Guest conductor, January 2020 and January 2019: Adam Hickox
Adam Hickox is a young conductor rapidly gaining a reputation for dynamic, impassioned and thought-provoking music making. Forthcoming engagements include his debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Mendelssohn’s ‘Paulus’ at the St. Endellion Summer Festival, a return to English National Opera as assistant conductor on Birtwistle’s ‘The Mask of Orpheus’ and assisting Raphael Pichon at Aix en Provence festival in a production directed by Romeo Castellucci.
He was awarded the Ernest Read Prize for Conducting and the Henry Wood Scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music, where he studies with Sian Edwards. His most recent engagements have included ‘Music of Exile’- conducting and reviving works of exiled Jewish composers from the 1930s, being assistant conductor at ENO in ‘The Turn of the Screw’ and concerts at the St. Endellion and Klosters Music Festivals. In the last year he has conducted the Rotterdam Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and The Orchestra of ENO, and has assisted conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Edward Gardner, and Jac van Steen. He is a graduate of Gonville and Caius College Cambridge, where he read music, and was the conductor of the Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra. In 2016, he co-founded the Endelienta Ensemble, which brings together postgraduate instrumentalists for a series of concerts in Cornwall, now in its 3rd year.
Guest conductor, September 2019: 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.
Guest conductor, May 2019 and January 2018: Joel Sandelson
Joel Sandelson is a young conductor building a reputation for insightful work with both modern and historical instruments. He currently holds the post of Assistant Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Leverhulme Fellow in Conducting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, as well as directing Wond’rous Machine, a new London-based period instrument orchestra. He graduated from Cambridge University in 2016 with a triple-starred first in music and then studied conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, gaining a high distinction and the DipRAM prize.
In various settings he has conducted orchestras including Danish National Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Opera, Istante Ensemble, Orchestra of St John’s, and Red Note Ensemble. He won first prize in the Cambridge University Conducting Competition in 2014 and 2015, and was a quarter-finalist in the Malko Competition for Young Conductors in April 2018.
He was conductor of the Barbican Chamber Orchestra 2013-17, and in Cambridge he was Conducting Scholar of the Cambridge University Music Society for two years, conducting concerts with the university’s flagship symphony orchestra. He has assisted conductors including Thomas Dausgaard, Sir Mark Elder, Edward Gardner, Trevor Pinnock, Yan Pascal Tortelier, John Wilson, Richard Farnes, Carlos Izcaray and David Hill. At the Academy he studied with Sian Edwards, and has also studied at Tanglewood as well as with conductors including Martyn Brabbins, Sir Roger Norrington, Mark Stringer, Joseph Swensen and Colin Metters.
As a cellist, he has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician, including several recitals at Wigmore Hall and concertos with orchestras in the UK and Europe.
Guest conductor, September 2018: James Murray
James Murray is a conductor, composer and pianist based in London. He studied piano and composition at the Royal Academy of Music, and conducting at the Royal College of Music, graduating with distinction in 2014.
He has conducted a wide variety of music at major concert venues and recording studios in London. As a conductor of contemporary music he has given more than 100 premieres of new works, including concerts with the London Sinfonietta, the Nonclassical series, and a collaboration between the Royal Academy of Music and Chicago’s MIT, later recorded on the Academy’s in-house label.
From 2006-2010 he shadowed the chief conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Gianandrea Noseda, and more recently conducted the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra as a finalist in the Leverhulme Young Conductor scheme. He is chief conductor and co-founder of the Sydenham Sinfonia, chief conductor of the Vanbrugh Ensemble and regularly conducts many amateur and youth orchestras and choirs across the UK. Recent collaborations include concerts with violinist Simon Standage and pianist Tom Poster.
Also active as a choral conductor, James has worked with London Voices and London Contemporary Voices, and has recently conducted the Yorke Trust chorus and orchestra in performances of Handel's L'Allegro il Penseroso ed il Moderato on baroque instruments.
As a composer, James's works include a musical for children based on the Pied Piper, a concerto for Musical Saw and orchestra for the Really Terrible Orchestra, which premiered in London and New York, and the award-winning Variations on a theme by Tarrega (better known as the Nokia ringtone!).
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! We all feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Simon and to have participated in so many highly successful and enjoyable concerts. We are delighted that Simon has accepted the honorary title of ‘Conductor Emeritus’ for Amadeus.
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.