Paul Kildea’s international career was launched in 1997 following his debut with Neil Armfield’s landmark production of A Cunning Little Vixen for Opera Australia, where he was a Young Artist. Immediately appointed Simone Young’s assistant (“Paul combines one of the best musical minds around with great instincts, exquisite musicality and a passion for making a work live and breathe”), he spent much of the following two years with her at the Bergen Philharmonic, the Opera Bastille in Paris, and at festivals and with orchestras throughout Europe. He returned to Opera Australia to conduct The Barber of Seville, La bohème and The Turn of the Screw.
He has subsequently conducted throughout Australia and Europe, including guest appearances with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble 2e2m in Paris, the Nash Ensemble in London, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra, and for the Aldeburgh Festival, where during a four-year appointment as Head of Music he conducted an exceptionally broad repertory. He is equally at home in concert and in opera, having enjoyed collaborations with some of today’s great singers and rising stars.
Highlights of the last two seasons include a new production of Britten’s Albert Herring (Aldeburgh); War Requiem (Brno Festival, Bratislava Festival); Bernstein’s Candide – which wasnominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Classical Concert – and Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder (Perth Festival); Strasnoy’s Six Songs for an Unquiet Traveller (Paris); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hamburgische Staatsoper), which led to an immediate invitation for Dialogues des Carmélites; War Requiem (Australian Youth Orchestra in Sydney and Perth); Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder (Perth Festival); his debut with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra; Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking (Sydney); and his first foray into the world of dance in a successful collaboration with the choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and his company Morphoses (Sydney Festival).
He has held artistic posts with the Aldeburgh and Perth festivals, and as Artistic Director of Wigmore Hall London Kildea conducted the complete Mahler orchestral song cycles in a critically acclaimed series with mezzo soprano Ann Murray. He has commissioned numerous works from young composers including Oscar Strasnoy, whose Six Songs he performed with Murray to launch Wigmore’s 2004/05 season. At Wigmore Hall he also discovered and launched a number of brilliant young artists and careers.
Kildea holds an honours degree in piano performance and a master’s degree in musicology from The University of Melbourne, and a doctorate from Oxford University. During his studies he was awarded numerous scholarships and prizes. He is the author of many articles and chapters on music and culture in the twentieth century as well as two acclaimed books for Oxford University Press on Benjamin Britten (Selling Britten andBritten on Music), a composer whose work he has made a speciality on the podium as well as in print. His biography of Britten is to be published by Penguin press in time for the composer’s centenary in 2013.
Recent performances include Symphony in the Park with Sydney Symphony (Sydney Festival), Candide and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Opera Australia), The Turn of the Screw (Victorian Opera), a return to the Sydney Symphony, his debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and in 2012 Paul returns to Australia to conduct The Magic Flute and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Opera Australia.