In the 2016-2017 season, the Hunts Phil’s concerts will be conducted by three guest conductors, who are currently candidates to become our next orchestral conductor and musical director. Lee Dunleavy is also conducting our Christmas concert in his capacity as chorus master.
Bjorn Bantock has an extensive performance schedule conducting numerous ensembles and orchestras internationally. He has performed in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, China, South Africa, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Russia, Malta, Ireland, and the UK. Some of his recent engagements include the Clare Memory Orchestra, the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Choir of Cape Town, the European Bienniale in Naples, the Svanker Music Festival, the International String Orchestra Festival in Malta, and the Open Strings Festival in Denmark.
Bjorn is also the principal conductor of the Europa Ensemble and the Film Score Spectacular Orchestra.
Bjorn founded and is principal conductor for the London Chamber Strings, which showcases London’s finest string professionals. Hand-picked specifically for their musical integrity and stunning virtuosity the London Chamber Strings are led by David Juritz.
Bjorn regularly conducts the Hertfordshire Philharmonia and worked as conductor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the London Contemporary Dance School, and the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain.
Bjorn is the principal conductor for the Irish Memory Orchestra working along side award winning composer Dave Flynn and collaborating with some of Ireland’s leading musicians including: Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill, Martin O’Connor, and Liz Carroll.
Bjorn has been broadcast live for the SABC and TG4 television, and recorded and produced CD’s for the Kingsway Record label.
Bjorn studied conducting with Colin Metters, Head of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He has won numerous prizes, bursaries, and scholarships including first prize in the Sir John Barbirolli competition, RNCM Contemporary Music Performance Prize, and a Full International ABRSM Scholarship.
Lee Dunleavy is a dynamic conductor, organ recitalist, and composer. He read Music at Hertford College in the University of Oxford, as Organ Scholar and later Director of Chapel Music. Whilst at Oxford he managed the University Orchestra was President of the Contemporary Music Group.
After working as Director of Music at Christ Church, Southgate, London, where he directed the choir in performances of works including Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Monteverdi’s Vespers, he was awarded the Organ Scholarship at York Minster. He holds both the Choral Directing Diploma and the Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists and is a prize-winning holder of the Archbishops’ Certificate in Church Music.
From 2006 to 2014 Lee held the position of Director of Music at the prominent church of All Saints Northampton, leading the one hundred members of their separate choirs of boys, girls and men, in seven choral services each week. In 2007 he was appointed Musical Director of the Northampton Bach Choir. With these choirs he has commissioned over seventy new works, including compositions by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, Stephen Cleobury, Jonathan Dove, Michael Finnissy, Stephen Hough, and James MacMillan. The choirs have also toured extensively, from Canada and the United States to Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and Italy.
Lee has also made a number of well-reviewed recordings, most recently Be Merry!, a joint recording of North American Christmas works with the Choirs of All Saints and the Northampton Bach Choir. With the Choirs of All Saints he also recorded Notre Père, Carol of Joy, and Omnes Sancti, and with the Northampton Bach Choir, I was Glad! and Congaudeat!
He is also an active composer and his studies at university led to the award of a Britten-Pears Scholarship to study with Judith Weir; this in turn led to the commissioning and performance of his first Piano Quintet at the Purcell Room at the South Bank Centre, London. He recently completed an arrangement of the National Anthem which was first performed in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and church works recently performed in Bristol and Ely Cathedrals.
Dale Christmas has an MA in conducting from the University of York and a first class BMus from the University of Hull, where he is the recipient of a University PhD scholarship in music and has been a Tutor in the School of Drama, Music and Screen. He studied conducting with Adrian Brown and he has worked with Sinfonia UK Collective, Chimera Ensemble, York University Sinfonietta, Hull University Orchestra and soloists including Sarah Leonard and Rachel Poyser.
In 2014 he was involved with a project for BBC Radio Humberside, researching and recording music for a feature in the World War One at Home series which focused on the Spa, Bridlington.
In 2012, Dale served as music director for a fully staged production of Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea and as music supervisor on the critically acclaimed The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
He has also been the music director of the Hessle Sinfonia, performing works including Dvořák’s ‘New World’ Symphony, Elgar’s ‘Enigma’ Variations, Beethoven’s Eroica and Fifth Symphonies, Brahms’s Second Symphony, Schumann’s Piano Concerto, Vaughan Williams’ A London Symphony and Howard Blake’s score for The Snowman.