ENO Mackerras Conducting Fellowship

A structured two-year programme is designed to develop the Fellow’s personal skills

Charles Mackerras

The Charles Mackerras Conducting Fellowship is awarded by the English National Opera to an exceptional emerging conductor.   A structured two-year programme is designed to develop the Fellow’s personal skills.  The Fellow – mentored by the Music Director, the Music Team and Guest Conductors –   is embedded in the Company, which provides training and advice, and a deeper understanding of professional areas such as casting, grant applications, media handling and strategy.

The Fellow shadows the Music Director, assists on productions, visits international Opera Houses, and usually completes the Fellowship by conducting their own opera on the main stage of the London Coliseum.  Previous Fellows, who have hailed from Hungary, UK and Italy, have conducted The Magic Flute, The Mikado and Carmen amongst others.

The Mackerras Fellowship honours the name of Sir Charles Mackerras who was long associated with ENO – and many other opera houses around the world – celebrating the achievement of one of the finest conductors of the last century.

English National Opera

Since the re-opening of the London Coliseum in 2004, ENO has gone from strength to strength and in spring 2009 the Company received every available UK opera award for work in 2008, a unique achievement. Today ENO is known for producing ground-breaking stagings of new and core repertoire and for its exceptionally high musical standards. In recent years ENO has had particular success in attracting new audiences to opera, forging creative partnerships with opera companies around the world and in developing the careers of young British opera singers. At ENO opera is theatre; expressing drama through the unique combination of music, text, dance, and design. They sing in English and believe that singing in our own language connects the performers and the audience to the drama onstage, and enhances the experience for all. They are a national company of internationally recognised standard who nurture talent across the entire company, whether on-stage, backstage, or in the pit. ENO’s vision is to be synonymous with making great opera accessible to the widest and most diverse audiences.


Olivia Clarke

British/Irish conductor Olivia Clarke is the current ENO Mackerras Fellow. A recipient of the DAAD (Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst) scholarship for her conducting studies, Olivia trained with Steven Sloane and Harry Curtis at the International Conducting Academy Berlin, Universität der Künste, graduating in 2020. During her studies Olivia conducted concerts with the Neubrandenburger Philharmonie, Hradec Králové Philharmonie, Magdeburgische Philharmonie, and Brandenburger Symphoniker, who invited her back as Guest Conductor. Olivia also conducted in masterclasses with the Deutsche Symphonie Orchester, Bochum Symphoniker, Komische Oper, and Kammerakademie Potsdam.

Olivia conducted Fidelio for Glyndebourne Touring Opera in 2021, she made her main-stage conducting debut at English National Opera in 2022 with Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen.

She recently jumped in at Cadogan Hall to conduct the ENO Orchestra in an opera gala concert with National Opera Studio and the Opera Magazine wrote: “Among the rising stars at this showcase, none shone more brightly than the one who waved the baton.”



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Olivia has held Music Director positions at Orchester Benjamin Franklin (2018-2019), Kelvin Choir (2016-2017), Fox Opera (2016-2018). She also enjoys a long-standing relationship with the Finchley Children’s Music Group in London, a choir she was once a member of, and now teaches on their annual summer schools.

Before Berlin Olivia studied singing at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Music at The Queen’s College, Oxford, where she was an organ scholar. Olivia is an Associate of the Royal College of Organists.

Operatic work includes: as assistant conductor, La Bohème, Orphée (ENO); L’heure espagnole, Angélique, La voix humaine (Universität der Künste); as conductor, Der Zarewitsch (Nordharzerstädtebundtheater); Art of Venus (Music Troupe); Der Schauspieldirektor, Le docteur Miracle (Fox Opera); as assistant conductor/répétiteur, Die Zauberflöte (Oper oder Spree), as répétiteur, The Rake’s Progress (British Youth Opera).

Valentina Peleggi

Valentina Peleggi began her tenure as Music Director of the Richmond Symphony (Virginia, USA) in Summer 2020. Described by the BBC Music Magazine as a “rising star”, Peleggi has led orchestras from around the world including most recently the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In 2018 she was awarded the ENO Charles Mackerras Fellowship, conducting Carmen, Boheme, Orpheus in the Underworld and Dido and Aeneas. She returns as a guest in 2021, when she will also debut at Garsington Opera. In 20/21 planned symphonic engagements include her debuts with the Quebec Symphony, Malmo Symphony, Brussels Philharmonic and European Union Youth Orchestra in Ferrara; also the release of her first CD, featuring a cappella works by Villa Lobos in a new critical edition for Naxos, guest edited by Ms Peleggi and performed by the Sao Paulo Symphony Chorus. 



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Spring 2020 saw a string of engagements cancelled due to the pandemic, notably with the Bournemouth Symphony, Residentie Orkest Den Haag, Gulbenkian Orchestra, National Symphony in Dublin, New Zealand Symphony, Tasmanian Symphony, BBC Singers, and the Orquestra della Toscana in her home town of Florence, Italy.

Ms Peleggi previously served as Resident Conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the São Paulo Symphony Chorus. During her years with the Sao Paulo Symphony Peleggi conducted many subscription concerts, created innovative community projects and continues to return as a guest. She won the APCA Prize in 2016 as Conductor of the Year from the Sao Paulo Society of Critics of the Arts and was voted “Young Talent of 2017” by readers of Brazil’s specialist music magazine Revista Concerto. She currently holds the position of Guest Music Director of the Theatro Sao Pedro, responsible for Italian opera.

The first Italian woman to enter the conducting programme at the Royal Academy of Music of London, she graduated with distinction and was awarded the DipRAM for an outstanding final concert as well as numerous other prizes, and was recently honoured with the title of Associate. She assisted Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Semyon Bychkov and Christian Thielemann, and furthered her studies with David Zinman and Daniele Gatti at the Zurich Tonhalle and at the Royal Concertgebouw masterclasses. She won the 2014 Conducting Prize at the Festival International de Inverno Campos do Jordão, received a Bruno Walter Foundation Scholarship at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California, and the Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship 2015-2017 under Marin Alsop. Peleggi holds a Master in Conducting with honours from the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia in Rome, and in 2013 was awarded the Accademia Chigiana’s highest award, going on to assist Bruno Campanella and Gianluigi Gelmetti at Teatro Regio di Torino, Opera Bastille Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro Regio di Parma and Teatro San Carlo. She also assisted on a live worldwide broadcast and DVD production of Rossini’s Cenerentola with the Orchestra Nazionale della RAI. From 2005 to 2015 she was the Principal Conductor and Music Director of the University Choir in Florence and remains their Honorary Conductor, receiving a special award from the Government in 2011 in recognition of her work there. Ms Peleggi is passionate about the arts and holds a master in Comparative Literature.

Matthew Kofi Waldren

Anglo-Ghanaian Conductor, Matthew Kofi Waldren, is known for his detailed, responsive and collaborative approach to music-making. Equally at home in the concert hall, recording studio and theatre pit, he has particularly established himself in the latter. Recognised for this innate sense of theatre he has become one of the UK’s foremost opera conductors. Matthew regularly collaborates with the UK’s major opera companies, orchestras, conservatoires and singers. He is co-founder of Your Turn Collective, a research and development incubator that enables music-creators from under-represented backgrounds to realise their creative vision, and which connects them with organisations who produce their vision on their own terms.

Recent seasons have included collaborations with Chineke!, Royal Opera House Linbury Theatre, English National Opera, Opera North, Scottish Opera, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and West Green House Opera. Matthew maintains a special relationship with London’s Opera Holland Park where he has appeared as a Guest Conductor in each season since 2013. Future plans include a debut with CBSO and CBSO Chorus, the world premiere of Migrations for Welsh National Opera, L’elisir d’amore for West Green House Opera, and returns to RCS, Opera North, and ENO.


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An acclaimed interpreter of Italian repertoire, recent and upcoming highlights include Rigoletto, La traviata, Un ballo in maschera, La rondine, Zanetto, Il barbiere di Siviglia (Opera Holland Park), La bohème (Opera North, Opera Holland Park), Gianni Schicchi (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Opera Holland Park), Don Giovanni (Opera North), Le nozze di Figaro (English National Opera), La cenerentola (West Green House Opera). Other recent highlights include Pelléas et Mélisande (Scottish Opera), Lakmé, Les pêcheurs de perles (Opera Holland Park), Les mamelles de Tirésias (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Royal Opera Linbury Theatre, Opera Holland Park, WIlderness Festival), Texting Heer (Royal Opera R&D), Paul Bunyan (English National Opera), Fantastic Mr Fox (Opera Holland Park).

Matthew’s debut studio recording – Will Todd’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on Signum Classics – entered the specialist Classical Chart at Number 1. Film credits include Un ballo in maschera (Opera Holland Park), La petite bohème (Opera North ONDemand), Future releases include a disc of William Grant Still and Florence Price symphonies with Chineke! Orchestra and Signum Records, and The Orchestra of Stories (Tom Hickox, Chineke!, Onyx Brass).

Matthew’s recent and current performance calendar has been impacted by the global pandemic. However, in 2020 he embarked upon several exciting collaborations. With the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North he recorded the soundtrack for the animation La petite bohème and collaborated with Neo-Soul singer Tawiah as part of Opera North’s Resonance programme. With the strings of Chineke! and Onyx Brass he conducted the recording of singer-songwriter Tom Hickox’s new album, The Orchestra of Stories. With Opera Holland Park and City of London Sinfonia he conducted a series of outdoor recordings and concerts featuring some of the UK’s finest singers.

Matthew was ENO Mackerras Fellow (2016-18) where his mentors including Mark Wigglesworth and Martyn Brabbins. Recent accolades include an Olivier Award nomination for ENO’s production Paul Bunyan at Wilton’s Music Hall and a ‘best newcomer’ nomination at the International Opera Awards.

Toby Purser

Toby Purser’s combination of passion and intellect, structure and freedom, poetry and drama have earned him attention and praise from opera critics including The Times (“such musical energy”), The Telegraph (“galvanising”), and WhatsOnStage (“scintillating precision”). 

Newly appointed as Head of Conducting at London’s Royal College of Music, Toby Purser’s conducting is recognised for its combination of passion and intellect, poetry and drama. In 2019, his operatic collaborations were nominated for an Olivier Award (Best New Opera Production – Britten The Turn of the Screw with ENO/Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) and an International Opera Award (Best Rediscovered Work – Stanford The Travelling Companion with New Sussex Opera). Recognised as a world leader in the conducting community, at the beginning he the Covid pandemic he launched Conductors in Isolation, an online forum which now has over 1600 members worldwide.


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Engagements during 2019 / 2020 included conducting Fidelio for Lyric Opera, Dublin, and La Belle Helène in a co-production between New Sussex Opera and Opera della Luna. Other projects included he launch of his new orchestral ensemble Sinfonia 1, online masterclasses at Aberystwyth MusicFest, and concerts with the East Anglia Chamber Orchestra, the London Concert Orchestra and the Manchester Concert Orchestra. Despite the pandemic, he was able to conduct performances of Don Giovanni at the Eschenbach Palais, Vienna, the world premiere of David Pountney and Alex Woolf’s A Feast in the Time of Plague for Grange Park Opera, concert performances of music by Bartók and Baczewitz at the Royal College of Music and Night Under the Stars, streamed from the stage of English National Opera, in aid of The Passage.As Musical Director of New Sussex Opera, Toby Purser conducts the recently released CD from the 2018 production of Stanford’s The Travelling Companion, now available on Somm Céleste. He is founding Musical Director of the Vienna Opera Festival and Academy, launched in Summer 2019 and for whom he will conduct Così fan tutte this Summer. His inspirational music-making has prompted guest invitations from English National Opera (where he completed two seasons as ENO Mackerras Conducting Fellow), Grange Park Opera, Opéra National de Paris, St Petersburg Festival Orchestra and many leading British orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, which he conducted in Jesús León’s debut CD Bel Canto for Opus Arte CD, and Sinfonia Viva.For English National Opera, he has conducted The Turn of the Screw, The Marriage of Figaro and La Traviata. At Grange Park Opera, he has conducted Madama Butterfly, Eugene Onegin, Rigoletto and Fortunio, which was also performed at the Buxton Festival, and with Opera della Luna The Daughter of the Regiment, Orpheus in the Underworld, the UK premiere of Johann Strauss’s operetta Das Spitzentuch der Königin, and Tales of Offenbach. Other operatic performances have included La bohème for Lyric Opera, Dublin, Bailey’s The Black Monk for The Sirius Ensemble, Haydn’s The Apothecary and La Canterina for Bampton Classical Opera, Hänsel und Gretel and Die Entführung aus dem Serail for British Youth Opera and Le Comte Ory for Chelsea Opera Group.He has also worked as assistant to Mark Wigglesworth on Lulu and Ryan Wigglesworth on The Winter’s Tale at ENO, as well as assisting Edward Gardner on Eugene Onegin at the Opéra National de Paris and Anthony Negus on Tristan und Isolde at Longborough Festival Opera. For Pimlico Opera, he has conducted productions in various prisons, with a cast of inmates performing alongside professionals in repertoire include Carmen the Musical, Les Misérables, Sugar, Sister Act, Sweeney Todd and West Side Story.Since 2019, Toby Purser has been Principal Guest Conductor of the Orion Orchestra, which he founded in 2005 and developed into one of London’s great orchestral successes, now recognised as a leading organisation for young musicians. Together they initiated the Alpha & Omega concert series, a Composers’ Prize, a Young Conductors’ Award and a Great Young Soloists series, as well as touring with them to Singapore as part of the Shaw Foundation’s ‘Ones to Watch’ Series.As Artistic Director of the Peace and Prosperity Trust, he has been furthering cultural collaboration between the UK and the Middle East with concerts in Beirut and London, bringing together Western and Middle Eastern opera singers, helping relaunch the Beirut Orpheus Choir, and taking music and musical instruments to Syrian children in the refugee camps on the Lebanese/Syrian border.ore

Fergus Macleod

While a choral and instrumental scholar at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge Fergus founded a new music group, Ensemble CB3, with whom he gave numerous world premieres by composers such as David Thorne and Thomas Hewitt-Jones; conducted performances of Handel’s Xerxes with Fitzwilliam Chamber Opera and was appointed Conductor of the Cambridge University Music Society.

He became the ENO’s youngest conductor for 60 years, when, at 28, he conducted The Mikado.


Gergely Madaras

In the 2019/20 season Gergely Madaras began his tenure as Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège in Belgium. As well as curating several series in Liège and at the Bozar in Brussels, his inaugural season included three CD recordings, a continued collaboration with Mezzo HD (Artist of the Month September 2019) as well as a tour to the Bucharest Enescu Festival. Gergely also continues as Chief Conductor of the Savaria Symphony Orchestra in his native Hungary, a post he occupies since 2014. Having forged strong professional relationships throughout Europe, Gergely regularly appears as a guest conductor with orchestras including the BBC Symphony, Hallé, BBC Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National de Lyon, Filarmonica della Scala, Maggio Muiscale Fiorentino, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Hungarian National Philharmonic and Hungarian Radio orchestras, the Copenhagen, Oslo, Bergen, Luxembourg and Warsaw National philharmonic orchestras as well as with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Münchener Kammerorchester and Academy of Ancient Music.


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Further afield, he has appeared with the Melbourne, Queensland and Houston Symphony orchestras. Highlights of the 2019/20 season include Gergely’s debut with Netherlands Philharmonic at Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam, where he will also make a second appearance for his Netherlands Radio Philharmonic debut in August 2020. Gergely has further debuts with BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Norwegian Radio Orchestra and the chamber orchestras of Lausanne and Geneva. Gergely returns once more to the Hallé for several UK appearances throughout the season. Other re-invitations include Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre National de Montpellier, BBC Scottish Symphony and the BBC Singers. The previous season saw Gergely opening the 2018 Milano Musica Festival at La Scala, his debut at the Philharmonie de Paris with the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, his debuts at the Barbican and Royal Festival Hall in London as well as Suntory Hall in Tokyo. Last season Gergely concluded his 6-year tenure as Music Director of the Orchestre Dijon Bourgogne. During his years in Dijon he nearly tripled the orchestra’s regular audience and reconnected the organization to its home city by reshaping the repertoire and re-integrating the ensemble into the main season of the Dijon Auditorium. While Gergely is grounded in the core classical and romantic repertoire, he maintains a close relationship with new music. He has collaborated closely with composers Geroge Benjamin, Péter Eötvös, György Kurtág, Tristan Murail, Luca Francesconi and Pierre Boulez, for whom he served as assistant conductor at the Lucerne Festival Academy between 2011-2013. He conducted over 100 works written after 1970, including many world premieres. At the age of 18, he founded a festival for young composers in Budapest with his wife, flautist Noemi Gyori. During its six-year run, the festival oversaw the première of 120 compositions by 47 composers. Askonas Holt Limited 15 Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1BW, United Kingdom T +44 (0)20 7400 1700 askonasholt.co.uk info@askonasholt.co.uk Gergely has also established a fine reputation as an opera conductor. In 2012 he was the inaugural Sir Charles Mackerras Fellow at the English National Opera. The fellowship culminated in his debut with the company, where he conducted Simon McBurney’s new production of Magic Flute at the London Coliseum. Since then he has conducted highly praised productions of Le nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, Otello, La traviata, La Bohème and Lucia di Lammermoor at such houses as the Dutch National Opera, Grand Théâtre de Genève (with Orchestre de la Suisse Romande) and Hungarian State Opera, among others. Prompted by a keen interest in re-discovering rarely performed works, Gergely has also conducted productions of Goldmark’s Ein Wintermärchen, Grieg’s Peer Gynt, Barber’s Vanessa, Donizetti’s Viva la Mamma and Offenbach’s Fantasio. Gergely is a regular guest at the major music festivals such as Lucerne, Gstaad, Milano Musica, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Septembre Musical Montreux, MiTo Settembre Musica, Budapest Spring Festival, Bucharest Enescu Festival and Tokyo Stradivarius Festival, and he has been a conducting fellow at Tanglewood and Aspen. He regularly collaborates with world-renowned soloists such as Patricia Kopatchinskaya, Renaud Capuçon, Vilde Frang, Denis Kozhukhin, Victor Julien-Laferrière, Alexander Gavrylyuk, Eliso Virsaladze, Francois Leleux, Sharon Kam just to name but a few, as well as with his compatriots Kristóf Baráti, Dezső Ránki, István Várdai and Barnabás Kelemen. Born in Budapest in 1984, Gergely first began studying folk music with the last generation of authentic Hungarian Gipsy and peasant musicians at the age of five. He then went on to study classical flute, violin and composition, graduating from the flute faculty of the Liszt Academy in Budapest, as well as the conducting faculty of the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where he studied with Mark Stringer. Besides his varied musical activities, Gergely retains a deep passion for Magyar music, and is an ambitious advocate of Bartók, Kodály and Dohnányi. Having conducted nearly all the orchestral repertoire of these composers, he makes regular performances, recordings and broadcasts of this œuvre with different orchestras worldwide. In addition to nurturing new audiences, keeping a lively connection to the younger generation of professional musicians is essential to him. In 2002, at the age of 17, he founded the Budapest Youth Symphony Orchestra together with Noemi Gyori. The ensemble consisted of 60 young professionals, and actively toured for three seasons in Hungary, Germany and Switzerland. Between 2010-2012 he held the prestigious Junior Fellowship in Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, receiving mentorship from Sir Mark Elder. Since the end of his tenure, he annually returns to work with the different orchestras and ensembles of the RNCM. Besides the Lucerne Festival Academy, where he returned for five summers, Gergely also maintains a close relationship with the European Philharmonic of Switzerland, an international orchestra assembled by alumni of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, who now hold positions at the world’s top orchestras. Past collaborations with academy students and young professionals included a joint concert between the orchestras of the Royal Academy of Music (London) and Tokyo Geidai, and a gala concert with the Symphony Orchestra of the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. In 2011 Gergely received the Junior Prima Prize, awarded for the most outstanding young artists in Hungary, and in the same year he was a finalist at the Besançon International Competition for Young Conductors, winning the Arte Live Web prize.