"Antony Walker conducts with a tight, fizzing beat. He brings out Gluck's expanding orchestral palette in all its technicolour glory, a real treat."
Harriet Cunningham, The Sydney Morning herald
"As ever, Walker led a nuanced and virtuosic performance."
Sandra Bowdler, Opera Britannia
"Conductor Antony Walker delivers the force of Gluck's music with warmth and vigour."
Paul Selar, Bachtrack
"Superb shaping of the music drama by conductor Antony Walker...."
Mark Kanny, Pittsburgh Tribune Review
With a repertoire of over 200 works from lyric opera, oratorio, choral and symphonic repertoire to his credit, Australian-born conductor Antony Walker is well-suited to the role of Music Director at Pittsburgh Opera, where he continues throughout the 2016-17 season. He has led performances at The Metropolitan Opera, Canadian Opera, English National Opera, Opera Australia, Santa Fe Opera, Welsh National Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of San Francisco Opera to name a few. Antony is also Music Director at Washington Concert Opera, for whom he conducts two titles per year.
A co-Artistic Director and principal conductor at Sydney’s Pinchgut Opera, Antony is a prolific recording artist, having conducted and collaborated upon several award- winning recordings, of particular note The Voice with Teddy Tahu Rhodes which garnered the 2004 ARIA Award for Best Classical Music Album of the Year. His DVD of the Emperor Concerto (also on CD as part of a complete set of the Beethoven Piano Concertos) won the international DVD Association Award for Music Excellence. Releases of Pinchgut Opera live recordings on the ABC Classics and Pinchgut Live labels have consistently won praise both in Australia and abroad.
Originally trained as a cellist, Antony Walker’s understanding of orchestral repertoire is broad and he is known for his incisive interpretation and execution, as well as his insightful reading of new works. Additionally a former tenor, he is particularly sensitive to the needs of vocalists, founding Cantillation—a chorus of professional singers—and leading the group in performances and recordings of early works. Formerly Musical Director of Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, he later moved to the UK to take up the position of Chorus Master and Staff Conductor for Welsh National Opera where he remained from 1998–2002.
Antony Walker is the recipient of numerous awards, including the distinguished Charles Mackerras Conducting Award. He was nominated for a DORA Award for Best Musical Direction for his interpretation for COC’s Maria Stuarda, and won the Green Room Award for his conducting of Alcina at Opera Australia.
Engagements in the 2014-15 Season include Dialogues des Carmelites at Washington National Opera, Strauss’s rarely heard Guntram at Washington Concert Opera, Otello and La Fille du Regiment at Pittsburgh Opera, Le Nozze di Figaro at West Australian Opera, and finally at the end of the season, Merola’s Grand Finale at San Francisco Opera. Appearances next season include his return to The Metropolitan Opera of New York, and at Washington Concert Opera he conducts La Favorite.
This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.
Italian Opera & Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Choral Arts Society of Washington
Walker expertly coaxed sensitive phrasing from the large chorus, allowing the orchestra to balance their powerful volume in “Gli aranci olezzano,” from the opening scene of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. The choir ran the gamut from soft crooning to full-throated patriotism in “Va, pensiero,” the nationalistic chorus from Verdi’s Nabucco, as well as supporting the soloists and taking over the prayer in the scene from Moïse et Pharaon.
Rossini’s Stabat mater...Walker elicited an ardent, shapely reading of the Introduction, stern and dark in color...This was a superlative performance from both singers and orchestra. Walker and his forces set a high and stylish standard for Rossini’s work, which Gianandrea Noseda plans to perform with the National Symphony Orchestra next April.
Washington Classical Review, Charles T. Downey, 20 May 2018
The Choral Arts sang the hour-long work with emotion and attentive musical reflexes to Walker, who drew upon his Pittsburgh Opera and Washington Concert Opera director experiences to conjure up some explosive and bittersweet sounds.
The Washington Post, Grace Jean, 20 May 2018
The Marriage of Figaro, Pittsburgh Opera
With...Antony Walker's expert leadership in the orchestra pit...the opening night audience participated quite personally in the drama on stage.
Conductor Walker allowed singers to ornament their lines (in Mozartean style)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Robert Croan, 5 November 2017
Conductor Antony Walker set the pace from the first note of the overture by vigorously following Mozart’s marking of presto...
Antony Walker and his brilliant orchestra dove into the music at a brisk and exhilarating pace that was maintained where appropriate and moderated throughout in accordance with the composer’s notations.
Pittsburgh in the Round, George B. Parous, 5 November 2017
Tosca, Pittsburgh Opera
...conductor Antony Walker led the orchestra and characters on stage in a tightly knit, dramatically compelling performance that brought this operatic chestnut vividly to life
Robert Croan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 8 October 2017
Conductor Antony Walker, in his twelfth season leading the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra, was in complete command from the opening crashing chords of Scarpia’s theme, and secured an especially sensitive performance from the brass section, which cues so many crucial moments in the story.
John S. Twinam, Opera Wire, 9 October 2017
There was a great deal to delight the ear as well. Antony Walker and the orchestra gave a performance that would have thrilled Puccini himself. This gifted group can always be counted on for excellence, but last night the score received a powerful interpretation in the many passages which require a gripping instrumental accompaniment and balanced these with those needing a more delicate sound quite exquisitely.
Pittsburgh in the Round, George B Parous, 8 October 2017
The Touchstone, Wolf Trap
And the whole thing was given added buoyancy by the conducting of Antony Walker, the artistic director of Washington Concert Opera and a known bel canto specialist. You couldn’t see him in the Wolf Trap pit, but you could practically feel him bouncing on his feet.
Anne Midgette, The Washington Post, June 2017
Conductor Anthony Walker and his thirty-piece ensemble brought Rossini’s music to life. Somehow that wonderful sound manages to project out of the tiny box that is The Barns orchestra pit. Although Rossini wrote this opera when he was only twenty years old, it is spot on Rossini. The ensemble arias are delightful and the Wolf Trap Opera chorus is excellent. You will enjoy the music.
Opera Gene, June 26 2017
The Summer King, Pittsburgh Opera
'...superb musical realization under Antony Walker...'
Pittsburgh post-Gazette, Robert Croan, April 2017
Semiramide, Opera di Firenze
The Australian conductor Antony Walker drew an outstanding performance from the Maggio Musicale Orchestra and led an international cast...
Opera Magazine January 2017, Matteo Sansone
Armida, Pinchgut Opera
The Orchestra of the Antipodes, the house band for Pinchgut Opera, made a stirring case for Haydn’s rarely performed Armida … under its founding musical and artistic director Antony Walker in his final appearance as Pinchgut’s co-artistic director.
Opera Magazine, Deborah Jones, October 2016
La Favorite, Washington Concert Opera
In Walker’s hands, the kinship between La favorite and Verdi’s mature style was particularly apparent. Donizetti’s music for Alphonse XI, the King of Castile, would dovetail perfectly with Verdi’s music for the Conte di Luna in Il trovatore, and Fernand’s high-centered vocal lines might be uttered just as convincingly by Henri in Les vêpres sicilienne. Balthazar’s scenes might have been cut from the same cloth as similar episodes in La forza del destino and Don Carlos. Without applying pressure greater than the music can withstand, Walker’s approach made Donizetti as much a peer of Verdi, Ponchielli, and Boito as of Rossini and Bellini, and the lesson in this is unmistakably legitimized by the composers’ bodies of work. Rodolfo’s ‘Quando le sere al placido’ in Verdi’s Luisa Miller is a close relative of Fernand’s ‘Ange si pur,’ and what is la Cieca’s ‘Voce di donna’ in Ponchielli’s La gioconda if not bel canto? Walker’s tempi were consistently appropriate for music and musicians, and he enhanced the continuity of the score by refusing to linger over ‘purple’ passages. Every emotion, gleeful or doleful, was given its due but not allowed to dominate unless its domination was clearly Donizetti’s intention. The circumstances of the company’s performances prohibit extensive periods of rehearsal, but such was Walker’s commitment—and the commitment that he inspired in his colleagues on the Lisner Auditorium stage—that this La favorite sounded like the culmination of a lifetime of study and preparation.
Joseph Newsome, Voix des Artes, 5 March 2016
Under the baton of WCO’s music director Antony Walker, the WCO orchestra gave a fine reading of this infrequently performed score, blending perfectly with the soloists and the company’s fine chorus which sang with great passion and feeling throughout.
Terry Ponick, Communities Digital News CDN, 8 March 2016
Iphigénie en Tauride, Pinchgut Opera, live recording
a performance out of the ordinary has reached CD... Two interpretative features stand out: justness of overall performing style on the part of every participant, with particularly vigorous choral delivery, and masterly conducting. From the opening, it’s clear that Antony Walker, an experienced Gluckian, is also an unusually sensitive one… he achieves an unfolding both secure and keenly responsive to the content of sounds and silence. Particularly notable is the pathos sustained throughout the third act, most intimate of the four. In other hands it can lose intensity – not here. ... This [recording] is alive from start to finish.
Max Loppert, BBC Music Magazine April 2016 (4 stars)
Walker’s stylish, spirited pacing of a wide repertory has been showcased in opera houses and concert halls throughout the world, and this recording confirms that his command of Gluck’s music is no less noteworthy than his mastery of Nineteenth-Century opera. Under Walker’s direction, the playing of Pinchgut Opera’s resident period-instrument ensemble, Orchestra of the Antipodes, is as red-blooded and large-scaled as Gluck’s score requires... This is a testament both to Gluck’s talent for molding coherent music dramas and to Walker’s intelligent handling of the music.
Joseph Newsome, BEST OPERA RECORDING OF 2015 - Voix des Artes, 14 December 2015
There can certainly be no argument as to the dramatic involvement inspired by Antony Walker, who after launching the opening storm with real ferocity subsequently handles the score’s more energetic passages with thrusting fervour...
Brian Robins, Opera Maazine, May 2016)
Nabucco, Pittsburgh Opera
The most famous part of the opera is “Va, pensiero,” the chorus of Hebrew slaves yearning to return home from captivity. It was beautifully paced by conductor Antony Walker and particularly well sung by Pittsburgh Opera Chorus. Conductor Walker provided a brilliant interpretation, equally sympathetic to music's “bel canto” style and the bigger vision of the young Verdi. Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra was at the top of its game, playing with panache and refinement.
Mark Kanny, Pittsburgh Tribune, 11 October 2015
The orchestral element was well handled by conductor Antony Walker. The rum-tum theme in the Overture bristled with vitality, and the foretaste of “Va, pensiero” made a mellifluous beginning.
Robert Croan, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 11 October 2015
Le Nozze di Figaro, West Australian Opera
In the hands of conductor Antony Walker (Pinchgut Opera), Mozart’s musical slapstick, harmonic suspense and exquisite lingering melodies have maximum impact.
Rosalind Appleby, The West Australian
Carmen, Pittsburgh Opera
Antony Walker, as usual, conducted the orchestra with a sure hand and fine grasp of the score.
George B. Parous, The Pittsburgh Stage Online Magazine
Conducting the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra, Antony Walker drew out energetic tutti playing and affecting details, such as chamber-like sections from the woodwinds and brass.
Elizabeth Bloom, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Guntram, Washington Concert Opera
...But this is hardly the first opera with a weak plot. And there is more than enough compensation from a score that boasts the unmistakable stamp of Strauss — long, irresistible melodic arcs; luscious harmonic turns; prismatic orchestration. These attributes emerged with consistent potency on this occasion, thanks to a fiery cast and the sweeping approach of conductor Antony Walker, who paced the opera (in the revised version unveiled in 1940) with a great sense of momentum that still allowed for affecting breadth of phrasing.
Tim Smith, Opera News
Dialogue des Carmélites, Washington National Opera
Maestro Antony Walker leads the WNO Orchestra with ease and gusto. Perfectly balanced under the singers, the orchestra maintains an intensity that makes Poulenc's brilliant orhcestrations sparkle.
Itai Yasur, Broadway World
Iphigénie en Tauride, Pinchgut Opera
Conducted with a breadth of conception yet an ever-present sense of the momentum of the drama by Anthony Walker, all of the principals acquit themselves with admirable elegance and sense of style.
Michael Halliwell, The Conversation
Musically, this production is in safe hands. Antony Walker conducts a generous-sized Orchestra of the Antipodes with a tight, fizzing beat. He brings out Gluck's expanding orchestral palette in all its technicolour glory, with period bassoons and trombones a real treat.
Harriet Cunningham, The Sydney Morning Herald
Conductor Antony Walker delivers the force of Gluck's music with warmth and vigour from a tight-knit Orchestra of the Antipodes. The score is plentiful in exposed orchestral playing which showcases the richness of the musicianship, all but for the odd straying horn and oboe. Squashed between the front row and the raised temple steps, their proximity to the cast ensured inclusiveness from which Maestro Walker comfortably supports his performers.
Paul Selar, Bachtrack
The Orchestra of the Antipodes, on period instruments, was conducted by Antony Walker, with concert master Brendan Joyce, and Erin Helyard on harpsichord. As ever, Walker led a nuanced and virtuosic performance.
Sandra Bowdler, Opera Britannia
Orphée, Pittsburgh Opera
Company music director Antony Walker led a performance that was both decisive and sensitive, with shrewdly judged dynamics. The orchestra played superbly.
Mark Kanny, Triblive
La Boheme, Pittsburgh Opera
Conducted by music director Antony Walker, the orchestra captured the score's diverse emotional character...
Elizabeth Bloom, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
But, first and foremost, Puccini's music pulls us in with its captivating melodies and luscious harmonies. The Pittsburgh Opera presents this gorgeous music, performed by a wonderful, evenly talented cast and the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra. The orchestra, under the direction of music director Antony Walker, has developed a continuity we have come to rely on for its expressive, musical performances.
Joseph Beiro, Triblive
Carmen, Opera Australia
Anthony Walker maintained a brisk energy in the pit, if sometimes at the expense of textual clarity, as in the quintet, or perhaps for the want of a more lascivious Habanera, but he drew excellent playing from the orchestra in which, particularly, the woodwind crackled like flames.
David Vance, Sydney Morning Herald
The production has another major asset in the form of conductor Antony Walker in the pit. From the first beat of his thrillingly driven overture onwards he reminds us of the sheer genius of Bizet’s memorable score and his growing reputation before his tragically early demise as France’s great musical colourist. Walker has ideas in terms of balance, tempi and phrasing and isn’t afraid to use them – listen to the exquisite entr’actes with their lovingly detailed (and played) solos for flute, bassoon, clarinet and oboe – or the soaring strings in the interlude before the bullfight. It’s a joy to be carried along by his zesty reading of a score that in lesser hands can sound over-familiar or routine.
Clive Paget, Limelight
Die Zauberflöte, Pittsburgh Opera
Walker deserves much of the credit for the evening's success. His pacing and balancing within the orchestra served the music well.
Mark Kanny, Triblive
Antony Walker’s Opera Repertoire
Nixon in China
I Capuleti e i Montecchi
Béatrice et Bénédict
David et Jonathas
Orfeo ed Euridice
Acis and Galatea
L'Anima del Filosofo
Hänsel und Gretel
Abduction from the Seraglio
Les Contes d'Hoffmann
The Elephant Man
Les Dialogues des Carmélites
Dido and Aeneas
Castor et Pollux
Bianca e Falliero
The Handmaid's Tale
Samson et Dalila
Troilus and Cressida
Antony Walker’s Concert Repertoire
Sonata da Camera
Leonore Overture No.3
Le Corsaire Ouverture, Op.21
Overture to Prince Igor
Spell of Creation
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
La naissance de Vénus
Edge of the World
Organ Symphony in D
Le Roi David
Adagietto from Symphony No.5
A Midsummer Night's Dream Overture
Flute concerto no.2 in D
Roméo et Juliette - 2nd suite
Concerto for piano left hand
Variations on a theme of Paganini
Three Botticelli Pictures
Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso Op.28
Overture to Les Danïdes
Viola Sonata, Op.147
Don Juan, Op.20
The Lark Ascending
Violin concerto No.5
Der Freischütz Overture
John Williams Fantasy Suite
Between Blue Rocks