Monday we told you about our new recording of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, so today we wanted to share a little more about the ensemble’s conductor, Martin West.
Martin West is acknowledged as one of the foremost conductors of ballet, garnering critical acclaim throughout the world. Born in Bolton, England, he studied math at St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge University, before studying at the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music and London’s Royal Academy of Music.
In fall 1997, West made his debut with English National Ballet and was immediately appointed resident conductor. There, he conducted almost half of the company’s performances throughout England and abroad. From 2004-07 he held the position of principal conductor, before relinquishing the post to allow him the flexibility to guest with other companies. In recent seasons, he has worked with many of the top companies in North America, such as New York City Ballet, Houston Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada.
In recent seasons, West has worked with the Hallé Orchestra, Holland Symfonia and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra as well as recording a disc of Mozart Piano Concerti with Odense Symphony, Denmark. He made his U.S. symphonic conducting debut with Silicon Valley Symphony, resulting in an immediate re-invitation. From 1998 to July 2005, West was the music director of the Cambridge Philharmonic, one of England’s oldest and highest-achieving amateur music societies. In addition, he had a long association with Pimlico Opera, touring frequently with them, including conducting West Side Story inside a prison with the inmates as part of the cast.
In fall 2005, West joined San Francisco Ballet, having been a frequent guest since his debut two years earlier. Recent recordings with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra include the complete score of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker on the Koch label and a CD of Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky cello music released on the Telarc label in January 2009.
Click the Play Button to listen to a Podcast with Martin West.
Listen to the orchestra in a preview of the San Francisco Ballet’s 2011 Season: