she creates titles and experiences that appeal to performers and listeners alike. When conducting from the podium, she energizes those around her, rousing musicians to play from the heart and motivating audiences to become loyal followers.
Ms. Desbordes is comparably adept at speaking about music. Whether presenting events for aficionados or young children, she has earned accolades for her way of illuminating the essence of musical expression. As Music Director of QUO, she designs and hosts a variety of pre-concert talks. With the Chelsea Symphony, she conceived, hosted and conducted children’s programs, such as “Welcome to the Zoo!” that featured music inspired by animals.
Ms. Desbordes holds Master and Bachelor degrees in conducting and trumpet performance from Conservatoires in France and Canada. In 2020, she will complete doctoral studies in orchestral conducting at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, where she studies with Marin Alsop. Her conducting mentors have included Raffi Armenian and Gustav Meier.