B i o g r a p h y

Photo © Eric Richmond

Conductor David Charles Abell was appointed Music Director and Principal Conductor of The Philly POPS in February 2020.


He began the 2019-20 season by conducting a new production of La bohème at Lyric Opera of Kansas City. He then travelled to Philadelphia for The Philly POPS series of eleven Christmas concerts. Early in the New Year, he conducted a series of Gershwin concerts at Kyiv National Theatre of Operetta in Ukraine. In March he conducts Porgy and Bess in Francesca Zambello’s renowned production at Atlanta Opera.


Born in North Carolina, David earned degrees from Yale University and the Juilliard School after intensive study of viola, piano and composition. Having turned his attention to conducting at the age of fourteen, he went on to study with Leonard Bernstein and Nadia Boulanger. He has worked with distinguished artists such as Judi Dench, Emma Thompson, Diana Damrau, Lea Salonga, Idina Menzel, Heather Headley, Petula Clark, Bryn Terfel, Simon Keenlyside, Josh Groban, Matthew Morrison, Michael Ball, Michael Feinstein and Stephen Hough.


David’s recent projects have included Barrie Kosky’s production of Die Zauberflöte at Opera Philadelphia, Eugene Onegin at Hawaii Opera Theatre, Porgy and Bess and Die Fledermaus at Cincinnati Opera, Rigoletto and Carmen at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, West Side Story at the Glimmerglass Festival, and Kevin Puts’ acclaimed Silent Night in Kansas City, Cincinnati and Detroit. In the UK, David recently conducted his own new critical edition of Kiss Me, Kate for Opera North and, in 2015, made his debut with English National Opera for its production of Sweeney Todd (starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson). He returned to ENO in 2017 for an equally-acclaimed Carousel.


David Charles Abell has appeared regularly on television, most notably conducting the 10th and 25th Anniversary concerts of Les Misérables, broadcast worldwide. Recordings include Something’s Gotta Give with baritone Simon Keenleyside, Forever with soprano Diana Damrau, Jonathan Dove’s Tobias and the Angel, the musicals Miss Saigon, Martin Guerre and Man of La Mancha and highlights from La bohème and Madama Butterfly with the Royal Philharmonic.