David Charles Abell - Conductor

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Born in North Carolina, David studied with Leonard Bernstein and Nadia Boulanger, gaining degrees from Yale University and the Juilliard School. Intensive study of viola, piano and composition gave way to a concentration on conducting from the age of fourteen.  He has conducted many of the top British orchestras, including the London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham, Bournemouth, Hallé and Royal Scottish National. His Royal Philharmonic debut was the internationally-televised Tenth Anniversary Concert of Les Misérables, and he has since appeared with the orchestra in repertoire ranging from Copland to Puccini to Kern (Show Boat, also in the Albert Hall). Other guest engagements include the Vienna Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony and two concerts in Carnegie Hall conducting the New York Pops. His operatic credits include Cape Town Opera (Porgy and Bess), Opera North (Rossini’s La gazza ladra), the Royal Albert Hall (Carmen and Madama Butterfly), Sicily’s Luglio Musicale Trapanese (Rigoletto and Manon Lescaut) and the Spoleto Festival in Italy, conducting music by Gian Carlo Menotti. For his work on Menotti’s Maria Golovin, he received the Pegasus Prize for artistic achievement.

An established name in France, David has appeared regularly at the Théâtre du Châtelet, conducting French premieres of Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods, Porter’s Kiss Me Kate (also in Luxembourg and for Glimmerglass) and Bernstein’s On The Town; he has also conducted Follies at Opéra de Toulon, as well as recent concerts with the Orchestre National de Lille, the Orchestre Pasdeloup and the Orchestre de Cannes.

David made his BBC Proms debut conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra in a live telecast of Richard Rodgers’ Oklahoma!.  He has worked with the Concert Orchestra on many other occasions, most recently for the world premiere of Rachel Portman’s The Water Diviner’s Tale at the 2007 Proms. His work with the BBC Symphony Orchestra includes Bliss’ Morning Heroes at the Brighton Festival and a studio concert of music by his mentor, Leonard Bernstein. David is a regular guest conductor with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, which he has twice conducted for Proms in the Park (broadcast live on BBC television) as well as Copland’s Third Symphony with the orchestra in Swansea. His performance with Peter Donohoe of the Gershwin Concerto in F from the same concert was featured in BBC Music Magazine.

David’s other projects include a BBC Proms tribute to Stephen Sondheim, the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary spectacular at the O2 and he is a regular at the Olivier Awards. He also conducted Finding Neverland at the Leicester Curve and was the first Musical Director on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theatre in London.

David’s TV projects have included Rachel Portman’s opera The Little Prince and The Waltz King, a drama/documentary about the Johann Strausses, father and son (both subsequently released on DVD), and the Châtelet production of Sunday in the Park with George (Mezzo TV).  Recordings include Something’s Gotta Give with baritone Simon Keenleyside, Forever with soprano Diana Damrau, Jonathan Dove’s Tobias and the Angel, the musicals Miss Saigon, Martin Guerre and Man of La Mancha and highlights from La Bohème and Madama Butterfly with the Royal Philharmonic.

Most recently, David conducted Die Zauberflöte for Barrie Kosky’s Opera Philadelphia production, Rigoletto at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Eugene Onegin at Hawaii Opera Theatre, a new production of Porgy and Bess for Cincinnati Opera, the BBC Symphony Orchestra for a celebration of Leonard Bernstein at the Barbican and concerts with the Orchestre National de Lyon.   Following his successful debut with English National Opera for its recent production of Sweeney Todd (starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson), he returned last year for an equally-acclaimed new production of Carousel.

Future plans include Sweeney Todd in Zurich (again with Bryn Terfel), concerts with the Orchestre National d’Île de France at various venues including the prestigious Philharmonie de Paris, and Carousel at the Volksoper in Vienna.  David is also the Principal Guest Conductor for the prestigious Philly Pops.

The chorus is spirited, buttressed by some terrific dancing, and the BBC Concert Orchestra plays expertly under the spry baton of David Charles Abell. The performance is refreshingly unmiked, and all the better for it – Rupert Christiansen (Daily Telegraph) 5th June 2015

Fiddler on the Roof (3)

The inspiring conductor, David Charles Abell, has researched period orchestrations and the BBC Concert Orchestra plays them with brilliant detail. Here is the first success of the country-house opera season. It will be difficult to beat it – Richard Fairman (Financial Times) 7th June 2015.

Fiddler on the Roof (2)

David Charles Abell conducts a vigorous account of a score whose best numbers come in the first act; to add to the aural pleasure of the evening the original, large-scale orchestrations – unthinkable in a commercial revival these days – are vividly conveyed by the BBC Concert Orchestra, and there are no microphones – George Hall (Guardian) 5th June 2015

Fiddler on the Roof (1)

Il direttore americano David Charles Abell, avvezzo in misura eguale all’opera come al musical, si impegna a farla risaltare al massimo, cogliendone i delicati colori strumentali, sostenendone gli squarci melodici e accentuandone i momenti corali, perfettamente assecondato da un’Orchestre Philarmonique de Radio France decisamente in stato di grazia – http://www.operaclick.com/editoriali/alla-ricerca-dello-spettacolo-perduto

– Operaclick 6 January 2014

Sunday in the Park with George

L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, que dirige avec feu David Charles Abell – on vient d’applaudir le chef américain a l’Opéra de Toulon, pour Follies du meme Sondheim – met en valeur cette partition élégante: a la fete, il jette toutes ses forces dans une bataille qui est loin d’etre gagnée d’avance.

Opéra Magazine – May 2013 (Bruno Villien)

Sunday in the Park with George – Theatre du Chatelet

Born in North Carolina, David studied with Leonard Bernstein and Nadia Boulanger, gaining degrees from Yale University and the Juilliard School. Intensive study of viola, piano and composition gave way to a concentration on conducting from the age of fourteen.  He has conducted many of the top British orchestras, including the London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham, Bournemouth, Hallé and Royal Scottish National. His Royal Philharmonic debut was the internationally-televised Tenth Anniversary Concert of Les Misérables, and he has since appeared with the orchestra in repertoire ranging from Copland to Puccini to Kern (Show Boat, also in the Albert Hall). Other guest engagements include the Vienna Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony and two concerts in Carnegie Hall conducting the New York Pops. His operatic credits include Cape Town Opera (Porgy and Bess), Opera North (Rossini’s La gazza ladra), the Royal Albert Hall (Carmen and Madama Butterfly), Sicily’s Luglio Musicale Trapanese (Rigoletto and Manon Lescaut) and the Spoleto Festival in Italy, conducting music by Gian Carlo Menotti. For his work on Menotti’s Maria Golovin, he received the Pegasus Prize for artistic achievement.

An established name in France, David has appeared regularly at the Théâtre du Châtelet, conducting French premieres of Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods, Porter’s Kiss Me Kate (also in Luxembourg and for Glimmerglass) and Bernstein’s On The Town; he has also conducted Follies at Opéra de Toulon, as well as recent concerts with the Orchestre National de Lille, the Orchestre Pasdeloup and the Orchestre de Cannes.

David made his BBC Proms debut conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra in a live telecast of Richard Rodgers’ Oklahoma!.  He has worked with the Concert Orchestra on many other occasions, most recently for the world premiere of Rachel Portman’s The Water Diviner’s Tale at the 2007 Proms. His work with the BBC Symphony Orchestra includes Bliss’ Morning Heroes at the Brighton Festival and a studio concert of music by his mentor, Leonard Bernstein. David is a regular guest conductor with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, which he has twice conducted for Proms in the Park (broadcast live on BBC television) as well as Copland’s Third Symphony with the orchestra in Swansea. His performance with Peter Donohoe of the Gershwin Concerto in F from the same concert was featured in BBC Music Magazine.

David’s other projects include a BBC Proms tribute to Stephen Sondheim, the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary spectacular at the O2 and he is a regular at the Olivier Awards. He also conducted Finding Neverland at the Leicester Curve and was the first Musical Director on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theatre in London.

David’s TV projects have included Rachel Portman’s opera The Little Prince and The Waltz King, a drama/documentary about the Johann Strausses, father and son (both subsequently released on DVD), and the Châtelet production of Sunday in the Park with George (Mezzo TV).  Recordings include Something’s Gotta Give with baritone Simon Keenleyside, Forever with soprano Diana Damrau, Jonathan Dove’s Tobias and the Angel, the musicals Miss Saigon, Martin Guerre and Man of La Mancha and highlights from La Bohème and Madama Butterfly with the Royal Philharmonic.

Most recently, David conducted Die Zauberflöte for Barrie Kosky’s Opera Philadelphia production, Rigoletto at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Eugene Onegin at Hawaii Opera Theatre, a new production of Porgy and Bess for Cincinnati Opera, the BBC Symphony Orchestra for a celebration of Leonard Bernstein at the Barbican and concerts with the Orchestre National de Lyon.   Following his successful debut with English National Opera for its recent production of Sweeney Todd (starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson), he returned last year for an equally-acclaimed new production of Carousel.

Future plans include Sweeney Todd in Zurich (again with Bryn Terfel), concerts with the Orchestre National d’Île de France and Carousel at the Volksoper in Vienna.  David is also the Principal Guest Conductor for the prestigious Philly Pops.