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Sir Mark Elder

Sir Mark Elder wearing a deep red suit jacket


Sir Mark Elder has been Music Director of the Hallé since September 2000, and became Principal Guest Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2022. He was Music Director of English National Opera (1979-1993), Principal Guest Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (1992 – 1995) and Music Director of Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, USA (1989 – 1994). He has held positions as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the London Mozart Players.

He has worked with many of the world’s leading symphony orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw, Budapest Festival Orchestra and London Philharmonic. He is a Principal Artist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and works regularly with the London Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared annually at the Proms for many years, including in 1987 and 2006, the internationally televised Last Night of the Proms and from 2003 with the Hallé Orchestra.

He works regularly in the most prominent international opera houses, including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera New York, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera Chicago, Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Other guest engagements have taken him to the Bayreuth Festival (where he was the first English conductor to conduct a new production), Munich, Amsterdam, Zürich, Geneva, Berlin, and the Bregenz Festival.

Sir Mark Elder has made many recordings with orchestras including the Hallé, London Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony, the OAE, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and ENO, in repertoire ranging from Verdi, Strauss and Wagner to contemporary music. In 2003 the Hallé launched its own CD label and releases have met with universal critical acclaim culminating in Gramophone Awards for The Dream of Gerontius in 2009 and Götterdämmerung and Elgar’s Violin Concerto in 2010, and The Apostles won Recording of the Year in the 2013 BBC Music Magazine Awards. The recent release of Siegfried has completed his RING Cycle on disc with the Hallé and the complete cycle of Vaughan Williams symphonies is now available. A live recording of Lohengrin has released by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

TV appearances include a two-part film on the life and music of Verdi for BBC TV in 1994 and a similar project on Donizetti for German television in 1996. In November 2011 he co-presented BBCTV’s four part series Symphony, and in 2012 fronted BBC2’s TV series Maestro at the Opera. He presented a series of TV programmes on BBC4 during the 2015 Proms in which he talked about eight symphonies ranging from Beethoven to MacMillan featuring performances from the season’s concerts.

He was Artistic Director of Opera Rara from 2011 – 2019 for whom his many recordings included for whom recording projects have included Donizetti’s Dom Sebastien, Imelda di Lambertazzi, Linda di Chamounix, Maria di Rohan, a multi award winning release of Les Martyrs and, most recently, Rossini’s Semiramide.

Recent and forthcoming concert engagements, as well as his commitment to the Hallé, include Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra Washington, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Vienna Symphony and the OAE. Operatic engagements include a complete performance of Parsifal at the BBC Proms with the Hallé, Tannhäuser and La bohème at the Opéra National de Paris, Benvenuto Cellini for Netherlands Opera, Meistersinger for San Francisco Opera, Billy Budd, Falstaff and La Traviata for Glyndebourne, several productions for Covent Garden including Wozzeck, Fidelio, La bohème, Il Barbiere di Siviglia and L’Etoile and concert performances of Lohengrin with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He opened the Met season in New York in September 2018 with a new production of Samson et Dalila and returned to Covent Garden in 2022 for a new production of Peter Grimes. In 2023 he conducts Aida at Covent Garden and Meyerbeer’s Le prophète with the LSO at the Aix Festival.

Sir Mark Elder was appointed a Companion of Honour in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours, was knighted in 2008 and awarded the CBE in 1989. He won an Olivier Award in 1991 for his outstanding work at ENO and in May 2006 he was named Conductor of the Year by the Royal Philharmonic Society. He was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2011.

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