Sir Mark Elder CH CBE

Conductor

Management

Jonathan Groves
[email protected]

Fiona Wells
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Groves Artists represents Sir Mark Elder CH CBE worldwide

Biography

Sir Mark Elder has been Music Director of the Hallé since September 2000, and became Principal Guest Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2022. He was Music Director of English National Opera (1979-1993), Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (1982-1985) and of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (1992 – 1995) and Music Director of Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, USA (1989 – 1994).

He has worked with many of the world’s leading symphony orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw, Budapest Festival Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra. He is a Principal Artist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and works regularly with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has appeared annually at the Proms for many years, including in 1987 and 2006, the internationally televised Last Night of the Proms and from 2003 with the Hallé Orchestra.

He works regularly in the most prominent international opera houses, including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera New York, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera Chicago, Glyndebourne Festival Opera.  Other guest engagements have taken him to the Bayreuth Festival (where he was the first English conductor to conduct a new production), Munich, Amsterdam, Zürich, Geneva, Berlin, and the Bregenz and Aix Festivals.

Sir Mark Elder has made many recordings with orchestras including the Hallé, London Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony, the OAE, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and ENO, in repertoire ranging from Verdi, Strauss and Wagner to contemporary music.  In 2003 the Hallé launched its own CD label and releases have met with universal critical acclaim culminating in Gramophone Awards for The Dream of Gerontius in 2009 and Götterdämmerung and Elgar’s Violin Concerto in 2010, and The Apostles won Recording of the Year in the 2013 BBC Music Magazine Awards. The recent release of Siegfried has completed his RING Cycle on disc with the Hallé and the complete cycle of Vaughan Williams symphonies is now available. A live recording of Lohengrin has been released by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

TV appearances include a two-part film on the life and music of Verdi for BBC TV in 1994 and a similar project on Donizetti for German television in 1996.  In November 2011 he co-presented BBCTV’s four-part series Symphony, and in 2012 fronted BBC2’s TV series Maestro at the Opera.  He presented a series of TV programmes on BBC4 during the 2015 Proms in which he talked about eight symphonies ranging from Beethoven to MacMillan featuring performances from the season’s concerts.

He was Artistic Director of Opera Rara from 2011 – 2019 for whom his many recordings included for whom recording projects have included Donizetti’s Dom Sebastien, Imelda di Lambertazzi, Linda di Chamounix, Maria di Rohan, a multi award winning releases of Les Martyrs and Rossini’s Semiramide.

Future concerts engagements include the London Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Boston Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the Hallé in Manchester and at the Proms and Bergen Philharmonic. Recent and forthcoming opera engagements include Carmen at the Opéra National de Paris, Benvenuto Cellini for Netherlands Opera, Meistersinger for San Francisco Opera, Billy Budd, Falstaff and La Traviata for Glyndebourne and concert performances of Lohengrin with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.  He opened the Met season in New York in September 2018 with a new production of Samson et Dalila and returned to Covent Garden in 2022 for a new production of Peter Grimes and in 2023 he conducted Aida and La Forza del Destino at Covent Garden and Meyerbeer’s Le prophète with the LSO at the Aix Festival.

Sir Mark Elder was appointed a Companion of Honour in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours, was knighted in 2008 and awarded the CBE in 1989. He won an Olivier Award in 1991 for his outstanding work at ENO and in May 2006 he was named Conductor of the Year by the Royal Philharmonic Society.  He was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2011.

This biography is for website use only. For a full and updated biography, please email [email protected]

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Reviews

  • Hallé Orchestra – Vaughan Williams's Sea Symphony

    This matchless concert of British music from the first decade of the 20th century closed with an outstanding performance, among the finest ever, of A Sea Symphony, Vaughan Williams’s vast, mystic setting of Walt Whitman, in which images of the sea and seafaring gradually coalesce into a pantheistic meditation on the soul’s search for God.

    This was the first time Sir Mark Elder had conducted the work, which made the completeness of his interpretation, at once controlled and ecstatic, all the more startling. Elder’s emphasis on the underlying symphonic logic was a reminder that the piece is not a cantata but a finely wrought four-movement structure that both embraces and redefines tradition. The debts to Beethoven (the Missa Solemnis in particular), Brahms and Wagner were carefully underscored.

    Yet the sonic majesty, and the overriding sense of a metaphysical journey, joyously undertaken, were spine-tingling in their immediacy.

    Tim Ashley The Guardian
  • Mark Elder and the Hallé surpassed any other account of Parsifal that Michael Tanner has heard

    The Proms season of Wagner operas — pity they didn’t do them all; Die Meistersinger would have been specially welcome, since no one else is doing it either — concluded appropriately with Parsifal, conducted by Sir Mark Elder. The conducting at all these performances has been remarkably good, but in some respects Elder was the most striking of all. Working with his orchestra, the Hallé, he produced an account of this miraculous score which, for a combination of passion and precision, surpassed any other that I have ever heard.

    Michael Tanner The Spectator

News

  • Ryan Wigglesworth and Sir Mark Elder feature prominently in the 2024 Aldeburgh Festival
    19.12.23

    Ryan Wigglesworth and Sir Mark Elder feature prominently in the 2024 Aldeburgh Festival

  • Delius’s epic Mass of Life featuring Sir Mark Elder CH CBE and Roderick Williams OBE released by Lawo Classics
    24.10.23

    Delius’s epic Mass of Life featuring Sir Mark Elder CH CBE and Roderick Williams OBE released by Lawo Classics

  • Sir Mark Elder CH CBE appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
    15.11.21

    Sir Mark Elder CH CBE appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Groves Artists at the 2021 Proms
    27.05.21

    Groves Artists at the 2021 Proms

  • Sir Mark Elder CH CBE nominated for Honorary Doctorate at Cambridge University
    12.02.19

    Sir Mark Elder CH CBE nominated for Honorary Doctorate at Cambridge University

  • Opera Rara have released Rossini’s Semiramide conducted by Sir Mark Elder CH CBE
    07.09.18

    Opera Rara have released Rossini’s Semiramide conducted by Sir Mark Elder CH CBE