Conductors & Piano

Thomas Adès

Born in London, Thomas Adès studied at the GSMD and at King’s College, Cambridge. As a conductor, he has worked with the Los Angeles Philharmomic, Royal Concertgebouw, London Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Mariinsky and Ensemble Modern.

He performs worldwide as a pianist and made his Carnegie Hall solo debut in 2007. For The Royal Opera he has conducted The Tempest and The Rake’s Progress. Recent conducting engagements include The Tempest (Metropolitan Opera, New York, Vienna State Opera), The Exterminating Angel (Salzburg Festival), his three orchestral works Asyla, Polaris and Tevot with the London Symphony Orchestra, recently released on LSO Live and the UK premiere of Lieux Retrouves for cello and orchestra with Britten Sinfonia (BBC Proms).

This season, his engagements include The Exterminating Angel at The Metropolitan Opera, New York; concerts with City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and his debut with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

David Afkham is Principal Conductor of the Spanish National Orchestra and Chorus. He is in high demand as a guest conductor with some of the world’s finest orchestras and opera houses, and has established a reputation as one of the most sought after conductors to emerge from Germany in recent years. His first season at the helm of the Spanish National Orchestra in Madrid, featuring a Brahms symphony cycle, Brahms’s Requiem, and concert performances of Wagner’s Fliegende Holländer, was unanimously acclaimed by the press. In Summer 2014, David Afkham made a noted opera debut with Verdi’s La Traviata at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, later reviving the production with Glyndebourne on Tour.

Highlights of recent seasons have included debuts with the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony, Cleveland and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin as well as return engagements with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Gothenburg Symphony and the Orchestra of Accademia Santa Cecilia.

Born in 1983 in Freiburg, Germany; David studied at the Freiburg University of Music and the Liszt School of Music in Weimar. David Afkham was the first recipient of the ‘Bernard Haitink Fund for Young Talent’ and assisted Maestro Haitink in a number of major projects including symphony cycles with the Chicago Symphony, Concertgebouw Orkest and London Symphony Orchestra. He was the winner of the 2008 Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in London, resulting in him becoming the Assistant Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra for two years. In 2010, David Afkham was the inaugural recipient of the ‘Nestle and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award’, and was Assistant Conductor of the Gustav Mahler Jungendorchester 2009- 2012.

John Mark Ainsley has appeared with the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors, including the London, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco Symphony orchestras and the London, Berlin, Vienna and New York Philharmonic orchestras, with Davis, Haitink, Mackerras, Charles Dutoit, Masur, Norrington, Rattle and Abbado. He has performed on stage with the Glyndebourne Festival, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, English National Opera, Theater an der Wien, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Teatro all Scala Milan, Oper Frankfurt and Bayerische Staatsoper, with the Salzburg and Aix-en-Provence and Edinburgh festivals, and the BBC Proms. He has recorded extensively for the major labels and was nominated for a Gramophone Award. He won the Royal Philharmonic Society Singer Award, and is a Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music.

In 2016 John Mark was diagnosed with Leukaemia. Fortunately this was an early diagnosis and with ongoing treatment the prognosis for his general health is very good. However, he has decided that it is time to retire from public performance. It is still very much his intention to remain involved with singing and performing through teaching, adjudication and master classes.

Louise Alder studied at the Royal College of Music International Opera School where she was the inaugural Kiri Te Kanawa Scholar.

She is a member of Oper Frankfurt’s Ensemble where her roles in the 2017/18 season include Sophie Werther and Despina Così fan tutte. She also returns to Garsington Opera as Pamina in a new production of Die Zauberflöte  and to the Glyndebourne Festival as Sophie Der Rosenkavalier.

On the concert platform she sings the title role in Handel’s Theodora at the BBC Proms with Arcangelo and Jonathan Cohen; the title role in Handel’s Semele in London and Vienna with the OAE and Christophe Rousset; Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Paul McCreesh; Rossini Arias with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and Richard Egarr and Bach’s Johannes-Passion with the Royal Nothern Sinfonia and Harry Bicket.

Azerbaijani soprano Dinara Alieva graduated at the Baku music academy and joined the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow as soloist in 2010. She has won prizes at the Operalia Competition, Francesco Viñas Competition and Maria Callas Competition, and has since performed with the Wiener Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Oper Frankfurt, Semperoper Dresden, Staatstheater Stuttgart and Bayerische Staatsoper. Ms Alieva’s growing discography includes Pace mio Dio, a CD of Italian opera arias for Delos Records, and a recording of great Italian love duets with Alexandr Antonenko.

Engagements in the 2017/18 season and beyond include Mimi La boheme at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Violetta La Traviata at the Hamburgische Staatsoper, Desdemona Otello in Frankfurt, Nedda Pagliacci at the Liceu Barcelona, Liu Turandot for the Wiener Staatsoper, and her deut with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Violetta.

Baritone & Director

Sir Thomas Allen

Sir Thomas Allen is an established star of the great opera houses of the world. He has sung over fifty roles at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; in 2012 he celebrated his 40th anniversary of his debut with the company. An acclaimed recitalist, he is equally renowned on the concert platform and has appeared with the world’s great orchestras and conductors. He is Chancellor of Durham University. His many honours include the title of Bayerischer Kammersänger awarded by the Bayerische Staatsoper. In the New Year’s Honours of 1989 he was created a Commander of the British Empire and in the 1999 Queen’s Birthday Honours he was made a Knight Bachelor. Among his proudest achievements is having a Channel Tunnel locomotive named after him; and most recently, being awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music 2013.

Marcelo Raul Álvarez is one of the most important singers of his generation, most famous for his interpretation of the Verdi, verismo and  French repertoire.

His career has taken him to all the world’s major opera houses and renowned international festivals, including Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Paris Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, La Scala Milan, Vienna State Opera,  Chicago Lyric Opera, Teatro Colón Buenos Aires, Teatro Real Madrid, Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, Deutsche Oper Berlin and Opernhaus Zürich.

In recent seasons, he has given recitals at London’s Barbican Centre and Royal Festival Hall, the Wiener Konzerthaus, the Berlin Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall New York and the Mariinsky Concert Hall in St Petersburg. His collaborations with orchestra have included appearances with the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Chicago and London Symphony orchestras, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest. He has also given many performances directing from the keyboard, with orchestras such as the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Sinfonia Varsovia and Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

Piotr has been an exclusive artist with Warner Classics/Erato (previously Virgin Classics) since 2000. His first recording for the label was Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, which went on to receive a number of prizes including an ECHO Klassik award. He has also recorded a Grammy-nominated CD of Bach’s Partitas 1, 3 and 6 and a critically-acclaimed disc of works by Chopin. Piotr’s most recent disc of Bach’s English Suites nos. 1, 3 and 5 was released in November 2014, going on to win both a Gramophone award and an ECHO Klassik award in 2015.

Download Piotr’s full 2017/18 season biography here.