Artistic Director Peter Whelan
Irish-born Peter Whelan is among the most exciting and versatile exponents of historical performance of his generation, with a remarkable career as a conductor, keyboardist and solo bassoonist. He is Artistic Director of the Irish Baroque Orchestra and founding Artistic Director of Ensemble Marsyas.
As conductor, Peter has a particular passion for exploring and championing neglected music from the Baroque era. Recent projects funded by The Arts Council (Ireland) and Creative Scotland involved recreating and staging live performances of choral and symphonic music from eighteenth-century Dublin and Edinburgh. This led to his award- winning disc ‘Edinburgh 1742’ for Linn Records and his 2017 reconstruction of the ‘Irish State Musick’ in its original venue of Dublin Castle.
A regular collaborator with Irish National Opera, Peter begins the 2019/20 season with performances of Vivaldi's Griselda with the Irish Baroque Orchestra, returning in May 2020 for Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail with the Irish Chamber Orchestra. Further engagements with the Irish Baroque Orchestra include performances at the National Concert Hall, Dublin as part of their Chamber Music Series in November, productions of Handel’s Messiah in December, and an Ireland Tour with mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught in February. This season also sees Peter making his debut with Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and Stavanger Symphony Orchestra.
As founding Artistic Director of Ensemble Marsyas, Peter has performed at the Edinburgh International Festival, Kilkenny Arts Festival and Bath Festival. This season, the ensemble has a residency at Wigmore Hall, beginning with their Hogmanay concert in December where they will be exploring the Celtic connections of the great Baroque and Classical composers. Ensemble Marsyas has an impressive and award-winning discography with its disc of Barsanti being namedEditor’s Choice in Gramophone Magazine in 2017 and ‘Recording of the Year’ in MusicWeb International 2017, as well as reaching second place in the Official UK Specialist Classical Chart. Ensemble Marsyas has performed internationally underPeter’s direction including performances at the Lammermuir Festival, Gottingen Handel Festival, Tetbury Festival and at Great Music in Irish Houses.
Peter is “as exciting a live wire as Ireland has produced in the world of period performance” (Irish Times). His artistic direction in live performance and the recording studio has been praised for its “stylish verve” (BBC Music Magazine), its“exuberance and elegance” (Irish Examiner), and its “slick tempi, grit and character” (Golden Plec).