Nicholas McGegan

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For the London Independent Nicholas McGegan is “one of the finest baroque conductors of his generation,” and for the New Yorker magazine, “an expert in 18th century style.” But the Cleveland Plain Dealer was more direct when it praised Nicholas McGegan for “bringing rhythmic zest to all things baroque.” And as such he is known throughout the world for performances that match authority with enthusiasm, scholarship with joy, and curatorial responsibility with evangelical exuberance. Through more than twenty years as its music director, McGegan has established the San Francisco-based Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra as the leading Baroque ensemble in America – and at the forefront of historical performance practice worldwide, thanks to notable appearances at Carnegie Hall, the London Proms, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and the International Handel Festival, Göttingen where he has been artistic director since 1991. In Göttingen and with the PBO he has defined an approach to period style that sets the current standard: probing, serious but undogmatic, recognizing that the music of the past does not belong in a museum or in academia, but in vigorous engagement with an audience, for pleasure and delight on both sides of the stage. He has been a pioneer in the process of exporting historically informed practice beyond the small world of period instruments to the wider one of conventional symphonic forces. His discography includes the world premiere recording of Handel’s oratorio Susanna, which attracted both a Gramophone Award and Grammy nomination, and recent issues on Carus of the same composer’s Solomon, Samson, and Acis and Galatea (the latter a rarity in that it unearths the little-known version adapted by Felix Mendelssohn). Born in England, Nicholas McGegan was educated at Oxford, Cambridge and the Royal College of Music, London. His awards include an honorary professorship at Georg-August University, Göttingen, and an official Nicholas McGegan Day, declared by the Mayor of San Francisco in recognition of two decades of distinguished work with the Philharmonia Baroque. He holds an honorary degree at London’s Royal College of Music and the Handel Prize of the Halle Handel Festival.

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