English National Opera announces new Mackerras Fellow

10th February 2020 in Press

English National Opera (ENO) is delighted to announce that Olivia Clarke is to become the new ENO Mackerras Fellow. 

The ENO Mackerras Fellowship for emerging conductors provides a unique opportunity for an exceptional emerging conductor to develop their skills through a structured two year programme with mentoring from ENO Music Director, Martyn Brabbins, members of the ENO music team and visiting conductors.

Throughout the programme, the Fellow works closely with ENO’s music team, acts as assistant conductor and off-stage conductor for selected ENO productions, as well as assisting and supporting our other talent training programmes, including ENO Harewood Artists. This Fellowship celebrates the legacy of Sir Charles Mackerras, ENO Music Director between 1970 and 1977.

Olivia takes over from Valentina Peleggi, who is currently conducting the revival of Carmen at the London Coliseum.

Olivia has previously worked with ENO as assistant conductor to Geoffrey Paterson for Glass’s Orphee and also returns this summer to conduct the ENO Studio LivE production of Weir’s Blond Eckbert.

A recipient of the DAAD (Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst) scholarship for her conducting studies, Olivia trained with Steven Sloane and Harry Curtis at the International Conducting Academy Berlin, Universität der Künste, graduating in 2020. During her studies Olivia conducted in concerts with the Neubrandenburger Philharmonie, Hradec Králové Philharmonie, Magdeburgische Philharmonie, and Brandenburger Symphoniker, who invited her back as Guest Conductor. Olivia also conducted in masterclasses with the Deutsche Symphonie Orchester, Bochum Symphoniker, Komische Oper, and Kammerakademie Potsdam. Olivia was born in London and read Music with an Organ Scholarship at the Queen’s College, Oxford University, before going on to study singing at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

The ENO Mackerras Fellowship is made possible with the generous philanthropic support of the Philip Loubser Foundation.

Martyn Brabbins, Music Director, ENO, said: “The nurturing and development of new talent is something ENO puts at the heart of its artistic decision making.  We welcome Olivia Clarke as ENO Mackerras Fellow, and are confident that her two years embedded in the company will reap rich rewards, both for her and for the company.  Olivia has all the qualities to become a significant figure in the future of opera.”

Olivia Clarke said: “I am overjoyed to be the new ENO Mackerras Fellow! The bespoke nature of the fellowship and the depth of resources provided make it a truly singular programme, and I cannot wait to get started. The mentorship and guidance available is astounding and I am really looking forward to working with world-class musicians on a daily basis. I am sincerely grateful to ENO and to the Philip Loubser Foundation for this incredible opportunity.”

Michael Loubser, Founder of the Philip Loubser Foundation, said: “It is truly inspiring to see the Fellowship becoming a worldwide magnet – an opportunity for  talented young conductors to take their careers to a new level.  We are sure Olivia will find her Fellowship two years a life-changing experience.”


About English National Opera

English National Opera is the national opera company dedicated to one simple aim: making opera for everyone. We sing in English to be as accessible to the widest possible audience, as well as offering tickets for as little as ten pounds and we create opera that feels different, more theatrical and creatively daring. We’ve been doing this to an internationally recognised standard since being founded in 1931 as Sadler’s Wells Opera.

We are determined to open up the genre: nearly half of our audiences in the 2018/19 season were first-time bookers and this season more than 10% of our bookings have been by under 30’s. Our learning and participation programme ENO Baylis has touched the lives of more than 15,000 school children and community groups, and we have brought opera into schools, allowing more than 5000 schoolchildren from schools with a higher than average black or minority ethnic (BAME) background representation to experience opera. Our talent development programme continues to nurture the careers of singers (the ENO Harewood Artist programme) and of conductors (the Charles Mackerras Fellowship). We also give free tickets to Under 18s in our balcony for opening nights, Friday and Saturday performances.

Last season, the proportion of our audience with a BAME background increased from 4% to 10%. In January of last year, we announced that we would be recruiting four new members of our Chorus from a BAME background, as well as four BAME Director Observerships. This year, we announced that we will also be recruiting five new BAME string players to continue working towards our aim of making the opera industry more accessible and representative of the society in which we live.

Our ongoing support and development of British talent meant 80% of the cast in the 2017-18 season were British or British trained. That’s important to us and is fundamental to our ethos of giving new talent their break.

ENO is about opera for everyone.