Conductors Toby Purser and Matthew Waldren have been appointed as joint recipients of the ENO Mackerras Fellowship, the first time that the award will be shared by two conductors. They will take up their positions in September 2016.
Both Toby and Matthew will have the opportunity to assist on ENO productions, and will have full access to the casting, staging and production departments at ENO alongside the opportunity to travel with the Music Director and make important contacts across the international opera scene.
The award is a joint initiative between ENO and the Philip Loubser Foundation, and celebrates the legacy of Sir Charles Mackerras. The ENO Mackerras Fellowship offers exceptionally talented young conductors the opportunity to work and develop at ENO, mentored by ENO Music Director Mark Wigglesworth.
Former recipients of the ENO Mackerras Fellowship include inaugural recipient Gergely Madaras and current ENO Mackerras Fellow Fergus Macleod.
Toby Purser read music at Oxford University, where he founded the Oxford Philomusica and was conductor of the Oxford Sinfonietta. After studying at both the St. Petersburg State Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Music he was appointed Assistant Conductor of l’Ensemble Orchestral de Paris for 2007 and has since worked with a variety of leading ensembles both in the UK and abroad. In 2014 he assisted on the world premiere of Julian Anderson’s Thebans for ENO, and made his company conducting debut later that year conducting two performances of The Marriage of Figaro. He is a regular guest at Grange Park Opera and has also performed at the Buxton Festival. In 2005 Toby founded the Orion Orchestra, a stepping-stone orchestra for the UK’s most talented young players, and has since developed it into a leading organisation for young professional musicians.
Matthew Waldren studied at the Royal College of Music before reading music at Cambridge University and later studying as a post-graduate at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Following a 10-year career as an opera singer, he quickly gained a reputation as a dynamic young conductor and opera specialist. In 2012 he was appointed Music Director of the inaugural Christine Collins Young Artist Scheme at Opera Holland Park and in 2015 he assisted Xian Zhang for Benedict Andrews’s ENO production of La bohème. His most recent engagements include Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the Royal Opera House and both Lakmé and Il Barbiere di Siviglia for Opera Holland Park. He will return to Opera Holland Park to conduct La bohème in 2016.