The word “versatile” is an apt description for British conductor Matthew Halls. He first came to prominence as a keyboard player and early music conductor, but Halls, still in his 30s, 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.
When he led Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the Toronto Star declared that the performance “captured much of the energy and excitement that its first audience must have felt at its premiere nearly 200 years ago.” Other recent and upcoming North American engagements include appearances with the Cleveland and Los Angeles Chamber orchestras; and Seattle, Houston and Colorado symphony orchestras in repertoire from Bach and Handel to Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninov, Tippett and Kernis. 2014 marks Halls’s first festival as artistic director of the Oregon Bach Festival.
European orchestras – including the BBC Scottish and Frankfurt Radio symphonies, Bergen and Bremen philharmonics, and Tonkünstler Orchestra NÖ – are equally eager to welcome Halls to their podiums. He makes regular appearances in Austria and on tour with the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, and is invited to Australia to conduct the 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. His has recently appeared with Central City Opera Colorado, Handelfestspiele Halle, Salzburg Landestheater, Aalto-Musiktheater Essen, Netherlands Opera and Bayerische Staatsoper.
Halls’s recordings include a set of four Bach Harpsichord Concertos (Linn Records) and Bach’s Easter and Ascension oratorios, as well as award-winning discs of Handel’s Parnasso in Festa (Hyperion) and Purcell’s Sonatas in Three and Four Parts.
Educated at Oxford University, Halls taught at the University for five years, and has held positions as artistic director of the King’s Consort and the Retrospect Ensemble, which he founded in 2009. Passionately committed to education and working with young musicians, he has taught regularly at summer schools and courses.
Visit Matthew Halls on the web at www.schwalbeandpartners.com.