Rory Macdonald stands out as one of the most interesting British conductors of his generation. He leads stylish performances of classical and romantic repertoire whilst also relishing the chance to perform lesser known and contemporary works.
As an opera conductor, Rory is particularly admired for his interpretations of Mozart and Benjamin Britten. His 2018/19 highlights include a production of Britten’s Peter Grimes at the Brisbane Festival with Stuart Skelton and Sally Matthews. He has conducted new productions of Owen Wingrave and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Albert Herring for Glyndebourne on Tour; and The Turn of the Screw with Mark Padmore and Miah Persson at the Vienna Konzerthaus. In addition, he marked his US debut with A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Lyric Opera of Chicago, which was followed by The Rape of Lucretia at Houston Grand Opera.
Rory made his debut with Oper Frankfurt 2017/18 in Mozart’s Così fan tutte and returns to the house in 2020/21 for Le nozze di Figaro. Prior to that, Rory has conducted new productions of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera and Royal Danish Opera. He recently made his debut with Opera Australia conducting Die Zauberflöte at the Sydney Opera House.
Rory opened the 2017/18 season with Opera di Roma’s new production of Auber's Fra Diavolo, directed by Giorgio Barberio Corsetti. Other operatic engagements include Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen for Bergen Opera as well as new productions of Bizet’s Carmen at Canadian Opera Company, Houston Grand Opera and Santa Fe Opera.
On the concert podium, Rory’s performances this season so far include London Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony, Sinfonieorchester Wuppertal, and Ulster orchestras, as well as a return to Japan with the Nagoya Philharmonic and Kanagawa Philharmonic orchestras. His upcoming engagements include the Royal Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, and Essen Philharmonic orchestras, and his debut with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.
He has also had engagements such as return visits to the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish, Royal Philharmonic, Ulster Orchestra, and Royal Scottish National orchestras. He made his debut with Residentie Orchestra, Orchestra Filharmonica di Bologna and Prague Philharmonia, and conducted the première performances of Carl Vine’s Double Piano Concerto with Kathryn Stott and Piers Lane with both the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. In previous seasons Rory has conducted the Royal Concertgebouw, Netherlands Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, BBC Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and the Hallé Orchestra among others. He has conducted the premieres of works by notable composers such as Sir James Macmillan, Sally Beamish and Geoffrey Gordon.
Rory’s discography with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra includes an album with Danny Driver for Hyperion, and with Nicola Benedetti for Decca. He has also recorded Sullivan’s opera The Beauty Stone with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales for Chandos. His latest recording of symphonies by Thomas Wilson with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra will be released in 2019 on Linn Records.
Rory Macdonald studied music at Cambridge University. While at university he studied under David Zinman and Jorma Panula at the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen. After graduating from Cambridge he was appointed assistant conductor to Iván Fischer at the Budapest Festival Orchestra (2001-2003), and to Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra (2006-2008). He was also a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House (2004-2006), where he worked closely with Antonio Pappano on such major projects as the complete Ring cycle.