Since moving to London in 1996, David Charles Abell has conducted many of the top British orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Bournemouth, City of Birmingham, Royal Scottish and Hallé. Internationally, he has appeared with the Wiener Symphoniker, Orchestre Pasdeloup, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony, Seattle Symphony and New York Pops orchestras. His many television and radio appearances have encompassed a wide repertoire, from Johann Strauss with the period-instrument Wiener Akademie to Bliss and Beethoven with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Abell assisted Gian Carlo Menotti in the 1980s, editing the composer’s musical materials and attending the Spoleto Festivals. In 2007, Menotti’s son Francis invited him to return to the Italian festival to conduct the opera Maria Golovin and a special piazza concert celebrating what would have been the late composer’s ninety-sixth birthday. For his passionate advocacy of Menotti’s music, he was awarded the Festival’s Pegasus Prize for artistic excellence.
In addition to Menotti, Mr. Abell has made a specialty of the music of Gershwin (Cape Town Opera, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra, Iceland Symphony, Flemish Radio Orchestra), Copland (BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Iceland Symphony), Korngold (centenary concert with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra) and his mentor Leonard Bernstein (Châtelet, Bregenz Festival, BBC Symphony). He has conducted three times at the BBC Proms, including the highly acclaimed Sondheim 80th birthday celebration in 2010, broadcast live on BBC 2 television. The Sondheim theme continues in 2011, with Sweeney Todd at the Châtelet and Pacific Overtures at the new Arts Centre in Kanagawa, Japan. Having conducted the Les Misérables 10th Anniversary Concert in 1995, David recently revisited the legendary musical, conducting the 25th Anniversary Celebration in London’s O2 Arena.
Mr. Abell has appeared regularly with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in programs ranging from Copland’s Third Symphony to Only Men Aloud. His recording of the Gershwin Concerto in F with Peter Donohoe was featured on the CD accompanying BBC Music Magazine in August, 2008. A highlight of his work in Wales was Cymry for the World, the Grand Opening Concert of the Wales Millennium Centre. The televised event featured Bryn Terfel, Dennis O’Neill and the Welsh National Opera Chorus and Orchestra in addition to the NOW.
Born in North Carolina and brought up in the Chicago area, David Charles Abell’s early education included intensive study of singing, piano, viola and composition before a decision at age fourteen to concentrate on conducting. He gained degrees from Yale University and the Juilliard School, where his teachers included Jorge Mester, Sixten Ehrling and John Mauceri. He went on to study and work with Leonard Bernstein and attended the Conservatoire Américain in Fontainebleau, France, where he studied with the legendary Nadia Boulanger.