PeterWhelan

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Conductor & Harpsichord
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Melanie Moult

Melanie Moult

Associate Director
Philip Keegan

Philip Keegan

Assistant Artist Manager

About Peter

Artistic Director: Irish Baroque Orchestra & Marsyas Ensemble Artistic Partner: Irish National Opera Curator for Early Music: Norwegian Wind Ensemble

Olivier Award winner Peter Whelan, an acclaimed solo artist with an extensive and award-winning discography as a solo bassoonist, is among the most dynamic and versatile exponents of historical performance of his generation. He is the Artistic Director of the Irish Baroque Orchestra and Curator for Early Music of Norwegian Wind Ensemble.

As a conductor, Peter has a particular passion for exploring and championing neglected music from the Baroque and Classical eras. Recent engagements have included appearances with San Francisco Opera, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Meininger Hofkapelle, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, and Lahti Symphony Orchestra.

Highlights of the 2023/24 season include his critically acclaimed debut with Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists in their European tour. Other highlights included the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Dunedin Consort, la festa musicale, Meininger Hofkapelle, and Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra. He returned to conduct and tour with Irish National Opera in their production of Vivaldi’s ‘l’Olimpiade’ across Ireland and at the Royal Opera House, London.

Highlights of the 2024/25 season include an appearance at the Edinburgh International Festival with the Irish Baroque Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, and National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland. Peter makes his debut at Garsington Opera, conducting Handel’s ‘Rodelinda’ in July 2025.

Peter’s artistic direction in live performance and the recording studio has been widely praised for its “rich insight, style and charisma” (Guardian), its “stylish verve” (BBC Music Magazine) and “phenomenally energetic direction” (Artsdesk). As a champion of early music, Peter represents “the very best of contemporary trends in bringing this music to life: flex and zest with tempi, lithe and vigorous … an incredible alertness to colors and moods summoned by the cut-and-thrust harmonic footwork of this music” (Operawire).

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Season Highlights

May 2024
Sibelius Hall, Lahti
Mozart Requiem Lahti Symphony Orchestra Dominante Choir Peter Whelan (conductor) Aurora Marthens (soprano) Lilli Paasikivi (mezzo) Markus Nykänen (tenor) Matti Turunen (bass)
Sep 2024
Espoo Cultural Centre
Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No.1 in F major Stravinsky Pulcinella Suite Bach Sinfonia from Cantata 174 Biber Battalia à 10 Bach Brandenburg Concerto No.2 in F major Tapiola Sinfonietta Peter Whelan (harpsichord and director)
Oct 2024
University Aula, Oslo
Handel Concerti a due cori, HWV 332 & 333 Beethoven Symphony No.7 in A major Det Norske Blåseensemble Peter Whelan (conductor)

Photos

News

Press

  • Handel's 'Israel in Egypt' with Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra

    Palau de la Música Catalana, Philharmonie Luxembourg, St Martin in the Fields and Elbphilharmonie
    Mar 2024 - Mar 2024
    • An extremely effective reading with a sharpness that Whelan molded exquisitely.

    • Peter Whelan's direction played a crucial role, ensuring perfect harmony between choir and orchestra and intensifying the spiritual experience of the work. His mastery in balancing moments of great expression and those of intimate reflection captured the emotional and spiritual essence of "Israel in Egypt.

    • Nothing can be criticized of the detailed direction of the "substitute" Peter Whelan, always dynamic, brilliant and with absolute precision.

    • A thrilling performance of Handel's Oratorio - a sense of joy and release vividly conveyed under Peter Whelan's direction.

    • ★★★★★ This vivid choral work could hardly have sounded more exhilarating. Directing from the keyboard, he was mostly on his feet, all but dancing from start to finish. The orchestral playing was buoyant as well as sensitive, the choral work dazzling...Versatile is an inadequate description for this multitalented, Irish-born musician. affect with a pulsating energy and intensity that gave goosebumps.

    • The Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists under the direction of Peter Whelan overwhelmed the audience at the Elbphilharmonie... He wants to touch and overwhelm. And he succeeds, unleashing a stunning intensity. It's hard to bring this music, which is almost three hundred years old, to life in a more exciting, modern and rousing way.

    • ★★★★★ With shimmering gestures, Whelan connected with his musicians, teasing out every theatrical affect with a pulsating energy and intensity that gave goosebumps.