Representation: General Management
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 July 2011 he appeared for the first time at the Oregon Bach Festival. Such was the impact of his performances there, he was immediately asked to succeed Helmuth Rilling as Artistic Director at the close of the 2013 Festival. His inaugural Festival included performances of Verdi’s Requiem, Monteverdi Vespers as well as his own reconstruction of Bach’s St Mark Passion. Summer 2015 sees the Oregon Bach Festival launch the Berwick Academy for Historically Informed Performance under his leadership, a new national training programme for advanced students.
In 2013, he made his Toronto Symphony debut, performing a critically acclaimed interpretation of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and is reinvited this season for their Mozart Festival. 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 and this season with Poulenc and Mendelssohn. Other recent and upcoming North American engagements include his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra and appearances with the Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, in repertoire from Bach and Handel to Beethoven, Kernis, Mendelssohn, Messiaen, Mozart, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and Tippett.
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, Musica Viva Moscow, Royal Northern Sinfonia, RTE National Symphony, Tonkünstler Orchestra NÖ, and regular appearances in Austria and on tour with the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra with whom he appears at the 2015 Salzburg Festival. Last season he appeared with Concentus Musicus Wien at the Internationale Barocktage Stift Melk, marking the start of collaborations between the orchestra and guest conductors. This season he is invited to Australia to conduct the Adelaide, Melbourne and West Australian Symphony Orchestras.
In the opera house, his repertoire covers Renaissance, Baroque and Classical works, but also extends to later works, with a particular focus on Britten. Spring 2014 saw him lead Handel’s Ariodante at the Aalto-Musiktheater Essen and he 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 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.
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. Passionately committed to education and working with young musicians, he has taught regularly at summer schools and courses.
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Email: Catherine Gardiner