Conductor Paul Daniel, Formerly of ENO, to Lead West Australian Symphony

Classic Arts News   Conductor Paul Daniel, Formerly of ENO, to Lead West Australian Symphony
Former English National Opera music director Paul Daniel has been appointed principal conductor and artistic advisor of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO), effective in January 2009.

Currently chief conductor of the Britten-Pears Orchestra in Aldeburgh, England, Daniel was at the ENO from 1997 _2005. Before that he was chief conductor of Opera North and the English Northern Philharmonia (1990-97), where he recorded for EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, Chandos and Naxos. He has also guest-conducted many leading orchestras, including the BBC Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. In February 1998, he received an Olivier Award for outstanding achievement in opera.

Daniel first conducted the WASO in July 1995 and most recently in April 2006. His contract calls for him to appear with the orchestra for at least nine weeks each concert season (which, in Australia, roughly coincides with the calendar year). He will lead a number of performances in the interim period.

While Daniel is highly regarded in the U.K., he is not well-known in Australia, according to Gramophone Online.

Daniel told The West Australian newspaper that he wants the WASO to embrace technology such as podcasting, streaming audio and digital broadcasting to reach new audiences.

The orchestra began talks with Daniel last December after having decided not to renew the contract of Swiss conductor Matthias Bamert, who had led the WASO since 2003. Orchestra musicians and management were reportedly irked by the amount of time and attention Bamert was devoting to the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, of which he became music director in 2005.

Last July it had been widely expected that Edo de Waart, now artistic director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic and formerly chief conductor or music director of the Sydney Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony, would replace Bamert. The WASO even sent out 2007 subscription brochures with de Waart's name on them. By November, however, negotiations failed (reportedly because of certain provisions in Australian tax law) and the orchestra's board was forced to make a retraction.

The WASO, which is headquartered in Perth, has also been searching for a new administrative and rehearsal base; according to The West Australian, it has teamed with a private developer and the National Trust to return to its former home at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation building in the city.

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