As Music Director of Pittsburgh Opera, Antony Walker enjoys the distinction of serving as one of the youngest music directors of a regional company in the United States. A prodigiously gifted musician, he made his professional conducting debut in 1992 in Sydney, and since that time, has conducted well over 100 operas, as well as many large scale choral/orchestral works, symphonic and chamber works with companies in Europe, the United States and Australia, in addition to performances and recordings of early works with the Orchestra of the Antipodes, a period instrument orchestra which he formed in 2001. He has led operatic performances for Welsh National Opera, Opera Australia, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, The Minnesota Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Arizona Opera, New York City Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Vancouver Opera, and Cincinnati Opera. He has also appeared with leading orchestras including Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Orchestre Colonne Paris, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Chamber Orchestra, Barossa Festival Orchestra, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Sinfonia Australis, and Chatham Baroque. Debuts in recent seasons include The Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Canadian Opera Company, and Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Centre, Washington. Return engagements in most recent and upcoming seasons include projects for The Metropolitan Opera, Melbourne Symphony, Opera Australia, Pittsburgh Opera, Washington Concert Opera, Orchestra of the Antipodes and Pinchgut Opera.
A prolific recording artist, Antony has recorded 30 CDs and DVDs of the works of Beethoven, Mahler, Mozart, Orff, Fauré, Puccini, Verdi, Purcell, Handel, Bach, and others. His CD collaboration with Teddy Tahu Rhodes garnered the ARIA award for Best Classical Music Album of the Year and his DVD of the Emperor Concerto, on CD as part of the complete set of the Beethoven Piano Concertos Nos. 1-5, won the international DVD Association Award for Music Excellence. Releases of Pinchgut Opera live recordings on ABC Classics and Pinchgut Live have consistently won praise both in Australia and abroad, Castor et Pollux being the most recent release in this series.
Acknowledged for his incisive interpretation and execution of the varied repertoire he has performed and recorded, as well as his exceptional reading of new works, he has led acclaimed performances of operas ranging from the works of Monteverdi to Ruders, Glass and Petitgirard. Operatic repertoire performed includes Guntram, Dialogue of the Carmelites, Otello, Aida, Turandot, Così fan tutte, Madama Butterfly, Carmen, Don Giovanni, Rigoletto, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Traviata, The Queen of Spades, Mitridate, Idomeneo, Dardanus, Le Nozze di Figaro, I Pagliacci, Carmina Burana, La Bohème, the North American Premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale, Nixon in China, Joseph Merrick The Elephant Man, Vanessa, Die Zauberflöte, Il Ritorno D’Ulisse in Patria (on period instruments), Roméo et Juliette, Hansel and Gretel, The Abduction from the Seraglio, Troilus and Cressida, Acis and Galatea, Dido and Aeneas, La Cenerentola, Tosca, Orlando, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Faust, and Falstaff.
As Artistic Director of Washington Concert Opera, Antony Walker has cast and conducted highly applauded performances of under-performed operatic works such as Orphee ( Glass), Maria Stuarda, Attila, Samson et Dalila, Werther, Adriana Lecouvreur, Maria Padilla, Il Giuramento, Béatrice et Bénédict, Stiffelio, Roberto Devereux, La Donna del Lago, Esclarmonde, Luisa Miller, Orlando and Tancredi. As Co-Artistic Director of Pinchgut Opera, he has led baroque and early works including Semele, The Fairy Queen, L’Orfeo, Dardanus, Idomeneo, L’anima del filosofo, Castor et Pollux and most recently Iphigenie en Tauride with Cantillation and the Orchestra of the Antipodes (on period instruments).
Trained as a cellist, Antony Walker developed an understanding of orchestral music at an early age and has since conducted and recorded many orchestral and chamber works including all the Beethoven Symphonies and Piano Concertos; Mahler’s Symphony No. 4; Brahms’ Symphony No 3 and Haydn Variations; Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony and Cello Concerto; Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite; Tchaikovsky’s Roméo et Juliette Fantasy-Overture; Prokofiev’s Roméo et Juliette; Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No.1; Rachmaninoff’s Variation on a Theme by Paganini; Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings and the Cello Concerto; Mendelssohn’s Incidental Music from A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Symphonies No. 29, 35 and 40 of Mozart; along with the works of Sibelius, Strauss, Weber, Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, Copland’s Appalachian Spring and others. Recent performances include Beethoven’s 1st, 3rd and 5th Symphonies, Honegger’s Symphony No 4, the Adagietto from Mahler 5, Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, Elgar’s Enigma Variations, and Ravel’s Shéhérézade.
As a former tenor, his understanding of the human voice has contributed to particularly successful collaborations with vocal soloists and choral performers. As Musical Director of Sydney Philharmonia Choirs from 1993 to 1997, he led many large-scale works including Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Mass in B Minor and St. Matthew Passion, Haydn’s Creation, Berlioz’ Te Deum and Britten’s War Requiem. He returns regularly to Sydney Philharmonia as guest conductor, where, most recently, he conducted Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass and the world premiere of Nigel Butterley’s Spell of Creation. Antony Walker is the recipient of the distinguished Sir Charles Mackerras Conducting Award, a Churchill Fellowship, the Queen’s Trust Award, The Richard F Gold Debut Artist Award for New York City Opera and a Green Room Award for his conducting of Alcina for Opera Australia.
Performances celebrating the Verdi bicentenary included Falstaff with Opera Australia, I Masnadieri and Il Corsaro with Washington Concert Opera, as well as Aida with Pittsburgh Opera. This year Antony will debut with West Australian Opera (The Marriage of Figaro), continue his leadership of both Washington Concert Opera and Pittsburgh Opera, add Fille du Regiment to his repertoire (Pittsburgh Opera) and return to The Metropolitan Opera for The Barber of Seville.