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Rory Macdonald

  • Instrument Conductor
Rory Macdonald

Rory Macdonald stands out as one of the most interesting British conductors of his generation, leading stylish performances of classical and romantic repertoire whilst also relishing the chance to perform lesser-known and contemporary works.

Rory is particularly admired for his interpretations of Mozart and Britten. He opens his 2019/20 season with a revival of Stephen Langridge’s production of Le nozze di Figaro with Gothenburg Opera, which he first performed with them at the end of last season. Other highlights this season include Thomas Adès Power Her Face with Opéra de Tours in April 2020 and the Australian premiere of Romeo Castellucci’s staging of Mozart Requiem which received its premiere by Raphaël Pichon and Pygmalion Ensemble at this year’s Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

Previously he has conducted Britten’s Peter Grimes for the Brisbane Festival with Stuart Skelton and Sally Matthews. Prior to this, he conducted new productions of Owen Wingrave and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Albert Herring for Glyndebourne on Tour; and The Turn of the Screw with Mark Padmore and Miah Persson at the Vienna Konzerthaus. In addition, he marked his US debut with A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Lyric Opera of Chicago, which was followed by The Rape of Lucretia at Houston Grand Opera. Rory made his debut with Oper Frankfurt 2017/18 in Mozart’s Così fan tutte and returns to the house in 2020/21 for Le nozze di Figaro. Prior to that, Rory has conducted new productions of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera and Royal Danish Opera. He made his debut with Opera Australia conducting Die Zauberflöte at the Sydney Opera House in 2016.

On the concert podium, Rory’s upcoming engagements include Essen Philharmonic orchestras, his debut with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and a return to work with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He also continues his recording project of Thomas Wilson’s symphonies with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for Linn Records. Last season, he worked with the London Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony, Sinfonieorchester Wuppertal and returned to the Royal Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, Ulster, and Bournemouth Symphony orchestras. He also returned to Japan, performing with the Nagoya Philharmonic and Kanagawa Philharmonic orchestras.

He recently conducted the première performances of Carl Vine’s Double Piano Concerto with Kathryn Stott and Piers Lane with both the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.  He has conducted the premieres of works by notable composers such as Sir James Macmillan, Sally Beamish and Geoffrey Gordon. Rory’s discography with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra includes an album with Danny Driver for Hyperion, and with Nicola Benedetti for Decca. His latest recording of symphonies no. 3 and 4 by Thomas Wilson with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra was released in 2019 on Linn Records to critical acclaim.

Rory Macdonald studied music at Cambridge University. While at university he studied under David Zinman and Jorma Panula at the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen. After graduating from Cambridge he was appointed assistant conductor to Iván Fischer at the Budapest Festival Orchestra (2001-2003), and to Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra (2006-2008). He was also a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House (2004-2006), where he worked closely with Antonio Pappano on such major projects as the complete Ring cycle.

More events to be announced

Symphony Series

Tragedy to Triumph

Adelaide Town Hall

Fri 12 Aug & Sat 13 Aug 2022

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Tragedy to Triumph

If a searing personal experience can be transformed into an extraordinary work of art, the result is Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony, created in the shadow of Stalin’s Russia.


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Matinee Concerts


Elder Hall

Wed 19 Oct 2022

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Along with moments that float like a feather on the breeze, Haydn’s concerto has a finale that make you want to kick up your heels!

Session Wed 19 Oct 2022, 11:30am

Rehearsals Unwrapped


Adelaide Town Hall

Wed 26 Oct 2022

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Let the ASO take you on a fun-filled guided tour of the music you know and love, in the company of charismatic conductor and host Guy Noble.

Session Wed 26 Oct 2022, 9:30am

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