British conductor David Murphy holds an unparalleled position in today’s international music scene. Crossing and combining genres effortlessly, Murphy creates new and vibrant performances that are crafted afresh each time he comes to the podium.
His experience and scholarly knowledge of repertoire together with his unconventional musical journey add an innovative and creative spark to his music making.
A champion of British music, Murphy has given the London premiere of Indra by Gustav Holst with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the European Premiere of the same work with the Residentie Orkest, and the Polish premiere of Elgar/Payne Symphony No. 3. His many operatic projects began as assistant to Sir Charles Mackerras at English National Opera and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and have gone on to include Così fan tutte at Longborough Opera and performances of Savitri by Holst with London Sinfonietta.
His conducting has seen him work with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Residentie Orkest, Britten Sinfonia and the London Sinfonietta. He formed his own chamber orchestra Sinfonia Verdi in 1990, a versatile orchestra featuring virtuoso musicians performing traditional classical repertoire and newly commission work in collaboration with musicians from diverse cultures.
Born in Pembrokeshire Wales, David began his musical studies as a violinist. He was awarded a full scholarship to the Purcell School where the influence of legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin sparked his interest in Indian Classical music along with yoga and Indian philosophy.
Following time at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama studying with members of the Amadeus String Quartet and Catherine MacIntosh, his professional conducting debut occurred at a moment’s notice. The experience led to full time conducting study, privately with Leon Barzin, with Gustav Meier and Seiji Ozawa at Tanglewood and mentoring by Sir Charles Mackerras.
Another prominent mentor was Ravi Shankar, setting Murphy on a path to pioneering projects with the greatest masters of Indian classical music. These legends of the music world enabled Murphy to shed a fresh new light on Western Classical music, giving his work a global perspective.
Murphy’s partnership with Ravi Shankar culminated in the world premiere of Shankar’s Symphony performed at the Royal Festival Hall by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Anoushkar Shankar in 2010, and saw Murphy complete the ground-breaking East-meets-West opera Sukanya in 2017 that he began with Shankar before his passing. Murphy also helped devise and give the world premiere of Samaagam with Indian sarod legend Amjad Ali Khan and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra which was recorded to great acclaim.
Murphy is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.