Conductor / Harpsichord
Peter Whelan is among the most exciting and versatile exponents of historical performance of his generation, with a remarkable career as a conductor, keyboardist and solo bassoonist. He is Artistic Director of the Irish Baroque Orchestra and founding Artistic Director of Ensemble Marsyas. Recent engagements have included appearances with the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Academy of Ancient Music, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the English Concert, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and Beethoven Orchester Bonn.
As conductor, Peter has a particular passion for exploring and championing neglected music from the Baroque era. Recent projects funded by The Arts Council (Ireland) and Creative Scotland involved recreating and staging live performances of choral and symphonic music from eighteenth-century Dublin and Edinburgh. This led to his awardwinning disc ‘Edinburgh 1742’ for Linn Records and his 2017 reconstruction of the ‘Irish State Musick’ in its original venue of Dublin Castle.
Peter’s performances with the Irish Baroque Orchestra in 20/21 include Bach Brandenburg Concertos, Purcell Hail Bright Cecilia and Handel Messiah. With Irish National Opera and Irish Chamber Orchestra he performs Mozart Entführung aus dem Seraglio and Vivaldi Bajazet in a co-production with Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He makes his conducting debut with Scottish Chamber Orchestra in a programme of Bach and Vivaldi with mezzo soprano Katie Bray.
Ensemble Marsyas has performed internationally under Peter’s direction including performances at the Lammermuir Festival, Göttingen Handel Festival, Tetbury Festival and at Great Music in Irish Houses. During their 2020 Wigmore Hall residency, The Telegraph described Ensemble Marsyas as 'very possibly this country's finest period group - led by Peter Whelan, they perform with wonderful élan, transmitting their total enjoyment'.
Peter's conducting in live performance and the recording studio has been widely praised for its "rich insight, style and charisma" (Guardian), its “stylish verve” (BBC Music Magazine), its “exuberance and elegance” (Irish Examiner), and its “slick tempi, grit and character” (Golden Plec).