OUR CONDUCTORS

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Conductor, January 2024: Johann Stuckenbruck

 

Highly sought after in opera houses and concert halls worldwide, American-British conductor Johann Stuckenbruck is fast establishing himself as an outstanding talent on the international stage. Highlights of the 2021-22 season include Johann's Glyndebourne Tour debut conducting Don Pasquale and the world premiere of Glyndebourne’s latest commission Pay the Piper with PSAPPHA ensemble. He will also appear with the San Diego Symphony before returning to Glyndebourne to assist Music Director Robin Ticciati on The Wreckers in the 2022 Festival.

 

In the concert hall, recent engagements have included conducting The Hallé, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Orchestre Victor Hugo Franche-Comté, Salomon Orchestra, and Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Johann has assisted Sir Mark Elder with The Hallé on numerous concerts including La Damnation de Faust at the Edinburgh Festival. Further afield, he has worked with Mathieu Herzog and the Blaricum Festival Orchestra, conducted the Campos do Jordão Festival Orchestra at the Sala São Paulo, and covered concerts for Rafael Payare with the San Diego Symphony.

 

Conductor, September 2023: Simon Thompson

 

Simon Thompson was the musical director and conductor of Amadeus Chamber Orchestra for 30 years until October 2017. At this point, he decided to step down and was given the honorary title of ‘Conductor Emeritus’ for Amadeus. Some decades previously, Simon started conducting as a result of a bet with a friend at Cambridge University. Having been annoyingly critical (as an orchestral ‘cellist) of other student conductors, he was goaded into auditioning for the student conductorship of the University Second Orchestra. In this he was surprisingly successful. Some formal training followed, with conducting lessons from Michael Lankester, Michael Rose, and George Hurst.

 

Since that time, Simon has conducted a large number of different orchestras, including the Lydian Chamber Orchestra (which he formed while living in London), the Oxford University Chamber Orchestra, the Oxford Sinfonia, the Essex Chamber Orchestra, as well as Amadeus, covering a wide range of repertoire from the baroque to the present day. Simon has also worked with choral groups, including the Essex Baroque Choir, and the choir of the Suffolk Villages Baroque Music Festival.

 

Outside these conducting activities Simon is an active ‘cellist, particularly enjoying playing chamber music. Having retired from his academic career in medical statistics, Simon now volunteers for St Albans Citizens Advice, and Herts Vision Loss.

 

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Conductor, May 2023: Daniel Hogan

 

Described by players as a conductor who ‘draws emotion out of each individual player’ and ‘has a similar musical maturity to much older conductors’, Daniel Hogan is a 25-year-old British conductor who is currently studying with a full scholarship for a Masters in Conducting at the Royal College of Music.

 

Daniel formed the Watford Youth Sinfonia when he was only 17 years old, and in the eight years since, they have performed repertoire rarely tackled by youth orchestras under his leadership, including Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’, Respighi’s ‘Roman Festivals’ and Mahler’s 9th Symphony. Daniel more recently formed the Sinfonia Perdita, a young professionals orchestra consisting of players from the London conservatoires, who are dedicated to performing masterworks neglected by the standard repertoire. In 2022, they gave the British premiere of Yngve Sköld’s 2nd Symphony, and in January 2023 they recorded the Schumann Violin Concerto with Laure Chan at Abbey Road Studios, in a recording that shall be released later this year.

 

Daniel has conducted performances with some of the country’s most respected soloists including So-Ock Kim and Catrin Finch, as well as some of the most up and coming, including Isata Kanneh-Mason, Thomas Kelly and Laure Chan. He is passionate about promoting the music of the country’s living composers, regularly collaborating with composers such as David Matthews and Matthew Taylor.

Conductor, January 2023: David Murphy

 

Born in Pembrokeshire, David began his musical studies as a violinist, and within a few months was awarded a full scholarship to the Purcell School. He was the last student of Leon Barzin, and as a result has a direct link to the great conductors of the early twentieth century, notably Toscanini, Furtwängler and Erich Kleiber  a unique training for a conductor of his generation.

 

His critically acclaimed Royal Festival Hall debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra included a groundbreaking performance of Sibelius' 2nd Symphony utilising the original manuscript sources. He returned to the Royal Festival Hall, this time with the London Philharmonic Orchestra to conduct the World Premiere of the Symphony by Ravi Shankar alongside minimalist milestones by Adams and Glass. This was released on the LPO live label (“a resounding triumph” the Independent 5*)

 

In addition to Barzin, two other legendary mentors were central to his development as a musician: the conductor Sir Charles Mackerras and the sitar maestro and composer Pandit Ravi Shankar. David’s music-making contains a unique blend of these very potent influences. He is currently at the forefront of the development of a new “Indo-Classic” musical genre which aims to tap into the common roots of both traditions. His career spans four continents and has included concerts, recordings and broadcasts with the Philharmonia, Residentie Orkest, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sinfonia ViVA, Britten Sinfonia, Seoul National Symphony and London Sinfonietta. He recently completed Ravi Shankar’s opera Sukanya, and in a co-production with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted the critically acclaimed World Premiere tour of the work.

 

David previously conducted Amadeus in September 2019.

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Conductor, January 2022: Henry Kennedy

 

British-born conductor Henry Kennedy has recently graduated with Distinction from the Royal Academy of Music, under the tutelage of Sian Edwards. Henry has also been mentored for a number of years with Christian Thielemann, David Zinman and Colin Metters. Before his conducting studies commenced, Henry studied clarinet at the RAM as an undergraduate.

 

Henry regularly attends orchestral and operatic master classes around the world, recent classes having included Marin Alsop and Robert Trevino. Also, Henry has assisted Sir Mark Elder, John Wilson, Anthony Negus, Jac van Steen, Edward Gardner, Marin Alsop, among others in the recording studio, opera house and concert hall.

 

As well as being the founder and music director of the Resonate Symphony Orchestra, which holds concerts regularly in London, Henry has conducted in various settings the Mozarteum Orchestra, the Deutsche Oper Orchestra and Austrian Ensemble for Contemporary Music. Recently, Henry was selected as one of the semi-finalists for both the Toscanini and Karajan competitions.

 

Conductor, September 2021: Elias Brown

 

Los Angeles-born conductor Elias Peter Brown (b. 1995) began his studies of conducting at age 17 in St. Petersburg, Russia.  After graduating with honors from Yale University and the Royal Academy of Music, he became a laureate of the Khachaturian International Conducting Competition in 2021, receiving Third Prize. He also recently took Second Prize in the inaugural Lake Como Conducting Competition.

 

Brown has led the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Berliner Symphoniker, Ensemble MusikFabrik, Ensemble Modern, Zafraan Ensemble, Divertimento Ensemble, Yale Symphony Orchestra, Klaipeda Chamber Orchestra, and St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic. Other recent work has included CAVE, a site-specific performance in the Brunel Museum based on Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, named official selection of the Prague Quadrennial 2019; and less than a grain of dust, a programme of music spanning 800 years commissioned as a musical response to the ground-breaking “Lumia” exhibition for the Yale University Art Gallery.

 

In addition to a busy performance career, Elias remains active as a composer – his work has recently been performed by Twentyfingers Duo (Lithuania) and workshopped with choreographer Bakani Pick-Up and National Dance Company Wales. Deeply passionate about arts education as well, he has worked as a teaching artist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, as a guest conductor at Junior Royal Academy of Music, and as a mentor for the art and community-building project ‘Gakko’ in Japan and France.

 

In October 2021, he will commence advanced studies with Steven Sloane at Universität der Künste, Berlin.

 

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Conductor, January 2020: Adam Hickox

 

Adam Hickox was recently announced as Assistant Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons. Hickox's commitments in Rotterdam include assisting for programmes with their Chief Conductor Lahav Shani, Valery Gergiev and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, amongst others, and in April 2020 makes his debut with the orchestra on the podium. He will be the 2020 Conducting Fellow of the Tanglewood Music Centre.

 

Recent engagements include the UK premiere of Thomas Larcher Still for viola and chamber orchestra, with Lawrence Power and Collegium; ‘Music of Exile’ with members of the ARC Ensemble – conducting and reviving works of exiled Jewish composers from the 1930s; assisting on The Turn of the Screw at English National Opera and concerts at the St Endellion and Klosters Music Festivals. In the last year he has also conducted the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Philharmonia Orchestra.

 

He has recently worked as an assistant conductor for Raphaël Pichon at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence in a staged production of Mozart Requiem, at English National Opera for Birtwistle The Mask of Orpheus, and at Theater an der Wien for Salome.

 

Hickox is a graduate of Gonville and Caius College Cambridge, where he studied music and composition with Robin Holloway, and was the conductor of the Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra. He studied with Sian Edwards at the Royal Academy of Music, where he graduated with DipRAM and the Ernest Read Prize for Conducting.

 

Adam previously conducted Amadeus in January 2019.

 

 Conductor, May 2019: Joel Sandelson

 

Joel Sandelson’s intelligent and engaging musicianship was recognised internationally in summer 2021 after winning the Salzburg Festival’s prestigious Herbert von Karajan Young Conductors Award. This success has firmly placed him as one of the most exciting emerging conductors and he will return to the Salzburg Festival in 2022 to lead the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. Joel has also been selected as a winner designate of the inaugural International Conducting Competition Rotterdam and will work with several major orchestras in the Netherlands in 2022, including the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century. He previously won third prize at the Siemens-Hallé International Conductors Competition 2020.​

 

Joel recently completed two years as Assistant Conductor to Thomas Dausgaard at the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Leverhulme Conducting Fellow at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He is founder and director of the London-based period instrument orchestra Wond’rous Machine, with whom he has made recent debuts at the Southbank Centre and St John’s Smith Square. He has worked with orchestras including the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, Hallé, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Opera, Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra of St John’s. He has assisted conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Edward Gardner, Trevor Pinnock and Yan Pascal Tortelier.

 

Joel previously conducted Amadeus in January 2018.

 

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Conductor Emeritus: Simon Thompson

 

Simon Thompson was the musical director and conductor of Amadeus Chamber Orchestra for 30 years until October 2017 when he decided to step down. Amadeus players have greatly appreciated Simon’s musicality, meticulous preparation, his warmth of manner in rehearsals and his very clear beat! As conductor emeritus for Amadeus, Simon returns regularly to conduct the Orchestra.

 

 

Founding conductor: Keith Swanwick

 

Amadeus Chamber Orchestra was formed in 1975 by its first conductor Keith Swanwick. It quickly became established as the leading local chamber orchestra of St Albans. Keith handed the baton to Simon Thompson in 1988.