Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Garry Walker named as next musical director of Opera North

Garry Walker conducts the Orchestra of Opera North in concert (Photo Justin Slee)
Garry Walker conducts the Orchestra of Opera North in concert (Photo Justin Slee)
Opera North has named the Scottish conductor Garry Walker as its next musical director, filling the hole left by the departure of Aleksandar Markovic in 2017. Walker is currently the Chief Conductor of the Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie in Koblenz and will not be taking up his post at Opera North until Autumn 2020. But fear not, there is a chance to hear him in action later this year when he will be conducting Opera North's forthcoming production of Martinu's The Greek Passion which opens in Leeds on 14 September 2019.

Garry Walker was the winner of the 1999 Leeds Conducting Competition, having studied cello (with Ralph Kirshbaum) and conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music. He conducted the world premiere of David Sawyer's The Skating Rink at Garsington Opera in 2018 [see my review]. His recent work at Opera North has included Britten's Billy Budd and most recently the double bill of Puccini's Gianni Schicchi & Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. Once in post at Opera North he will conduct two operas per season as well as a number of concerts.

In a parallel announcement, Antony Hermus has been named as the company's Principal Guest Conductor. Hermus is Principal Guest Conductor of the North Netherlands Orchestra, a position he will retain. Once in place Hermus will conduct one production per season, as well as concerts. Hermus conducted Puccini's Tosca with the company in 2018 and returns for Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro in Spring 2020. He also makes his English National Opera next year, conducting a new production of Dvorak's Rusalka.

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