Kent George Nagano

Honorary Degrees

San Francisco State University​

Kent George Nagano, a Bay Area native who grew up on California’s central coast, became a musical ambassador who led classical ensembles around the globe, a pioneer of historically-informed performances.

After early career years spent with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Nagano returned to California to serve as the musical director for the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra for three decades. His success in America led to appointments in Europe as music director of Opéra National de Lyon and music director of the Hallé Orchestra. San Francisco State University is proud to count Maestro Nagano among its Gator alumni. In honor of his illustrious career, he is a distinguished member of the San Francisco State Alumni Hall of Fame and was honored in 1994 as the San Francisco State Alumnus of the Year.

Maestro Nagano serves as the music director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, the artistic adviser and principal guest conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony and, since 2015, as the general music director of the Hamburg State Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra.

Maestro Nagano is a sought-after guest conductor who has worked with many of the world’s finest orchestras including the Vienna, Berlin and New York Philharmonics, Chicago Symphony, Dresden Staatskapelle and Leipzig Gewandhaus.

Numerous awards and accolades have been bestowed upon Maestro Nagano, including three Grammy Awards for Best Opera Recording. He is among those who received the Echo Klassik 2017 “Conductor of the Year” award, one of the most prominent awards in classical music, which he also received in 2016.

A prolific artist and conductor, Maestro Nagano, has recorded more than 100 albums and CDs with labels including Sony Classical, Erato, Teldec, Pentatone, Harmonia Mundi and Deutsche Grammophon.

In recognition of his outstanding career, and his global contributions to music, art and culture, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and San Francisco State University are proud to confer upon Kent George Nagano the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.