Celso Antunes


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Energy, attention to detail, stylistically informed interpretation and charisma, are top among the wide range of attributes that best convey the essence of Celso Antunes as a unique conductor.

The São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), Brazil, has appointed Celso Antunes as Associate Conductor, for five years from 2012. Each season, he will conduct at least two different programmes with the orchestra (6 to 8 concerts) and one programme with the Choir. He is Chief Conductor of Camerata Fukuda, Brazil and Professor of Choral Conducting at the distinguished Haute École de Musique de Genève. He is equally in demand as an orchestral and a choral conductor.

Born 1959 in São Paulo, Brazil, Celso Antunes studied conducting at the Musikhochschule Köln in Germany. From 1994 until 1998 he was Chief Conductor of the Neues Rheinisches Kammerorchester in Cologne and of the Belgian ensemble for contemporary music Champ d‘Action (1994 – 1997), with whom he directed numerous world premieres. As Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the National Chamber Choir of Ireland, his influence on its development from 2002 onward was exceptional. In 2007 the Irish Times regretted his departure with the words: …this period will have to be seen in the future as a golden age for professional choral singing in Ireland. From August 2008 to March 2012 Antunes was Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Choir „Groot Omroepkoor“.

Flexibility is the key to Celso Antunes’ conducting expertise across a wide repertoire which covers choral music from the Renaissance, through orchestral works from the 18th and 19th century and contemporary music, of which he is a devoted advocate. This advocacy has led to engagements to direct numerous renowned contemporary music ensembles such as the Nieuw Ensemble and the Ensemble Modern. He has conducted many world premieres including works by Michael Tippett, Wolfgang Rihm, Jonathan Harvey, Hans Zender, Brice Pauset, Unsuk Chin and Lera Auerbach.

Celso Antunes is regularly invited as a guest conductor by leading orchestras, such as the Netherlands Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the NDR Radiophilharmonie, the RSO Stuttgart, the Brussels Philharmonic, the Ulster Orchestra and RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.

For many years Celso Antunes has been an active figure on the European concert scene. Festival engagements have included: the Salzburger Festspiele, Berliner Festspiele, Donaueschinger Musiktage, the Flanders Festival, Musikbiennale München, Rheingau Festival, Rheinvokal Festival, City of London Festival, Festival of Cartagena and Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik. Antunes regularly works with some of Europe’s leading Choirs, including: the SWR Stuttgart Vocal Ensemble, the BBC Singers in London, the Choeur de Radio France in Paris and the Vlaamse Radio Koor in Brussels.

Celso Antunes has recorded extensively for a number of different labels and his discography includes a Grammy-nominated CD with works by Joaquin Turina (Canto a Sevilla, Hänssler).

(June 2013)

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  • Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra / Netherlands Radio CHAMBER Philharmonic

    Richard Rijnvos: "Uptown|Downtown - an urban panorama in six movements"
    John Snijders, piano
    Cond.: Celso Antunes

    Challenge Records (CD 0608917253825)
  • NDR Radiophilharmonie

    Xavier Montsalvatge: „Canciones & Conciertos“
    Jenny Lin, piano; Rachel Barton Pine, violin; Lucia Duchonová, mezzo-soprano
    Cond.: Celso Antunes

    Hänssler Classic (CD 098.642.000)
  • NDR Radiophilharmonie

    Joaquin Turina: „Canto a Sevilla, Poema en forma de canciones, Farruca, Saeta“
    Lucia Duchonová, Mezzo-Sopran
    Conductor: Celso Antunes

    Hänssler Classic (CD 96.608, 2010)
    * nominated for a Grammy Award 2011 *
  • Netherlands Radio Choir

    James MacMillan: „Sun-Dogs, Visitatio Sepulchri“
    Netherlands Radio Choir. Conductor: Celso Antunes
    BIS Records (SACD 1719, 2010)
    * Shortlisted for the Gramophone Classical Music Awards 2011 *
  • Netherlands Radio Choir

    Gustav Mahler: „Symphony Nr. 3“
    Netherlands Radio Choir, Conductor: Celso Antunes
    Royal Concertgebouw Orchester, Conductor: Mariss Jansons

    RCO Live (CD 10004, 2010)
  • Netherlands Radio Choir

    Gustav Mahler: „Symphony Nr. 2, Auferstehung“
    Netherlands Radio Choir, Conductor: Celso Antunes
    Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Conductor: Mariss Jansons

    RCO Live (CD 10002, 2009)
  • SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart

    Wolfgang Rihm: „Quid est Deus, Ungemaltes Bild, Frau/Stimme“
    SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart, Conductor: Celso Antunes
    SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Conductor: Sylvain Cambreling

    Hänssler Classic (CD 93.236, 2007)
  • SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart

    SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart, Conductor: Celso Antunes
    SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Conductor: Michael Gielen

    Hänssler Classic (CD 93.226)
  • SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart

    Hans Zender „Logos – Fragmente (2007) für 32 Singstimmen und drei Orchestergruppen“
    SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart, Conductor: Celso Antunes
    SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Conductor: Sylvain Cambreling Commissioned by SWR
    Donaueschinger Musiktage 2007 Vol. 1

    NEOS (10824)
  • Tippett Ensemble

    Paulo Chagas „Sodoma”
    music for voices, instruments and electronic sounds
    Sub Rosa (SubCD 026-48, 1993)
  • Champ d’action

    Karel Goeyvaerts „The serial works”
    Megadisc (MDC 7845, 1998)
  • Camerata Fukuda

    Mozart / Haydn / Guarnieri / Schostakowitsch
    „Music for Strings”

    Paulus (CD 008237, 2006)
  • Ensemble Contrasts

    Kurt Weill „Zaubernacht”
    World premiere recording
    Capriccio, Deutschland (LC 08748, 2002)
  • The National Chamber Choir Of Ireland

    „Ad Multos Annos”, Contemporary Choral Works
    commissioned by The National Gallery of Ireland
    NCC/National Gallery, Ireland

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Quote of the month


The concert last Thursday by OSESP, conducted by Celso Antunes, was excellent... Exceptionally dizzying readings of two Mozart symphonies, KV 318 and KV 425: Antunes took the best advantage of historically informed interpretation, commanding 36 musicians wielding modern instruments - with faster tempos than the conventional ones and all playing strictly "senza vibrato". A triumph, simply stunning! The performance of the Piano Concerto Nr. 5 by Villa-Lobos, with the young Fabio Martino as a soloist, a chaotic and delightful mix of Hollywood and Rachmaninov, written in 1954 by the great Brazilian composer, was also absolutely fantastic... João Marcos Coelho, O Estado de São Paulo, Sept 20/2014

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