B i o g r a p h y
Photo © Eric Richmond
Throughout his distinguished career, conductor David Charles Abell has excelled in a wide range of musical genres, from contemporary opera to worldwide TV broadcasts of Les Misérables. He has appeared four times at the BBC Proms and has worked with such distinguished artists as Judi Dench, Emma Thompson, Lea Salonga, Idina Menzel, Heather Headley, Petula Clark, Bryn Terfel, Josh Groban, Matthew Morrison, Michael Ball, Michael Feinstein and Stephen Hough.
David was appointed Music Director of the Philly POPS a few weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic began. He helped the organization pivot by planning and conducting one of the first US orchestral streaming events in July, 2020. The subsequent Christmas celebration he conducted was broadcast to half a million US servicemen and women by the American Forces Network.
Born in North Carolina, David earned degrees from Yale University and the Juilliard School after intensive viola, piano and composition studies. Turning his attention to conducting at the age of fourteen, he went on to study with Leonard Bernstein and Nadia Boulanger.
Recent projects have included a new production of La bohème at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Francesca Zambello’s Porgy and Bess at Atlanta Opera, Barrie Kosky’s Die Zauberflöte at Opera Philadelphia, and Tomer Zvulun’s Eugene Onegin at Hawaii Opera Theatre. He is a regular guest conductor at Cincinnati Opera, where he has led Die Fledermaus and Kevin Puts’ Silent Night among others. In the UK, David made his debut with English National Opera in Sweeney Todd (starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson). subsequently returning for an equally-acclaimed Carousel. He recently conducted his own new critical edition of Kiss Me, Kate for Opera North and the Théâtre du Châtelet.
David Charles Abell has appeared regularly on television, most notably conducting the 10th and 25th Anniversary concerts of Les Misérables. 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 and Man of La Mancha, and highlights from La bohème and Madama Butterfly with the Royal Philharmonic.