Anna Rakitina named new BSO assistant conductor

Anna Rakitina will become assistant conductor for the Boston Symphony Orchestra starting in the 2019-20 season.
Anna Rakitina will become assistant conductor for the Boston Symphony Orchestra starting in the 2019-20 season. Julia Gubankova

Russian-born conductor Anna Rakitina will join the Boston Symphony Orchestra as its new assistant conductor for a two-year term, beginning with the 2019-20 season. Rakitina will become only the second woman in BSO history to assume this post. The conductor won second prize in the prestigious 2018 Malko Competition in Copenhagen, and she has conducted various orchestras in Europe and Asia including Cologne’s WDR Sinfonieorchester, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the Taipei Symphony Orchestra, and the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra.

“I feel very lucky to become part of such a wonderful musical ensemble,” said Rakitina in a statement provided by the BSO. “I am honored and look forward to begin work with the fabulous Maestro Andris Nelsons and all the amazing musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.”


Speaking over Skype from Moscow, where she currently lives, Rakitina revealed that she had never been to the United States before traveling to Boston for the BSO audition, which took place on April 29 — her 30th birthday.

“It was a really great pleasure,” Rakitina said of the experience. “All the musicians were so friendly, and they supported all of the candidates.”

When she arrives, she’ll replace associate conductor Ken-David Masur, who assumes the role of music director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra this fall, and will join Yu-An Chang in the role of assistant conductor.

The first female assistant conductor for the BSO was Shiyeon Sung, who held the position from 2007 to 2010 and is currently the artistic director and chief conductor of Korea’s Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra.

Rakitina is scheduled to make her first podium appearance during the 2020 Tanglewood season, after which she’ll lead subscription concerts at Symphony Hall during the 2020-2021 season. She has also been named a 2019-2020 Dudamel Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a role in which she’ll conduct LA Philharmonic youth concerts, serve as a mentor in programs such as Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, and work with music and artistic director Gustavo Dudamel and LA Philharmonic musicians.


Zoë Madonna can be reached at zoe.madonna@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @knitandlisten. Madonna’s work is supported by the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.