Philippe Jordan was born in Zurich, Switzerland, on October 18, 1974. His father was famed Swiss conductor Armin Jordan
and his mother, Käthe Herkner, was a ballet dancer. Young Philippe studied piano and voice in his youth, eventually singing in the Zurich Boys Choir. He later took lessons on violin and, at 16, began his advanced music studies at the Zurich Conservatory.
In 1994, just 20 years old, Jordan was named first kapellmeister at the Ulm Staadtheater in Germany. He soon began making debuts across Europe, including at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, in Brussels (1995). From 1998-2001, he served as assistant to Daniel Barenboim
at the Berlin State Opera.
From 2001-2004 he was principal conductor of the Graz Opera and Symphony Orchestra. During 2001-2002 season he debuted at the Houston Grand Opera in Saint-Saëns
' Samson et Dalila and at Glyndebourne
in Carmen. His meteoric rise continued the following season when he debuted at the Met (Die Fledermaus) and Covent Garden.
Following departure from his Graz post in 2004, Jordan remained busy both in the opera house and concert hall with a heavy schedule of guest-conducting appearances, including with the Berlin
and Vienna Philharmonic
orchestras. He debuted with the New York Philharmonic
in 2007 in a program of works by Smetana
, and Beethoven
. From 2009, Jordan has guest-conducted regularly and worked with great critical success at the Paris Opera, where his contract ends with the 2014-2015 season, with an option for three more years.