22 July 2007
Edo de Waart Named New Chief Conductor at Santa Fe Opera
Fe Opera general director Richard Gaddes announced today that
esteemed Dutch conductor Edo de Waart, who made his American debut
at the New Mexico company in 1971 and has since gone on to conduct
in the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia, has been named as
its new chief conductor, effective October 1, 2007.
De Waart has agreed to a four-year contract with the company, which
will find him conducting at least one opera each summer, beginning
with Billy Budd
in 2008. The title of chief conductor, in
contrast to that of music director, will make de Waart's primary
responsibility the oversight of the company's orchestra, though he
will also reportedly consult with Gaddes and the opera's artistic
department on issues of music and repertory.
"I have known Edo de Waart for nearly forty years," Gaddes is
quoted as saying in a press release issued by the company today.
"After hearing him conduct in Europe, I encouraged John Crosby to
invite him to Santa Fe. He is an extraordinary musician with a
reputation for orchestra building. Edo is a good friend and I am
certain his presence here will make an impact on the entire
"I remember well my American debut in Santa Fe. I conducted The
and right from that moment The Santa Fe Opera,
Santa Fe and New Mexico found a special place in my heart," said de
Waart, who from 1971 through 1998 conducted ten productions at
Santa Fe Opera. "I have been back many times since then and look
forward to my new relationship as Chief Conductor. It will be a
privilege and a pleasure to work with Richard Gaddes. In my view
The Santa Fe Opera is one of the finest musical institutions in the
United States and I'm very proud to be associated with such an
De Waart's appointment as the company's chief conductor ostensibly
ends the search for a replacement for the company's former music
director Alan Gilbert, who officially resigned in May of this year,
before the start of the current season, citing time constraints.
(Last week Gilbert was announced as the new music director of the
New York Philharmonic.) Santa Fe Opera also announced that Kenneth
Montgomery, the company's acting music director for the 2007
season, will also conduct three operas between 2008 and 2011.
Currently chief conductor and artistic director at the Hong Kong
Philharmonic, de Waart also holds the title of conductor laureate
of Holland's Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. Over the span of his
career, de Waart has come to be known as something of an "orchestra
builder," who has transformed the organizations he's worked with
into world-class ensembles. In addition to his posts in Hong Kong
and Holland, de Waart has served as chief conductor and artistic
director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, chief conductor of the
Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and chief conductor of the
Netherlands Opera; he also served as music director of the
Rotterdam Philharmonic during the 1970s, the San Francisco Symphony
from 1977-85 and the Minnesota Orchestra from 1986 through 1995.
Opera duties have taken de Waart to houses that include Covent
Garden, Opéra National de Paris, the Metropolitan Opera and
Bayreuth, and he has conducted complete Ring
cycles in both
San Francisco and Sydney. Likewise, de Waart presided over
performances of the world-premiere production of John Adams's
Nixon in China
at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and recorded
the opera with the Orchestra of Saint Luke's on the Nonesuch label.
In addition, he has led new productions of Der Rosenkavalier
in Paris and Le Nozze di Figaro
at the Met.
Born in Amsterdam, de Waart studied oboe, piano and conducting at
Amsterdam's Music Lyceum. He became the associate principal oboe of
the Netherlands' Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra after graduating,
and won the Dimitri Mitropoulos Conducting Competition at the age
of 23, resulting in his serving as assistant conductor to Leonard
Bernstein at the New York Philharmonic for one year. He was later
appointed assistant conductor of the Concertgebouw under the
tutelage of Bernard Haitink, before going on to serve as conductor
of the Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Netherlands Wind Ensemble.
More information can be found at Santa Fe Opera
and the OPERA NEWS Archives.
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