David Neely is Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Kansas.
Of his performance of Don Giovanni with Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera News stated “David Neely conducted a thrilling account of the score, ” and that his performance of Verdi’s Macbeth was “brilliant, brimming with color and intensity.” Of Vanessa with Sarasota Opera, The Classical Review stated that “David Neely…led an idiomatic and engaging account of Barber’s challenging score, drawing playing of great power and transparency” And of Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor in Dortmund, Opernwelt wrote: “In the pit, David Neely offers light and tasty fare. Nicolai’s score sounds like fragrant Italianità—one has seldom heard this music at once so delightfully tuneful and full of temperament.
David Neely appears with orchestras and opera companies in the United States and abroad, including Des Moines Metro Opera, Sarasota Opera, and the opera houses of Dortmund, Saarbrücken, Coburg, Bonn, St. Gallen, Bielefeld, Kaisersautern, Halle, the Eutin Festival, and a production in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He has an extensive repertoire of over 70 stage works in all styles that includes Otello, La forza del destino, Carmen, Don Giovanni, Nozze di Figaro, La Boheme, Il barbiere di Siviglia, La cenerentola, The Bartered Bride, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Werther, and La Juive, and ballets such as Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake and Giselle. He has also conducted musical theater, including the Broadway production of Chicago in Munich and Basel. In 1999, he led the German premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's ENO-commissioned opera The Silver Tassie in Dortmund and, in 2006, the American premiere of Robert Orledge’s completion of Debussy’s La Chute de la Maison Usher at the University of Texas. Productions he has conducted with Des Moines Metro Opera include Don Giovanni, Eugene Onegin, Macbeth, Le Nozze di Figaro, La Bohème, and Dialogues of the Carmelites. A frequent guest conductor with Sarasota Opera, he has conducted their productions Die Fledermaus, Halka, La rondine, L’amico Fritz, The Crucible, Vanessa, and Of Mice and Men.
His symphonic resume includes concerts with the Symphony Orchestra Vorarlberg (Bregenz, Austria), the Dortmund Philharmonic, the Bochum Symphony, the Eutin Festival Orchestra, the University of Kansas Symphony Orchestra, and University of Texas Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. In 2011, he joined organizers in Eutin, Germany to save the Eutiner Festspiele. There, an entire festival orchestra and opera cast made up of American students, mostly from the University of Kansas, were received with great acclaim by audiences and news media.
In 2012, he was named Music Director and Principal Conductor of Des Moines Metro Opera (the first in the company’s history). Before joining the faculty at KU in 2007, he previously served on the faculty of the University of Texas as Music Director of the Butler Opera Center and Interim Director of Orchestral Activities. From 2003-2009, he was an associate conductor with DMMO, and held the title of Bruno Walter Associate Conductor in 2007. He also served as Co-Director of the James Collier Apprentice Artist Program for five seasons. He 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 orchestral conducting with Gerhard Samuel at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he conducted his first operas: Tippet’s The Knot Garden, and Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen.