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Koen Kessels to succeed Barry Wordsworth as Music Director of The Royal Ballet

Barry Wordsworth to become Principal Guest Conductor.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

7 October 2014 at 12.31pm | Comment on this article

Koen Kessels has been appointed Music Director of The Royal Ballet, succeeding Barry Wordsworth who becomes Principal Guest Conductor from the 2015/16 Season.

'I’m delighted that Koen Kessels will join us as Music Director in September 2015,' said Director of The Royal Ballet Kevin O'Hare. 'As a guest conductor with us over the last six years he has got to know the Company well and we very much look forward to working with him from next Season in his new role. He becomes Music Director Designate with immediate effect.'

'I’m also delighted that Barry will continue his relationship with the Company and become Principal Guest Conductor next Season.  We have enjoyed a long relationship with him, including two periods as Music Director totalling more than 13 years, and have greatly valued his wealth of knowledge, insight and support. We are indebted to him for his contribution to the musical standards of the Company over many years. In addition to his work on the podium, Barry has also been a real advocate for the specific training of ballet conductors and ballet pianists, both absolutely vital elements for world class ballet performance.'

Barry Wordsworth has a long relationship with The Royal Ballet, having first been appointed as Assistant Conductor to the Company’s touring orchestra in 1972. The following year he became Principal Conductor of the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet and served as Music Director of The Royal Ballet from 1990 to 1995, a role he resumed in 2006 after a period with Birmingham Royal Ballet. He recently became Music Director Laureate of BRB, and has appeared as a guest conductor with companies around the world, including Tokyo Ballet, Leipzig Ballet and Paris Opera Ballet.

Koen Kessels will continue in his role as Music Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet where he also succeeded Barry Wordsworth.

Kessels joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2010 and has been a regular guest conductor for The Royal Ballet since 2008, conducting ballets including The Nutcracker, Giselle and the world premiere of Wayne McGregor’s Raven Girl. He has also been a regular guest conductor for Opéra National de Paris since 2005, and conducted at the Wiener Staatsoper, the Bolshoi, Brussels Opera de Munt, Antwerp Opera, Wiener Staatsoper, Teatro Real, Madrid;  Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, New York City Ballet, Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse; and Het Nationale Ballet Amsterdam. Kessels is on the artistic direction team at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp and is Artistic Director of the HERMES ensemble (specializing in contemporary music), Artistic Director of Inspiratum and Honorary Professor at the University of Birmingham.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

7 October 2014 at 12.31pm

This article has been categorised Ballet, Music and tagged conductor, Koen Kessels, Music Director

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