Sian Edwards (7 December)
One of today’s most respected and charismatic conductors, Sian Edwards studied at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music, and later with Sir Charles Groves, Neeme Järvi and the Russian pedagogue Ilya Musin. Less than two years after gaining First Prize in the 1984 Leeds International Conducting Competition, she made her operatic debut in Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny for Scottish Opera, followed by La Traviata at Glyndebourne.
Equally at home in contemporary music, she gave the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Greek in 1988 the Munich Festival, following it with further performances at that year’s Edinburgh International Festival. She was the first female conductor to be engaged by the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, when she conducted The Knot Garden by Tippett, to whose music she feels especially close, and who was a friend.
During the 1990s she was Music Director of English National Opera. Her symphonic work has brought her before such ensembles as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland, St Petersburg Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic and City of Birmingham Symphony orchestras, the Orchestre de Paris, Ensemble Modern and the London Sinfonietta. In addition, as Head of Conducting at London’s Royal Academy of Music, she is also in demand as a popular and inspirational teacher.
Her discography includes, for EMI, Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Ravel’s Mother Goose suite and Peter and the Wolf (with the late and lamented humorist Willie Rushton), and for Collins Classics Judith Weir’s Blond Eckbert with English National Opera.
When not working, Sian Edwards loves being in the countryside, ‘but the main thing I seem to do when I’m not conducting is DIY!’.