Shrewsbury School

Old Salopian Fergus Macleod to take up a conducting post at English National Opera

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Former Music Scholar Fergus Macleod (Rt 2001-06) has been appointed as Mackerras Conducting Fellow at English National Opera. In a feature article published in The Scotsman, he describes his excitement at being given such a wonderful opportunity to develop his experience and skills as a conductor. He also talks about the inspiration he gained from the Music Department at Shrewsbury School.

"There was a really strong music department at Shrewsbury, run by John Moore, who grew up in Edinburgh, and saw no reason why the school orchestra couldn't play Shostakovich 5 or Dvorák 9," Fergus is quoted as recalling.

After leaving school, during which time he had regularly played with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, he went to Cambridge University as a Choral Scholar and found himself conducting within a week of arriving. "It was one of these odd quirks of fate. My director of music at Shrewsbury had been very keen to help me conduct, and I had put on concerts there conducting friends from NYO, so I came to Cambridge having done quite a lot. My college found out about this, and when, in my second week there, someone pulled out of an orchestral concert because they couldn't conduct Stravinsky's Pulcinella, I was asked to do it."

Besides taking up every opportunity to conduct during his time in Cambridge, including making his professinal conducting debut in 2009 with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Fergus also set up his own contemporary music ensemble. He then went on to study in Zurich with Johannes Schlaefli before moving to Glasgow to take up the position of Leverhulme Conducting Fellow at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS). He has recently conducted one of the performances in the RCS's production run of Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito.

Fergus' Fellowship at English National Opera - a two-year post - will mean assisting the Music Director (currently Edward Garden but soon to be Mark Wigglesworth) in anything up to 13 productions in his first year before being let loose to direct a production of his own.

Fergus conducts Red Note Ensemble in the opening event of the RCS contemporary music festival, Plug, on 30th April

Please see the full article published in The Scotsman: Fergus Macleod ready for the big time

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