Grant Llewellyn

Grant Llewellyn

Last updated: 07 February 2011

The journey across the Atlantic has been a very familiar one to Grant Llewellyn since his earliest days as a conductor.

His first big break came in 1985 when he won a Conducting Fellowship to the prestigious Tanglewood Music Center in Massachussetts, where he was mentored by such musical giants as Leonard Bernstein and André Previn. Back in the UK, he won the Leeds Conductors Competition in 1986.

Grant's career developed simultaneously on both sides of the pond. The Tanglewood connection brought his first important work in the early 1990s, as Assistant Conductor of the mighty Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducting at Tanglewood as well as in the orchestra's subscription series and the famous Boston Pops.

Simultaneously, Grant served as Associate Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales from 1990 to 1995, and throughout the 1990s would also jump on planes in the other direction, to undertake major conducting posts at the Stavanger Symphony and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Flanders.

Since 2001, the bulk of Grant's career has been primarily based in America, firstly as Music Director of the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston and subsequently as Music Director of the North Carolina Symphony, as well as guest conducting in Atlanta, Houston, Montreal, St Louis, Philadelphia and Toronto. But he has also frequently worked in Europe, including with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and Helsinki Philharmonic, as well as closer to home, with the BBC Symphony and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras.

Grant also returns periodically to the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, including for performances at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 2005 and at the BBC Proms in 2010 in the phenomenally popular Doctor Who Proms.

He is extremely versatile, excelling in all styles of music from early baroque to recent contemporary, and is also making a name for himself in the opera world. Grant has appeared with English National Opera, Opera North, St Louis and Spoleto Festival USA in repertoire ranging from Handel to Alexander Goehr. Grant's charismatic and personable approach also makes him a popular figure in educational projects, where he is as comfortable talking to his audience from the podium as he is with his back to them, conducting the orchestra.

Recordings include an acclaimed disc of American contemporary music with the North Carolina Symphony and jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis.

Grant Llewellyn was born in Tenby in 1962 and although it's a long way from Raleigh, North Carolina, Grant's home base is in Cardiff with his wife and four children.

Photo courtesy Michael Lutch

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