Kaspar has been the Artistic Director of the Biel Solothurn Symphony Orchestra since the start of the 2012-13 season and the Artistic Director of the Murten Classics Festival since 1999. He also served as the music director at the Paul Klee Centre in Bern from 2005 to 2012, and he remains in close contact with the Centre as a member of the Ensemble Paul Klee.
From 2005 to 2008, Kaspar led the PKF - Prague Philhamonia as the orchestra’s Chief Conductor (succeeding Jiří Bělohlávek). Since then, he has often appeared with the orchestra as a guest conductor. Zehnder performs regularly in major European concert halls and at international festivals. Since his remarkable debut at La Scala in Milan in October 2007, Kaspar has been invited to conduct the Orchestre National Montpellier, the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre National d'Île de France, the Orchestre National de Lille, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Basel Symphony Orchestra, the Brno Philharmonic, the Warsaw Radio Orchestra, the Lithuanian National Philharmonic and many others.
Kaspar cooperates with soloists including Magdalena Kožená, Natalia Gutman, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Viviane Chassot, Rachel Harnisch, Radek Baborák, Jiří Bárta, Jana Boušková, Bruno Ganz, Viviane Hagner, Konstantin Lifschitz, Sergej Khachatryan, Isabelle van Keulen, Marianne Pousseur or Antoine Tamestit.
While still at school, Kaspar began his studies of flute (Heidi Indermühle), piano (Agathe Rytz-Jaggi), conducting (Ewald Körner) and musical theory (Peter Streiff, Arthur Furer) at the University of the Arts in Bern. He later studied with the conductors Ralf Weikert, Charles Dutoit, Werner-Andreas Albert, Horst Stein and Manfred Honeck and was a member of the European Mozart Academy, where his mentor was the flautist Aurèle Nicolet. Kaspar gained his first experience as a conductor with orchestras in Bern and Burgdorf and as the head of the orchestra of the University of the Arts in Bern, where he became acquainted with the contemporary repertoire.
Kaspar’s recent operatic credits include «Carmen» (2010, Murten Classics), «The Tales of Hoffmann» (2011, Paris), «The Marriage of Figaro» (2011, Lithuanian National Opera) and «The Diary of Anne Frank» (2011, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern). His 2013-14 season engagements included «Così fan tutte» with the Rouen Opera under the direction of Dieter Kaegi for the 25th anniversary of the Murten Classics Festival, and a concert production of Hector Berlioz’s «La Damnation de Faust» in Biel. In October 2015 Zehnder conducted the world premiere of Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka in the chamber version by Marián Lejava in Biel/Solothurn. 2015 followed Mozarts' «Abduction» at the Opéra Metz and «La Traviata» at TOBS, also as a guest performance at the Tonhalle Zurich. In the fall 2016 Kaspar is going to rehearse in Biel the chamber opera «Weisse Rose» bei Udo Zimmermann. In May 2017 follows «Rusalka» at the Opéra de Tours.
Murten Classics 2016 with the original program «la Suisse» encountered remarkable response by the press and public, and the cross-over Festival klangantrisch which Zehnder has been supervising in his birthplace Riggisberg (Bern) for several years is becoming increasingly popular among the wide public.
Season 2016-17 with SOBS
SOBS and Kaspar opened the concert season with concerts in Biel, Solothurn, at the Murten Classics and the Festival de Besançon Franche-Comté. Further highlights of the season with his home orchestra are the tour with New Year's concerts, a performance at the Maimusik 2017 Heilbronn, the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Chinese violinist Ning Feng or a concert with pianist Louis Lortie and students that continues the successful cooperation with the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth Bruxelles.
Guest appearances & projects
In the season 2016-17 Kaspar is for the first time going to conduct the Radio Symphony Orchestra Bucharest. With the Slovak Philharmonic, he will give a guest performance at the Festival of Polish Music in Krakow and at the Folle Journée de Nantes. In addition to many concerts in Poland, Czech Republic and Germany, he will also for first time conduct the Orchestras of Tours and Besancon (France).
An important part of Kaspar’s musical activities are his performances as both soloist and conductor with various chamber orchestras, which are reflected in his discography (for example, the double and triple concertos by Erwin Schulhoff, Laszlo Weiner, Ernest Bloch and Walter Klepper issued by ArcoDiva, 2012).
Just as well he is interested in everything new and unknown: In February 2016 the world premiere recording of the orchestral works by the German Romantic composer Robert Radecke (Biel Solothurn Symphony Orchestra) was released by the label CPO, which generated enthusiastic international criticism (a. o. 5 Diapasons).