Pablo Heras-Casado has been called the new “It” Conductor. At age 37, he has already won Conductor of the Year (2014) honors from Musical America, and in May, he received the Grand Prix Antoine Livio from France’s Presse Musicale Internationale, given to musicians “whose creative efforts have contributed to the awareness of a particular work, composer or era” (the award is named after Antoine Livio, acclaimed music critic and the PMI’s founder).

And no less than the New York Times has dubbed him “the thinking person’s idea of a hot-shot young conductor.”

A regular visitor to Symphony Center, Heras-Casado made his CSO debut in 2011, and returned last season for CSO subscription and Beyond the Score programs featuring the works of Pierre Boulez. At Ravinia, he will lead the CSO in a program Aug. 5 featuring works by Beethoven, Mozart and Mendelssohn.

Though he has amassed an amazingly wide repertoire, Heras-Casado has a special interest in early music. Monteverdi is the composer he “could not live without,” and Heras-Casado’s most recent disc, Praetorius (released June 8 by DG Archive), features 17th century works by the composers Jacob, Hieronymus and Michael Praetorius, performed by the Balthasar-Neumann-Chor and Ensemble. “When I was 19, I was keen to prepare some concerts that would include Protestant music from the period before Bach, an important period in European musical history,” said Heras-Casado in a recent interview with Presto Classical. “Since then I have been fascinated by this repertory. To record these pieces is a dream come true.”

As for future recordings, he’s preparing a Monteverdi project for Deutsche Grammophon focused on the composer’s Selva Morale e Spirituale. “This collection is surely one of the most important collections of sacred music — together with Bach’s oratorios and cantatas, Mendelssohn’s oratorios. But they haven’t been recorded so much — there are about three or four recordings of the complete edition, and they’re old ones! I think this is the first project of a major label like DG to focus on the Selva Morale. I think it’s a wonderful piece, and I’m very happy to have this in the pipeline.”

To read the full interview, click here.

TOP: Pablo Heras-Casado leads the CSO in concert in November 2014. | Todd Rosenberg Photography