International 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.
Mrs. 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.
She is the newly appointed Music Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra at Arizona State University, where, since the fall of 2019, where she also teaches conducting.
Previously based in New York and Baltimore, she led two groundbreaking orchestras in New York City: the Queer Urban Orchestra (QUO) and the Turtle Bay Youth Orchestra. With those ensembles, she presented innovative programs of traditional and new repertoire that attracted large, enthusiastic audiences. Prior to those appointments, she garnered praise for her work conducting other New York ensembles, 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 has been 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. Her passion for education and her rich experience in conducting leads her to be a faculty member at Carnegie Hall’s Music Educators Workshop since the summer 2019, as well as Spring and Fall 2021. She also served as Assistant Conductor for the National Orchestras of the US (NYO and NYO2) during the summer 2021.
As both a conductor and an educator, Mrs. Desbordes has years of experience developing new audiences for classical music. Beyond New York, in Taiwan during the summer, she draws multi-generational audiences to her concerts as conductor of the Tainan Kaoshung Orchestra Festival.
Her success at engaging 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.
Mrs. Desbordes holds Master and Bachelor degrees in conducting and trumpet performance from conservatoires in France and Canada, and did her doctoral studies in orchestral conducting at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. Her conducting mentors have included Raffi Armenian, Gustav Meier and Marin Alsop.