One of today’s leading young conductors, Matthew Halls was named OBF Artistic Director Designate August 24, 2011 and became the Festival’s Artistic Director July 15, 2013.
The word “versatile” is often applied to musicians; in the case of the British conductor Matthew Halls, it is particularly well deserved. Although he first came to prominence as a keyboard player and early music conductor, Halls, still in his thirties, is now better known for his dynamic and intelligent work with major symphony orchestras and opera companies, and for his probing and vibrant interpretations of music of all periods.
In 2013, he made his Toronto Symphony debut, performing a critically acclaimed interpretation of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a work he calls “the heart and soul of the modern symphonic tradition.” He first led Washington, D.C.’s National Symphony in 2011, with performances of Handel’s Messiah returning the following season to lead works by Ravel, Dutilleux and Vaughan Williams. Other recent and upcoming North American engagements include appearances with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, in repertoire from Bach and Handel to Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninov, Tippett and Kernis.
In July 2011 he appeared for the first time at the Oregon Bach Festival. Such was the impact of his performances here, he was immediately asked to succeed Helmuth Rilling as artistic director. He has since returned annually and has now assumed the leadership post.
European orchestras are equally eager to welcome Halls to their podiums, including the BBC Scottish Symphony, Bergen Philharmonic, Bremen Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Iceland Symphony, Northern Sinfonia, RTE National Symphony, Tonkünstler Orchestra NÖ, and regular appearances in Austria and on tour with the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra. He is also invited to Australia to conduct the Melbourne Symphony and West Australian Symphony Orchestras.
In the opera house, Halls has appeared with companies such as the Handelfestspiele Halle and the Salzburg Landestheater. His debut performances of Handel’s Rinaldo with Central City Opera Colorado were so well received that he was reinvited to conduct not only Handel’s Amadigi but also Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. His operatic repertoire covers Renaissance, Baroque and Classical works, but also extends to later works, with a particular focus on Britten. His associations with both the Netherlands Opera and Bayerische Staatsoper have included productions of Verdi’s Luisa Miller, Britten’s Peter Grimes and Bellini’s Norma. In spring 2014 he leads Handel’s Ariodante at the Aalto-Musiktheater Essen.
Halls is represented on disc with Handel’s Parnasso in Festa, winner of the Stanley Sadie Handel Recording Prize, released by Hyperion. On Linn Records, he has recorded a set of four Bach Harpsichord Concertos conducted from the keyboard, and Bach’s Easter and Ascension oratorios, as well as award-winning discs of Purcell’s Sonatas in Three and Four Parts.
Matthew Halls was educated at Oxford University and subsequently taught at the University for five years. Following his time in Oxford, he has held positions as Artistic Director of the King’s Consort and the Retrospect Ensemble, which he founded in 2009. Passionately committed to education and working with young musicians, he has taught regularly at summer schools and courses.
For more listings of reviews, recordings and concert dates, please see http://www.hazardchase.co.uk/
The Artistic Director position is endowed by J. Peter and Mary Ann Moore.
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