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William Kunhardt

Conductor

BIO

William Kunhardt made his professional debut aged 22, going on to win the James Conlon Prize at Aspen Music Festival three years later.

William then became the first conducting fellow to be immediately engaged as a guest artist by Festival Director Robert Spano.

He has since been invited to conduct orchestras and festivals across Europe, Asia and America. Recent highlights include his NPR debut with Sarah Chang and Hector Del Cueto, the US premiere of Mike Mills Violin Concerto with Robert McDuffie and Aspen Festival Orchestra, Rossini and Strauss with Athens Symphony Orchestra, concerts of Tchaikovsky and Brahms with the Romanian Radio Orchestra, and Mendelssohn and Mozart with the Hallé, Manchester.

Other career highlights include invitations to perform in an elite group at Snape Maltings’ Britten Centenary Weekend and in the first ever orchestral concert at the British Museum, London. Further debuts have included the National Radio Orchestras of Bulgaria and Romania, Athens and Tallinn Cameratas, Sweden’s O:Mordent Orkester, State Orchestras in Greece and Moldova, the Lucerne Festival Strings and festivals in Germany, France and Bahrain.

As Artistic Director of the Arensky Chamber Orchestra William has established a reputation for tireless innovation.

From live programme notes to chamber jams, he has created concert formats that have lowered the ACO’s audience age to 10 years below UK classical averages. Driven by his musicianship and charismatic audience interaction, the ACO’s work has now been sold out for three years and counting.

With the ACO, William has made debuts at the Southbank Centre, Kings Place and Cadogan Hall. He has recorded symphonies by Beethoven and Mozart, Ravel’s Tombeau de Couperin, concerti with Jennifer Pike, Benjamin Grosvenor, Andrew Haveron and Andriy Viytovych, all for Classic FM, winning praise from the critics of the Independent, Guardian and Telegraph. In 2017, the ACO became a UK Arts Council funded ensemble, a partner orchestra of the National Gallery, London and a partner of TimeOut. They now turn their attention to an immersive concert series that puts classical music in the realm of Secret Cinema and Punchdrunk for the very first time.

William’s formative years were shaped by some of the world’s leading conductors, most significantly Bernard Haitink. He also studied with Paavo and Neeme Jarvi, Peter Eotvos, Heinz Holliger, and Robert Spano, won fellowships at Lucerne, Aspen and IRCAM festivals and worked as assistant for Sir Mark Elder, most notably for the Hallé’s recent recording of Mahler’s 6th Symphony.

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Photography by

Roza Zah