Conductors

Harry Bicket

Artistic Director, The English Concert
Chief Conductor, Santa Fe Opera (Music Director from October 2018)
Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music (Hon RAM)

Introduction

Internationally renowned as an opera and concert conductor of distinction, Harry Bicket is especially noted for his interpretation of baroque and classical repertoire and in 2007 became Artistic Director of The English Concert, one of the UK’s finest period orchestras. He became Chief Conductor of Santa Fe Opera in 2013 and from 2018 assumes the Music Directorship. Productions at Santa Fe in recent seasons have included Fidelio, La Finta Giardiniera, Romeo et Juliette, Alcina and Candide. Born in Liverpool, he studied at the Royal College of Music and Oxford University.

Plans for the 2018/19 season include return visits to Metropolitan Opera (The Magic Flute), Lyric Opera of Chicago (Ariodante), Cleveland Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera (Cosi Fan Tutte and Strauss’ Four Last Songs with Renee Fleming), Prague Philharmonia featuring Beethoven’s The Creatures of Prometheus, and whilst in Chicago also conducts Music of the Baroque. Plans with The English Concert include Harry’s own arrangements of Mozart works for mechanical clockwork organ, Bach Cantatas for Advent and Wayne Eagling’s Remembrance ballet, set to Handel’s Ode to St Cecilia’s Day, at the English National Ballet Theatre. The orchestra continues their Handel opera series with performances of Semele in Europe and the United States including Theatre de Champs Elysées, Barbican Centre and Carnegie Hall.


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Video & Audio

Performance Schedule

From The Green Room

Discography

  • More info  
    06 Aug 18 Candide Santa Fe Opera
    Santa Fe Opera

    “Harry Bicket’s incisive conducting gave the score its trademark pizzazz as well as moments of sheer beauty.”

    Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal, 6 August 2018

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    30 Mar 18 Bach St John Passion Royal Northern Sinfonia
    Sage One

    ★★★★★

    “Under the direction of Harry Bicket, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Chorus and a fine line-up of soloists moved effortlessly between the Passion’s two time frames, bringing a new perspective on a piece I thought I knew very well.”

    “Bicket started the orchestra firmly, before pulling back and letting the tension mount before a magnificent entry from the chorus, and this pattern continued throughout the evening, particularly in the chorales.”

    “Through Jesus’ trial, the chorus became horribly human, with quiet menace in the priests’ “Wir dürfen niemand töten”, through to a “Kreuzige”, that had me quailing in terror before its ferocious rage. In these complicated choruses and in the simple chorales, Bicket paid attention to every nuance in both choir and orchestra, and you could see him shaping these details in his conducting as well as hearing them in the music. There was also good singing from the chorus members who stepped out for the small solos, particularly Peter Carey’s Pilatus.”

    Jane Shuttleworth, Bachtrack, 31 March 2018

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    25 Mar 18 Handel: Rinaldo The English Concert
    Carnegie Hall

    ★★★★★

    “Bicket and The English Concert leave Carnegie Hall thrilled”

    “What a great band The English Concert is, and what a wise leader Harry Bicket is. Nary a scratchy violin nor an off-key trumpet; only bright, alert playing with judicious embellishments and a superb sense of drama.”

    Robert Levine, Bachtrack, 27 March 2018

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    09 Dec 17 Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro Metropolitan Opera
    Metropolitan Opera

    “Conductor Harry Bicket led a stylish, taut and efficient performance without sacrificing the lush melodies and harmonies of Mozart’s score. His tempo was just right, with enough variation to keep us engaged, and his dynamic control was superb, allowing singers to float their lines above the music. The complex ensemble singing at the end of Act 2 was performed with exquisite beauty, deft balance and control. Linda Hall, on harpsichord, played with unusual strength and clarity.”

    Ako Imamura, Bachtrack, 10 December 2017

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    29 Jul 17 Alcina Santa Fe Opera
    Santa Fe Opera

    “Harry Bicket showed again why he is so reliable with this music, conducting a performance replete with subtle pleasures, from unexpected touches of texture (he used a Baroque harp as a continuo instrument to complement himself on harpsichord and the singers) to dramatically revelatory dynamic contrasts. His intuition of the right pacing to bring out Alden’s staging was unfailingly persuasive. “

    Thomas May, Bachtrack, 30 July 2017

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    30 Mar 17 Handel, Rameau, Purcell Cleveland Orchestra
    Severance Hall

    “Harry Bicket charms with all-Baroque Cleveland Orchestra program”

    “Bicket’s program of Handel, Rameau and Purcell was thoroughly delightful, with three works new to The Cleveland Orchestra.”

    “Harry Bicket contributed stylish continuo”

    Timothy Robson, Bachtrack, 01 April 2017

     

    “Cleveland Orchestra takes deep, welcome dive into the Baroque with guest conductor Bicket”

    “Bicket coaxed some of the most insightful and dynamic accounts of Baroque music the orchestra has given in some time.”

    Zachary Lewis, Cleveland.com, 31 March 2017 

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    01 Mar 16 Handel: Orlando The English Concert
    Barbican Centre

    ★★★★

    “… Harry Bicket’s daringly slow but impeccably judged accompaniment. Both conducting and playing were first-rate throughout.”

    Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 02 March 2016

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    26 Feb 16 Handel: Orlando The English Concert
    Birmingham Town Hall

    ★★★★★

    “It was performed exquisitely by Harry Bicket, the English Concert and a quintet of singers that it would be hard to surpass.”

    “How Handel uses the orchestra to convey his characters’ innermost feelings becomes even clearer in concert, especially when played with the cleanly etched lines, supple grace and invigorating energy of the English Concert, directed from the harpsichord by Bicket.”

    Rebecca Franks, The Times, 01 March 2016

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    09 Dec 15 Stradella: Christmas Cantata The English Concert
    Christ Church Spitalfields

    ★★★★

    “Under Bicket’s skilled direction, the players of the English Concert made delectable sounds in bringing this intricate score – full of ingenuity and charm – back to life.”

    George Hall, The Guardian, 10 December 2015

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    20 Jul 14 Beethoven: Fidelio Santa Fe Opera
    Santa Fe Opera

    “From the moment the Santa Fe Opera house lights dimmed, with a hint of sunlight still lingering above the surrounding hills, it was impossible not to be caught up in the drama of Fidelio… Harry Bicket led, firmly and freely, the Santa Fe Opera orchestra and singers”

    Rafael de Acha, Seen and Heard, 12 July 2014

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    05 Apr 14 Handel: Hercules Canadian Opera Company
    Canadian Opera Company

    ★★★★★

    “Under Harry Bicket’s superb conducting, Handel’s score becomes less a series of fussy arias and recitatives than a fully realized cohesive drama, and a fully felt exploration of the human condition as experienced through war”

    Catherine Kustanczy, Bachtrack, 07 April 2014 

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    02 Feb 14 Handel: Theodora The English Concert, Tour
    Various

    “You certainly couldn’t have asked for a more inspired performance than the one given on Sunday, with Harry Bicket conducting the spirited English Concert and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street.”

    Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times, 03 February 2014 

     

    “I wonder whether the English Concert has ever sounded better than it does now under Bicket.”

    Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 29 January 2014 

     

    “Maestro Bicket consistently adopted tempi that were inherently right for the music and for the singers.  (…) he displayed a natural affinity for collaboration with vocalists, and his shaping of scenes disclosed a deep understanding of Händel’s dramatic structures, which are crafted with as sure a hand as in any of the composer’s operas.”

    Joseph Newsome, Voix des Arts, 31 January 2014 

     

    “This was a high-quality performance on all counts. Bicket is not just a brisk, non-interventionist Baroque conductor. He searched out colour and expression in the inner parts, drawing a wealth of rich playing from the English Concert, and kept the music underpinned with a sturdy rhythmic impetus.”

    Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 10 February 2014 

     

    “Flawless and uplifting.”

    Michael Church, The Independent, 10 February 2014 

     

    “Much of the time, my ear was seized by the wonderful playing in the orchestra. Conductor Harry Bicket and the players of the English Concert found a special tone for the piece, a kind of husky harshness, especially noticeable during the wonderful “dungeon” arias in the second act.”
    Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 09 February 2014 

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    04 Apr 13 Handel: Giulio Cesare Metropolitan Opera
    Metropolitan Opera

    “Mr. Bicket draws a lithe, lyrical and stylish performance of this great score from the Met orchestra, reduced in numbers and complemented by a Baroque continuo group.”

    Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, 05 April 2013

     

    “Under the baton of Harry Bicket, the musical realization, all four-and-a-half hours of it, is superb…. The Met orchestra has finally found its Baroque chops…”

    Judith Malafronte, The Classical Review, 05 April 2013 

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    01 Nov 11 Handel: Rodelinda Metropolitan Opera
    Metropolitan Opera

    “The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra played splendidly under Harry Bicket’s alert leadership. Their crowning moment was surely the soulful echoes and plaints that wove their way through Bertarido’s Con rauco mormorio, with Handel in his most inspired pastoral mode.”

    Marion Lignana Rosenberg, The Classical Review, 15 November 2011

     

    “To a remarkable degree, Mr Bicket has the Met orchestra sounding like a period band, scrubbed free of most vibrato.”

    James R. Oestreichnov, The New York Times, 15 November 2011