Rory Macdonald

  • Conductor
Rory Macdonald

©Ruth Crafer

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“Rory Macdonald’s conducting was admirably muscular and wholehearted, drawing fiercely impassioned playing from the orchestra.”
Daily Telegraph

One of the brightest stars of the younger generation of conductors Rory Macdonald’s career was launched following assisting roles with Ivan Fischer, Mark Elder and Antonio Pappano. Equally at home on the concert platform and in the opera house, he draws out distinctive interpretations of classical and romantic repertoire, and brings passion and intellectual insight to contemporary scores.

Recent guest conducting engagements have included the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony, Nagoya Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Kammerphilharmonie, BBC Symphony, Northern Sinfonia, Adelaide Symphony, Auckland Philharmonic, West Australian Symphony, Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, Helsingborg Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony and BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

In December 2013, Macdonald stood in for Mariss Jansons for two concerts with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing and at the Sydney Opera House, marking the end of the orchestra’s Asia and Australia section of its world tour celebrating its 125th anniversary. Orchestral debuts in the 2013/14 season and beyond include the London Philharmonic, Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Copenhagen Philharmonic, Wiener KammerOrchester and Royal Scottish National Orchestras.

Macdonald has also built up an extensive operatic repertoire and is now in demand in some of the world’s leading opera houses. Following his highly successful North American debut, conducting Carmen for the Canadian Opera Company in January 2010, Macdonald made his US debut that autumn at Lyric Opera of Chicago, conducting a new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 2012 debuts in the United States included new productions of The Rape of Lucretia at Houston Grand Opera (where he will return for Carmen in 2014) and Die Zauberflöte at San Francisco Opera. In 2011 he conducted Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Hänsel und Gretel at the Royal Opera House in London (where he has also conducted Fidelio, Das Rheingold, Owen Wingrave, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Orphée (Philip Glass) and opened English National Opera’s 2011-12 season with The Elixir of Love. In 2012, he conducted Delius A Village Romeo and Juliet at the Wexford Festival and The Cunning Little Vixen with the Bergen Philharmonic at Bergen National Opera.

Future operatic highlights include Die Zauberflöte with Royal Danish Opera and with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Il Barbiere di Siviglia with the Canadian Opera Company, and a return to Wexford. In 2014 he will make his debut at Santa Fé with Carmen and will conduct Britten The Turn of the Screw for the Vienna Konzerthaus with a cast including Angelika Kirchslager and Mark Padmore.

Rory Macdonald studied music at Cambridge University, and plays violin and piano. While at university he studied under David Zinman and Jorma Panula at the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen. After graduation from Cambridge he was appointed assistant conductor to Iván Fischer at the Budapest Festival Orchestra (2001-2003), and to Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra (2006-2008). He was also a member of the Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House (2004-2006), where he worked closely with Antonio Pappano on major projects such as the complete Ring cycle, and conducted performances of several operas.

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