"McCreesh leads an electrifying and fastidiously detailed account of the Britten"
Dallas Morning News, 2015
"How do you keep Handel’s great oratorio sounding fresh and relevant..? Hiring Paul McCreesh is one solution."
Star Tribune, 2016
"The profundity and coherence of McCreesh’s recording sets a new standard"
BBC Music Magazine*****, 2013
"McCreesh’s fresh new translation animates the top-class solo singing, while the massed choruses blow the roof off. Glorious"
The Guardian, 2017
Paul McCreesh has guest conducted many of the major orchestras and choirs across the globe, including most recently the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Bergen Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, Verbier Festival orchestras, and Berlin Konzerthausorchester. McCreesh also enjoys regular and ongoing collaborations with Saint Paul and Basel Chamber Orchestras.
From 2013-2016 he was Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser of the Gulbenkian Orchestra (Lisbon) with whom he conducted a wide range of music from the classical period through to the nineteenth and twentieth century, focusing in particular on symphonic repertoire, oratorio and opera in concert, working closely with the world-renowned Gulbenkian Choir.
McCreesh has established a strong reputation in the opera house and has conducted productions at the Teatro Real Madrid, Royal Danish Opera, Opera Comique, Vlaamse Opera and at the Verbier Festival, and most recently he conducted Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Bergen Opera, and returned to Vlaamse Opera for a production of Idomeneo.
In 2011 McCreesh launched his own record label, Winged Lion, in collaboration with the Gabrieli Consort & Players, Signum Classics and the Wratislavia Cantans Festival, where he was Artistic Director between 2006 and 2012. To date they have made seven recordings, most recently Haydn Seasons, released in spring 2017 and lauded by critics: “the communal sense of joy is infectious” (Financial Times) and “Glorious” (Guardian). Other highlights include Britten War Requiem (BBC Music Magazine Award 2014), Mendelssohn Elijah (Diapason d’Or Award 2013), Berlioz’s gargantuan Grande Messe des Morts (BBC Award 2012), and a reworking of his earlier Gabrieli disc, A New Venetian Coronation 1595 (Gramophone Award 2013). The Winged Lion recordings build on his large catalogue of recordings with Deutsche Grammophon, which includes the Gramophone Award-winning Haydn Creation.
In 2017/18 he makes his debut with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra at the Haydn Festival Burgenland, and with the Bremen Philharmonic in a programme of Mozart and Britten, and returns to the Royal Northern Sinfonia for two programmes including works by Mozart, Haydn, Elgar and Mendelssohn, as well as to the Prague Philharmonia and the Arctic Chamber Orchestra.
This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.
Recording CD: Silence & Music, Gabrieli Consort
Signum Classics, October 2017
The Gabrieli Consort, conducted by Paul McCreesh, sings Stanford’s “The Blue Bird” with such abstracted beauty that enchantment sets in from the opening minutes.
Richard Fairman, The Financial Times****
The Gabrieli's latest themed CD, beautifully produced in all respects, celebrates the concision and intensity of 20th-century British part songs, from Elgar and Warlock to James MacMillan and Jonathan Dove, from the stark (Grainger’s The Three Ravens) to the ethereal (Vaughan Williams’s Rest). The opening song, Stanford’s The Blue Bird, uses a group of sopranos on the top line – apparently as the composer intended – instead of the usual soloist. The effect is arresting, and typical of the attention to text and score demonstrated by Paul McCreesh and his singers in each of these songs ... These miniatures are rich, each in need of proper savouring.
Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian****
The musical care and the easy, unforced shaping of lines from the Gabrielis is all the ornament works like Elgar’s There is sweet music and Howells’s The summer is coming need, and the two Vaughan Williams settings – Silence and Music and the expansive Rest – sit just the right side of sentimentality…The result is a clever mixture of moods – a disc that takes the part-song into the 21st century not only in repertoire but also in style
Alexandra Coghlan, Gramophone
Sometimes the best discoveries in music aren’t pieces that you’ve never heard before, but those you have, made new by remarkable interpretations. That’s certainly the case with Stanford’s The Blue Bird, long a staple of the English Choral Repertoire, as sung by the Gabrieli Consort on this new recording. The feeling of partial, hovering detachment conductor Paul McCreesh creates between the gently lapping four-part underlay, and the five sopranos gliding ‘across the waters’ in unison, is magical, creating the special frisson intended by Stanford as he translated a fleetingly wonderful scene from nature into music. Sometimes similar happens in Elgar’s Owls, where McCreesh and his super-sensitive singers distil a gripping sense of mysterious nocturnal rustlings. […] This is a beautifully constructed programme, sung with consummate assurance and self-effacing artistry.
Terry Blain, Choral and Song Choice *****
Mendelssohn Elijah, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Choir
“[The performance] brought the scale and force of Mendelssohn's gestures into spectacular focus. After a portentous opening, the angular orchestral fugue of the Overture led in a straight line to a startling, thrilling choral outburst Help Lord, which certainly gets straight to the point. In the hours that followed the musical precision and balance made absorbing listening… The Sydney Symphony Orchestra bristled and glowed with finesse."
Sydney Morning Herald
Recording: Haydn The Seasons, Gabrieli Consort & Players, Wrocław Baroque Orchestra, National Forum of Music Choir
“…this recording brings [The Seasons] thrillingly to life… Paul McCreesh assembles a massive throng of singers and players, the numbers that might have performed the piece in 1801. And what a noise they make! McCreesh’s fresh new translation animates the top-class solo singing, while the massed choruses blow the roof off. Glorious.”
“This recording is well worth acquiring, to get to know one of Haydn’s most treasurable works
“For the first time this recording aims to present a period performance on an authentically grand scale… Paul McCreesh conducts his own English version, perfectly enunciated by the British/Polish choir, and the communal sense of joy is infectious. The three soloists are first-rate. So is the recording. An uplifting performance all-round.”
The Financial Times
"Substantial choral and orchestral forces captured in sound that is both expansive and immediate."
Recording of the Month, ClassicalMusic.com
“McCreesh clearly relishes the sheer range of colours which the period instruments are able to bring to Haydn's music, this is a recording which is full of colour … by rediscovering the work's essential qualities and not trying for portentousness, McCreesh has enabled me to enjoy the work far more for its own qualities … some period instrument performances simply re-work a piece into a pre-conceived image, but here McCreesh has enabled us to listen to Haydn's The Seasons with new ears.”
“A musical hit from McCreesh”
J.S. Bach Easter Oratorio, Gabrieli Consort & Players
“[the performance] acquired exceptional energy and zest. Every line, every texture could be heard... all felt natural and alive, as if this had to be the sound Bach wanted, on these exact instruments. We can never know absolutely, but if a performance convinces you, the musicians have done their job.
Handel Messiah, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
"How do you keep Handel’s great oratorio sounding fresh and relevant..? Hiring Paul McCreesh is one solution. The English conductor is a choral specialist, and he brought a rare clarity and dynamism to the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Messiah...McCreesh’s take on Handel’s masterpiece was bracingly direct and free of pomposity."
Recording: Britten War Requiem, Gabrieli Consort & Players
"McCreesh leads an electrifying and fastidiously detailed account of the Britten. Both choruses and orchestra are absolutely first-rate, and the recording, from performances in three different venues, is almost freakishly lifelike.”
Dallas Morning News
Wagner, Britten, Mozart, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
“McCreesh was a joy to watch, coaxing a dancing quality from the music at every opportunity, floating in place on the first movement and turning the minuet into a foot-stomping mazurka… this Mozart performance bore the earmarks of the kind of fresh, enthusiastic perspective that evangelists for the early often bring to their interpretations."
Symphonies 1-4, 6-9
Serenades 1 & 2
Interludes from Peter Grimes
Cello Concerto in B minor
Cello Concerto in E minor
Seven last words from the Cross
Das Knaben Wunderhorn song cycle
Piano Concertos 1 & 2
Ballet music from Idomeneo
Symphony No. 1 (‘Classical’)
Overture in the Italian style
Cello Concerto in A minor
Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major
Four last Songs
Concerto in E-flat major (‘Dumbarton oaks’)
Romeo and Juliet
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis