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KU’s Director of Orchestral Activities named Music Director and Principal Conductor at Des Moines Metro Opera

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

LAWRENCE- Des Moines Metro Opera announces the appointment of David Neely, Director of Orchestral Activities and associate professor of conducting at the University of Kansas, as the company’s first Music Director and Principal Conductor, effective September 1st, 2012. Neely, an internationally-known conductor, has been the Bruno Walter Associate Conductor with Des Moines Metro Opera since 2010.

Opera News magazine described Neely’s work with the Des Moines Metro Opera as “brilliant, brimming with color and intensity.” In his new role as Music Director and Principal Conductor, Neely will continue to conduct two main stage productions each season—Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin this year—while taking on additional responsibilities for the Des Moines Metro Opera Orchestra.

Neely will be charged with ensuring the overall quality of the Des Moines Metro Opera Orchestra, guiding the ensemble playing of the orchestra members and facilitating an institutional consistency in the pit which allows for musical excellence and performance flexibility between operatic styles and rotating conductors. He will also be responsible for conducting special performances by Des Moines Metro Opera when such performances require the use of the orchestra. Neely will collaborate with Artistic Director Michael Egel and Executive Director Karol Nickell on the company’s season repertoire and orchestral personnel.

“I am delighted that David has accepted the newly-created position of Music Director and Principal Conductor with Des Moines Metro Opera,” says Egel. “This appointment concludes our leadership transition that has been both artistically successful and fiscally responsible.”

“David's breadth of experience in Europe and in the United States brings valuable expertise to our audiences and artists,” says Egel. “His orchestral leadership of four productions over the past two seasons has received critical acclaim for its attention to detail and consummate musicianship. We look forward to collaborating with him as open our 40th Anniversary Season and lay the groundwork for our 2013 season.”

Neely first joined Des Moines Metro Opera in 2003 as part of the Apprentice Artist staff, in 2005 he began a five year stint as the program’s co-director. In addition to his engagements with the company, Neely has conducted with numerous orchestras and opera companies including Sarasota Opera, the University of Kansas Symphony Orchestra and the University of Texas Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. Internationally, his experience includes eleven years with opera houses and orchestras in Germany, where he has conducted more than 400 performances of works in a wide range of styles, including the German premier of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s The Silver Tassie in Dortmund, a Broadway production of Chicago in Munich and Basel and Hänsel und Gretel at the Eutin Festival in Germany. Neely’s conducting career has also taken him to Saarbrücken, Coburg, Bonn, St. Gallen, Bielefeld, Kaisersautern, Halle, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His repertoire of more than 60 stage works includes Otello, Carmen, Die Fledermaus, La Rondine, The Crucible, The Tales of Hoffmann, Werther, and The Barber of Seville. Neely has also conducted symphonies, ballets and musicals.

“I am thrilled to accept this position with Des Moines Metro Opera, an organization with which I have had a close relationship for a number of years and have long admired for its capable leadership, commitment to artistic values, overall style, and for the significant role it plays in the arts in the Midwest,” says Neely. “I look forward to serving in this expanded capacity and to working with Michael and Karol toward the continued success of the company. On a side note, my father's family is from Corydon, Iowa, so it is all the more meaningful to be able to call Des Moines Metro Opera my home in the opera world.”

Neely will continue his duties as associate professor at KU. He previously served as Music Director of the University of Texas Butler Opera Center. He will conduct Floyd’s Of Mice and Men for Sarasota Opera and La Traviata for Opera New Jersey in 2013. Neely holds degrees in piano performance and orchestral conducting from Indiana University, where his teachers included Leonard Hokanson and Zadel Skolovsky (piano), and Thomas Baldner and Bryan Balkwill (conducting). He also studied conducting with Gerhard Samuel at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.

The Des Moines Metro Opera, founded in 1973, is an independent, non-profit, professional opera company dedicated to bringing world-class opera productions and vital performing arts education to central Iowa. In addition to providing main stage productions, Des Moines Metro Opera is responsible for OPERA Iowa Educational Touring troupe, which brings opera to classrooms across Iowa and to more than 20,000 students, OPERAtion Opera Community Outreach Program, which works with more than 30 human service agencies to provide opera to underserved and at-risk audiences, and the Apprentice Artist Program, one of the largest vocal training programs in the country. In 2012, the Company will present its 40th Festival Season, from June 22 through July 15, 2012, at the Blank Performing Arts Center in Indianola. Featured -will be Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Puccini’s La Rondine and Tchaikovsy’s Eugene Onegin.

For more information, contact the KU School of Music at 785-864-3436. http://music.ku.edu

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