Duncan Ward

Duncan Ward © Alan Kerr
BIOGRAPHY

British conductor Duncan Ward has established himself as one of the most exciting and versatile conductors of his generation. He is chief conductor of Philharmonie Zuidnederland and music director of the Mediterranean Youth Orchestra, a new position created by the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

Recent highlights include his debuts with the Staatskapelle Dresden, Finnish Radio Symphony and return visits to the London Symphony Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and Orchestre de Paris. Duncan enjoys a regular relationship with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, and in summer 2021 conducted them at the Schleswig-Holstein and Klosters Festivals. Further afield, Duncan recently made his debut with the Moscow Philharmonic, and this season will return to China to make his debut with the China Philharmonic and Shanghai Symphony Orchestras. He is particularly acclaimed for his broad repertoire, equally at home with period instrument ensembles such as Balthasar Neumann, as with contemporary music specialists including Ensemble Modern and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

During the 21-22 season Duncan will perform for the first time at the Rhine Opera in Strasbourg, directing a new production of Così fan tutte and will return to the Cologne Opera — where he already conducted the German premiere of Hamlet, by Brett Dean— to recover Die Zauberflöte (The magic flute). Other operatic highlights have included the Chinese premiere of Peter Grimes in China; a new production of Simone's Passion, by Saariaho, at the German Opera, and a chamber version of Manon Lescaut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra at the Baden Baden Easter Festival, as well as several works with the National Opera of the Netherlands and Glyndebourne on Tour.

In 2006, Duncan co-founded the WAM Foundation, which sends young musicians from the UK to teach Western classical music in schools across India. He is also closely related to the South African charity MIAGI. Back in the UK he has led acclaimed productions with the homeless performers of Streetwise Opera, including at the London 2012 Olympics.

Also an accomplished composer – winner of the 2005 BBC Young Composer of the Year – Duncan is now published by Peters Edition. His works have been performed and recorded by the Swedish Radio Symphony, Magdalena Kozena, London Symphony Orchestra and BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

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