David Afkham

David Afkham is Principal Conductor of the Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España. He is in high demand as a guest conductor with some of the world’s finest orchestras and opera houses, and has established a reputation as one of the most sought after conductors to emerge from Germany in recent years.

Future highlights as a symphonic guest conductor include debuts with the Philadelphia Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, returns to the Chicago Symphony, Swedish Radio Symphony, Münchner Philharmoniker, Danish National Symphony, Wiener Symphoniker (Musikverein, Bregenz Festival), Oslo Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, as well as extensive touring with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie.

Highlights in David’s season with the Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España include performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9, Strauss’ Alpine Symphony and Beethoven Symphony No. 9, semi-staged performances of Bach’s St. Mathew Passion, Bartok Bluebeard’s Castle and a tour of Switzerland, Italy and Slovenia.

Recent highlights include two projects with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the 2016 and 2017 Tanglewood festivals, a highly successful subscription debut with the Chicago Symphony which led to an immediate re-invitation, as well as return projects with the Münchner Philharmoniker, Rotterdam Philharmonic (including a tour of Korea and China), Orchestra of Accademia Santa Cecilia, Orchestre National de France, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, HR Sinfonie Orchester Frankfurt and a summer festival tour with the Bamberger Symphoniker.

In Summer 2014, David Afkham made a noted opera debut with Verdi’s La Traviata at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, later reviving the production with Glyndebourne on Tour. He then conducted a new production of Ginastera's Bomarzo at Teatro Real Madrid in 2017. His semi-staged performances of Wagner's Fliegender Holländer (2016, Bryn Terfel in the title role) and Strauss’ Elektra (2017) with the Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España in Madrid received unanimous acclaim from the press. Future opera projects include Hansel & Gretel (Frankfurt Opera), Fliegende Holländer (Stuttgart Opera, Tokyo Opera Nomori Festival) and Rusalka (Theater an der Wien).

Born in 1983 in Freiburg, Germany, David Afkham received his early piano and violin lessons at the age of six. At 15, he entered his native city’s University of Music to pursue studies in piano, music theory and conducting and continued his studies at the Liszt School of Music in Weimar. David Afkham was the first recipient of the ‘Bernard Haitink Fund for Young Talent’ and assisted Maestro Haitink in a number of major projects including symphony cycles with the Chicago Symphony, Concertgebouworkest and London Symphony Orchestra. He was the winner of the 2008 Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in London, resulting in him becoming the Assistant Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra for two years. In 2010, David Afkham was the inaugural recipient of the ‘Nestle and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award’ and was Assistant Conductor of the Gustav Mahler Jungendorchester 2009-2012.


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