Andrew Gourlay

Conductor

Management

Jonathan Groves
[email protected]

Fiona Wells
[email protected]

Groves Artists represents Andrew Gourlay worldwide

Biography

Hailed “a star in the ascendent” (The Guardian), Andrew Gourlay has already conducted many of the world’s finest orchestras and served as Music Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León. A compelling interpreter of romantic and 20th century works from Mahler to Britten, Ravel to Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky to Rachmaninov, he is equally proficient at the cutting edge, having conducted more than 50 world premieres of leading composers including Turnage, Hillborg and Elfman, as well as national premieres of Reich, Larcher, and Weir among others.

Recent and future engagements include the London Philharmonic, the BBC orchestras, City of Birmingham Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Bremer Philharmoniker, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Belgian National, Antwerp Symphony, Bilbao Symphony, Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, Stavanger Symphony, Norrköpping Symphony, Tampere Philharmonic, Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, National Symphony of Ireland, Melbourne Symphony, Tasmanian Symphony and Auckland Philharmonia. 23/24 includes debuts with Queensland Symphony, Sinfonia Varsovia and RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Villa- Lobos premieres with the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música and a return to the City of Birmingham Symphony with his Parsifal Suite.

During his tenure as Music Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León from 2015-2020, having previously served as Principal Guest Conductor, Gourlay brought in and worked with many of the world’s great soloists, including Nikolai Lugansky, Isabelle Faust, Vadim Repin and Pinchas Zukerman. He commissioned compositions from Anders Hillborg, Thomas Larcher, Andrew Norman, and many others. He led the launch of the orchestra’s in-house recording label with discs of Shostakovich and Rachmaninov, the latter of which Gramophone acclaimed a “splendidly alert inaugural release”. He celebrated the orchestra’s 25th anniversary with performances of Beethoven Symphony no.9, and with the launch of an open-air concert series, Plazas Sinfónicas, now a regular event in the town squares of the region.

Andrew Gourlay has appeared regularly at the BBC Proms in London, most recently in a televised performance of Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. A passionate advocate for youth orchestras, Gourlay has also conducted tours with the National Youth Orchestras of Australia, Colombia and Ireland. Other Royal Albert Hall appearances include collaborating with Björk on her groundbreaking acoustic concert with the Aurora Orchestra, awarded 5 stars by The Times. Operatic engagements have included The Cunning Little Vixen directed by Sir David Pountney (Opera North), the UK premiere of Luca Francesconi’s Quartett (Royal Opera House), Rusalka and La Tragédie de Carmen (English Touring Opera). He conducted Tippett’s The Ice Break to great critical acclaim in a new production by Sir Graham Vick with the CBSO for Birmingham Opera Company. His premiere performances of Tom Coult’s Violet at the Aldeburgh Festival earned a nomination for best World Premiere at the International Opera Awards.

His Parsifal Suite, a 45-minute suite of orchestral highlights from Wagner’s Parsifal, published by Schott, has received premieres in numerous countries across Europe, North and South America and Asia. His own recording with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2022 was awarded a double 5-star review by BBC Music Magazine.

Born in Jamaica, Andrew Gourlay grew up around the Caribbean and East Asia before coming to the UK. He studied conducting at the Royal College of Music, where he prepared Bruckner symphonies for Bernard Haitink and Mozart symphonies for Sir Roger Norrington. He won First Prize at the Cadaques International Conducting Competition and held the post of Assistant Conductor to Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra. A professional trombonist until his mid-twenties, he played with many of the UK’s leading orchestras and was a member of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester under Claudio Abbado.

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

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Reviews

  • BBC Proms with National Youth Orchestra

    Andrew Gourlay conducted with a rewarding attention to the coherence and precision of his enormous ensemble as well as the thrilling virtuosity of its individual voices and sections[…]

    For Gershwin’s much-revised Rhapsody[…] Gourlay exulted in the lush, broad canvas in front of him. He drew ripe and expansive phrasing from his players, with a shameless swoon and gloss in the strings.

    Boyd Tonkin The Arts Desk
  • Hallé/Gourlay review – a Nutcracker of dark delights

    Andrew Gourlay is a star in the ascendant. He scraped off the crust of over-familiarity from Tchaikovsky’s score with the briskness of a man brushing frost from his car windscreen.

    Gourlay conducted with the lightest of touches that paradoxically revealed Nutcracker’s kernel of darkness.

    Alfred Hickling The Guardian
  • Shostakovich Symphony no.10

    I became completely emotionally consumed by this performance, bold and vivid, tremendous and overwhelming.

    Paul Hewitt Huffington Post
  • Stravinsky's Firebird with NYO

    The perfect gauze was followed by string playing of such sensuous beauty under the excellent Andrew Gourlay that you wondered if it was our most “French impressionist” orchestra, the Philharmonia, who were on the platform.

    Gourlay’s blend of sinuous, flexible movements and tight rhythmic control resulted in a performance of very balletic idealism.

    David Nice The Arts Desk, April 2023

News

  • Andrew Gourlay returns to Australia
    18.03.24

    Andrew Gourlay returns to Australia

  • Andrew Gourlay and the Britten Sinfonia in Bucharest and London
    05.09.19

    Andrew Gourlay and the Britten Sinfonia in Bucharest and London

  • OSCyL to release their first CD on their own label under music director Andrew Gourlay
    05.10.18

    OSCyL to release their first CD on their own label under music director Andrew Gourlay

  • Andrew Gourlay announces his third season as Music Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León
    16.05.18

    Andrew Gourlay announces his third season as Music Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León

  • Andrew Gourlay returns to the Proms
    30.04.18

    Andrew Gourlay returns to the Proms

  • Music Director Andrew Gourlay announces 2017/18 season of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León
    15.05.17

    Music Director Andrew Gourlay announces 2017/18 season of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León