Paul McCreesh

Conductor

"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

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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

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 *****

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****

Mendelssohn Elijah, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Choir

May 2014

“[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

Spring 2017

“…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.”

The Guardian

“This recording is well worth acquiring, to get to know one of Haydn’s most treasurable works

Classic FM

“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.”

Planet Hugill

“A musical hit from McCreesh” 

Trouw

J.S. Bach Easter Oratorio, Gabrieli Consort & Players

April 2017

“[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.

The Guardian

Handel Messiah, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

December 2016

"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."

Star Tribune

Recording: Britten War Requiem, Gabrieli Consort & Players

August 2015

"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

May 2015

“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."

Pioneer Press

Repertoire Selection

BERLIOZ

Nuits d'été
Roman Carnival Overture
Symphonie fantastique

BEETHOVEN

Symphonies 1-4, 6-9
Violin concerto in D major

BRAHMS

Serenades 1 & 2 
Symphonies 2 & 4

BRITTEN

Interludes from Peter Grimes
Les illuminations
Nocturne
Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge

COPLAND

Appalachian Spring
Clarinet Concerto

DVORAK

Cello Concerto in B minor
Piano Concerto in G minor
Symphonies 6-9

ELGAR

Cello Concerto in E minor
Cockaigne Overture
Serenade for strings (Introduction and Allegro)
Symphonies 1 & 2 

HAYDN

Seven last words from the Cross

MAHLER

Das Knaben Wunderhorn song cycle
Kindertotenlieder song cycle
Rückert-Lieder

MENDELSSOHN

Piano Concertos 1 & 2
Symphonies 1-11
Violin Concerto in E minor

MOZART

Ballet music from Idomeneo
Serenades

NIELSON

Clarinet Concerto

PROKOFIEV

Symphony No. 1 (‘Classical’)
Violin Concertos 1 & 2

SCHOENBERG

Verklarte nacht

SCHUBERT

Overture in the Italian style
Rosamunde
Symphonies 1-7

SCHUMANN

Cello Concerto in A minor
Symphonies 1,2 & 4

SHOSTAKOVICH

Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major

SIBELIUS

Lemminkäinen Legends
Valse Triste

STRAUSS

Four last Songs
Horn Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major
Metamorphosen

STRAVINSKY

Concerto in E-flat major (‘Dumbarton oaks’)

TCHAIKOVSKY

Romeo and Juliet
Serenade for Strings in C major
Suites 3 & 4
Variations on a Rococco Theme

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
Oboe Concerto in A minor

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