Music Director of Orchestre National de Bretagne and Music Director Laureate of the North Carolina Symphony, Grant Llewellyn is renowned for his exceptional charisma, energy, and easy authority in music of all styles and periods. Born in Tenby, South Wales, Llewellyn won a Conducting Fellowship to the Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts in 1985 where he worked with Bernstein, Ozawa, Masur, and Previn.
This season is his eighth as Music Director of the newly designated Orchestre National de Bretagne; last season, the Orchestra’s maritime conservation project Project Ponant received the Best Initiative for Musical Development and Outreach from the Syndicat Français de la Critique. Elsewhere, Llewellyn’s guest engagements have included the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Royal Scottish National Orchestra, amongst others. Llewellyn enjoys a continuing relationship with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales whom he led on tour to Patagonia and South America as well as joining their 90th anniversary celebrations and conducting their Proms in the Park in September 2018.
An accomplished opera conductor, Grant Llewellyn has appeared at the opera companies of English National Opera, Opera North, and the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, where his repertoire has ranged from The Magic Flute to Alexander Goehr’s Arianna. Recent productions include the US premiere of Handel’s Richard the Lionheart with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Fidelio with the Opéra de Rennes, where last season he led Mathieu Bauer’s production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, which received the Claude Rostand prize from the Syndicat Français de la Critique for Best Opera Outside of Paris (meilleur spectacle lyrique en régions).
After seventeen years as the North Carolina Symphony’s Music Director, Llewellyn currently holds the post of Music Director Laureate. Highlights from last season include a gala with Renée Fleming on the 90th anniversary of the Symphony’s very first concert. Llewellyn has conducted widely across North America, most notably the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Boston, Houston, Milwaukee, Montreal, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Toronto and recently at Caramoor Festival with the Orchestra of St Luke’s. During his time as Music Director of the Handel and Haydn Society, America’s leading period orchestra, he gained a reputation as a formidable interpreter of music of the baroque and classical periods.
Notable recordings with the North Carolina Symphony include American Spectrum, featuring 20th century works with the saxophonist Branford Marsalis, and Britten’s Cello Symphony and Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante with the cellist Zuill Bailey; and with the BBC Symphony Orchestra he recently recorded a disc of Lowell Liebermann’s orchestral works.
Deeply committed and passionate about engaging young people with music, Llewellyn regularly leads education and outreach projects; in 2017 he led the first ever “relaxed” BBC Prom with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, a concert specially designed for those with autism, sensory and communication impairments, and learning disabilities.
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