Multidimensional conductor Julie Desbordes leads ensembles in the Americas, Asia, and her native France. Music Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra at Arizona State University, where she also teaches conducting, she serves as Music Director of three additional ensembles in greater Phoenix: the Tempe Winds, Salt River Brass, and the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestras.
Prior to arriving in Arizona, Ms. Desbordes conducted community and youth orchestras in New York City, among them, the Turtle Bay Youth Orchestra, the Queer Urban Orchestra, and the Chelsea Symphony. With those ensembles, she presented innovative programs that attracted large, enthusiastic audiences. In between her New York commitments, she appeared as a guest conductor with orchestras in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Venezuela and Cuba.
As both a conductor and an educator, Ms. Desbordes has years of experience developing new audiences for concert music. Her triumphs at engaging audiences arise from both her musical and curatorial insights. When crafting concert programs, she creates experiences that move performers and listeners alike, often spotlighting music by contemporary and under-represented composers. When conducting, she energizes those around her, rousing musicians to play from the heart and prompting listeners to become supporters. She also empowers music teachers to achieve comparable success by regularly leading workshops for educators at the Weill Music Institute of Carnegie Hall.
Active in the El Sistema movement, which transforms children’s lives through music making, she was a featured cast member in the documentary film, Crescendo! The Power of Music, directed by Jamie Bernstein, and she is a frequent guest conductor and teaching artist for youth ensembles internationally. Eric Booth, a Senior Advisor to El Sistema in the U.S., said, “Julie Desbordes has that unteachable natural gift of being an inspiring conductor leader for high level musicians and an inspiring teacher to music learners at all levels.”
Ms. Desbordes holds Master and Bachelor degrees in conducting and trumpet performance from conservatoires in France and Canada. In 2023, she will receive the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University. Her conducting mentors included Gustav Meier, Raffi Armenian and Marin Alsop.