Kevin Purcell is one of Australia’s most distinguished conductors & musical directors. He has conducted orchestras, Opera and Musical Theatre around the world in a career spanning more than 30 years.
A recipient of a scholarship to study conducting at the Moscow Conservatory (1992) and subsequently awarded the Willem van Otterloo Scholarship and Bellhouse Conducting Prize (1993) to study at Opera Australia with ex-Glyndebourne Music Director, Myer Fredman, Kevin then moved to the UK in 1994. Whilst in London, he was mentored by and assisted Sir Charles Mackerras for several years during which time he also received the Australian Music Foundation in London ‘Sir Charles Mackerras Prize’ (1995) and the Tait Memorial Trust Award (1996).
Kevin subsequently commenced graduate conducting studies at the prestigious Janácek Academy of Music (JAMU) in the Czech Republic with Dr. Otakar Trhlík and for several years in the USA with distinguished American conducting pedagogue, Harold Farberman at Bard College.
He has conducted, in addition to numerous other ensembles, the Synchron Stage Orchestra (Wien), Ensemble Intercontemporain, Bratislava Studio Symphony Orchestra, Hradec Králové Filharmonie, Beethoven Chamber Orchestra, Königsgrätz Philharmonic, West Bohemia Symphony Orchestra, Georgian State Television and Radio Orchestra and Dinu Lipatti Philharmonic.
Kevin has been Music Director of the Australian Discovery Orchestra (ADO) since June 2015. The orchestra’s purpose is to afford professional-level orchestral musicians, not employed full-time with Australian orchestras, the opportunity to perform together in repertoire both familiar and new, as well as showcasing the works of the new generation of Australian composers. The ADO is one of the world’s most innovative orchestral initiatives. Its concerts are streamed in high-definition with each event providing unique immersive and interactive opportunities for a global audience.
Kevin’s introduction to West End theatre musical direction came courtesy of Cameron Mackintosh and the Really Useful Group, when invited to take over direction of the long-running production of Cats at the New London Theatre in the mid-90s. In July 2003, Kevin renewed his association with RUG, as musical director for the South Korean premiere of this show. More recently, Kevin has conducted Wicked at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre and was the originating musical director for the first national UK/Eire tour (2013).
He is also an award-winning musical theatre composer and an arranger much sought after for his American Songbook orchestrations. His arrangements have been performed by leading orchestras including the National Symphony Orchestra (Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), New York City Opera, New York Pops, Boston Pops and by artists including, Marvin Hamlisch, Stephen Schwartz, Kristin Chenoweth, Liz and Ann Hampton Callaway, Raúl Esparza, Victor Garber, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, and numerous other A-list Broadway artists.
His own musical, The Stranger from Seville (www.strangerfromseville.com) with book and lyrics by British screenwriter Victor Kazan, received rave reviews in its first limited season Off-Broadway production in July 2014. He is currently collaborating on the first-ever musical stage adaptation of the novel Castle Gillian (www.castlegillian.com) a love-story by revered Irish storyteller, Maurice Walsh (author of ‘The Quiet Man’) with Victor Kazan (Lyrics), and Australian multi award-winning writer, performer, producer, broadcaster and lawyer, Steve Vizard (Book & Lyrics).
biography courtesy of Janine Hanrahan