Alpesh Chauhan appointed Music Director of BOC
It is breath-taking to see a young role model making his mark into the mainstream of British arts and culture. The Birmingham Opera Company has appointed locally born Alpesh Chauhan as their new Music Director.
Chauhan will stand alongside Artistic Director Graham Vick leading the Company on its mission to make great opera for all the peoples of Birmingham.
"It’s a huge privilege for me to take up the post of Music Director at the Birmingham Opera Company,” said Chauhan.
“Following the success of last year’s project - Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk - I’m particularly excited to work more alongside Graham Vick - one of the world’s greatest opera directors. It’ll be an honour to stand at the front of this special organisation which combines its massed forces to be a shining beacon for Birmingham,” he added.
On the appointment Graham Vick, Artistic Director, Birmingham Opera Company said: "From the word go it was clear to me that Alpesh not only was an outstanding conductor with great theatrical flair but also had a profound empathy for the Company. As the need for the Company’s values becomes ever more urgent, I am thrilled that he has agreed to join me at the helm.”
People of Indian origin are highflyers in Indian led music and to some extent have made minor inroads into mainstream popular music. But making inroads into mainstream British classical and opera has been minimal. So to see such a leap of musical faith marks another milestone for British Indians breaking down barriers and positively serving the genre and the nation.
“Growing up in Birmingham gave me the best of musical starts - being immersed in a city of culture at the highest level - and I’m now extremely happy to be a regular contributor to the city’s glowing cultural output. I am especially delighted to be a part of an organisation such as BOC which constantly thinks outside of the box with its totally immersive performances, successfully broadening the opera audience,” explained Chauhan.
A keen advocate of music education for young people, Alpesh has worked with ensembles such as the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and the symphony orchestras of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Royal Northern College of Music. He was the conductor of the second BBC Ten Pieces film which brought the world of classical music into secondary schools across the country and received a prestigious BAFTA award. He is a patron of Awards for Young Musicians, a UK charity supporting talented young people from disadvantaged backgrounds on their musical journeys. He has also written on the vital importance and necessity of exposing young children to music in Music Teacher magazine.
Chauhan was born in Birmingham. His mother worked for Bank of India and his father was a lorry driver. They must be so proud of their son’s achievements. He was Principal Cello with the CBSO Youth Orchestra. He entered the Royal Northern College of Music in 2008 to study the cello before pursuing the prestigious master’s Conducting Course.
Highlights of Chauhan’s career include a subscription concert with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre and his BBC Proms debut with the BBC Philharmonic, a production of Turandot in Valencia at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía as well as regular appearances with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra where until 2016 he was Assistant Conductor.
For the past five years, Alpesh has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini in Parma, who awarded him the title of Principal Conductor and with whom he has performed and recorded staples of the great symphonic repertoire, including a complete cycle of Brahms’ symphonies. He regularly appears as a guest with acclaimed British orchestras including across the UK and further afield internationally.
Chauhan made his UK opera debut in 2019 with Birmingham Opera Company, the CBSO and director Graham Vick for Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, which won a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. He is a finalist in the International Opera Awards 2020.
Photo credits: Patrick Allen/ Opera Omnia. BBC.