Winner of the 1999 Leeds Conductor Competition, Scottish-born Garry Walker currently presides as Artistic Director of Conducting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Chief Conductor of the Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie Koblenz.
Previously the Permanent Guest Conductor of Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and Principal Conductor of Paragon Ensemble, Garry Walker now enjoys a close association with Red Note Ensemble Scotland’s première contemporary music ensemble.
This opening season with the Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie Koblenz, Mr. Walker conducts a host of fascinating, thoughtful programs, including Ibert’s Homage a Mozart paired with Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony No. 41 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, as well as works by Kodály, Bartók, Haydn, Sibelius, Dvořák, and Brahms, among others. He leads the Orchestra of Opera North in the United Kingdom in a program of Britten, Mozart, and Elgar with violinist Elena Urioste, and conducts the world premiere of a new opera at Garsington Opera, The Skating Rink, written by British composer David Sawer and librettist Rory Mullarkey. In North America, Walker serves as guest conductor of the Asheville Symphony (North Carolina) in a program celebrating the impact of Scottish culture and music on the classical traditions, with a program that includes Arnold’s Four Scottish Dances, Debussy’s Marche ecossaise, Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1, and Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony. Recent highlights include engagements with the Auckland Philharmonia, Aberdeen Sinfonietta and Orchestra della Toscana as well as concerts with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa, Teatro dell’Opera Roma, and Philharmonie Zuidnederland. Last season, Mr. Walker made his debut with Opera North conducting Britten’s Billy Budd, lauded by The Herald (Scotland): “Conductor Garry Walker draws out every detail of the superb orchestration…” Mr. Walker has enjoyed collaborations with many of the finest soloists today, including Nicola Benedetti, Mischa Maisky, Truls Mørk, Branford Marsalis, James Ehnes, and Maxim Vengerov, among others.
Walker’s acclaimed American conducting debut was with the Utah Symphony Orchestra in the 2011-12 season, followed by his debut with the Pacific Symphony in 2012-13. Orange County Register named his performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade “one of the highlights of the (PSO) season.” In the UK Garry Walker has worked with every BBC orchestra, the Hallé, London Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, English Chamber Orchestra and Academy of St Martin in the Fields.
Outside the UK, Walker’s orchestral engagements have included the Nieuw Ensemble, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra dell'Opera Roma, Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin and Orchestra della Toscana, Auckland Philharmonia in New Zealand, and the Adelaide, Tasmanian, and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras in Australia.
An experienced opera conductor, Garry Walker conducted Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen for Garsington Opera in 2014 and has led productions at the Edinburgh International Festival, Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Scottish Opera, Ruhr Triennale and Lyon Opera.
"Presiding conductor for the occasion was Garry Walker. Was this his finest hour? It certainly felt like it in the cracking pace at which he delivered Finlandia; sensationally thrilling yet having the breadth at the climax to let the SSO ring out that golden theme, one of Sibelius's most inspired."
The International Herald Tribune
"In this concert, Walker's first main-season event since his appointment as principal guest conductor of the RSNO, there was a palpable reciprocal pride and confidence between players and conductor. Anyone wondering whether he could bring a much-needed breath of fresh air into the RSNO's playing would have been left in no doubt by the end of this concert. Walker brought suppleness, variety and a definite sting to the music."
“The highlight of the concert for this listener (and one of the highlights of the season, actually) was Walker's performance of "Scheherazade”… His affection came through in almost every bar. Walker painted vivid pictures but also told the story. It was a case of balancing the special effects of the orchestration with the pacing of the whole. He coaxed all the voluptuary shapes in the broad string melodies, made the dances nimble and crisp, and vaulted the tricky transitions in single bounds. He never pushed and made the cinematic climaxes the old-fashioned way, by earning them. This was all helped by a light touch (call it taste) and an attention to instrumental balances; we could hear everything.”
The Orange County Register
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