William Boughton was born into a musical family: his grandfather (Rutland Boughton) was a composer, his father a professional viola player, and his mother a singer. After cello studies at the New England Conservatory (Boston), Guildhall School of Music (London), and Prague Academy, he entered the profession in London, playing with the Royal Philharmonic, BBC, and London Sinfonietta.
The experience of playing in orchestras led to a passion to pursue a career in conducting and he decided to return to studies first with George Hurst and then with Sir Colin Davis. In 1980, he formed the English Symphony Orchestra and developed the ESO’s repertoire through the Baroque period to Viennese classics and into contemporary music. During his time with the ESO, he commissioned more than 20 works from such composers as Peter Sculthorpe, John Joubert, Anthony Powers, Michael Berkeley, John Metcalf, Stephen Roberts, and Adrian Williams. The depth of his partnership with the ESO was epitomized in 1985 when, as Artistic Director of the Malvern Festival, he collaborated with Sir Michael Tippett in presenting a musical celebration of the composer’s eightieth birthday, which became the subject of a BBC “Omnibus” documentary.
With the ESO on Nimbus Records, he built a significant discography of internationally acclaimed recordings—predominantly of English music—a number of which reached the Top Ten on the US charts. During his final years with the ESO, Boughton successfully launched the first ESO Elgar Festival in Malvern and Worcester, and also celebrated the orchestra’s 25th Anniversary performing a complete Beethoven symphony cycle, in which he created a new series of pre-concert performances of British contemporary music, including works by Birtwistle, Knussen, Watkins, Woolrich, Holloway, and Turnage. He has participated in a number of high-profile arts programs for BBC Television, a radio program about Elgar that was broadcast in New York, Chicago, Washington, and Boston in 2006, and a series entitled “1st Eleven” for Classic FM, during the 2006 Soccer World Cup. He has guest conducted major orchestras around the world, including the San Francisco, London, and Helsinki Symphony Orchestras.
In July 2007, he became the tenth Music Director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, with whom he has instituted a Composer-in-Residence program and undertaken a major recording project of the works of William Walton; the first recording—Walton’s Violin Concerto and First Symphony—was released by Nimbus in 2010 and selected as a Critic’s Choice for 2010 by prestigious Gramophone Magazine. Under Boughton’s leadership, the NHSO was awarded an ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming in both 2010 and 2014.
As a sought after guest conductor, Chelsea has appeared with numerous major orchestras in the U.S., including Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Houston, Atlanta, Indianapolis, New Jersey, Nashville, Hilton Head, and San Antonio, as well as the Brooklyn, Louisiana, and Rochester Philharmonics, and the Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana (Palermo) among others. During the summer of 2011 he was part of an extensive European tour with pop artist Sting that took him to 15 countries and to work with 19 different European orchestras. He prepared the orchestras for the concerts and performed with Sting in concert in the Canary Islands, Granada, and Cap Roig Spain. Chelsea recently conducted the Sphinx Competition Showcase gala concert at Carnegie Hall, which was the culmination of a ten city tour with that orchestra. He was a last minute replacement for Robert Spano to conduct an all-Gershwin season finale with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. The New York Times applauded Tipton for “leading sweeping and vibrant performances” of Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris.
Alasdair Neale will be the 11th music director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and his tenure will begin in June 2019.
Alasdair Neale is Music Director of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony (SVSS) and Music Director of the Marin Symphony. In his twenty-four years as Music Director of the SVSS, Mr. Neale has propelled this festival to national status: it is now the largest privately funded free admission symphony in America. Among the many celebrated guest artists that Mr. Neale has brought to this festival are: Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, Audra McDonald, Midori, Itzhak Perlman, Gil Shaham, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yuja Wang and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
As Music Director of the Marin Symphony since 2001, Mr. Neale has been hailed for invigorating the orchestra and establishing it as one of the finest in the Bay Area. Under Mr. Neale’s direction, the Marin Symphony was chosen as one of several distinguished orchestras to participate in Magnum Opus, a groundbreaking, decade-long commissioning project bringing new music to the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Osvaldo Golijov, Kevin Puts, Kenji Bunch, David Carlson, and Avner Dorman were among the composers represented in the project.
Mr. Neale’s appointment with the Marin Symphony followed 12 years as Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. During that time he conducted both orchestras in hundreds of critically acclaimed concerts both here and abroad. In 1999, he substituted for an ailing Michael Tilson Thomas, conducting the San Francisco Symphony in widely praised performances of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony in Germany. Under Mr. Neale’s direction, the Youth Orchestra became one of the finest young ensembles in the world, receiving consistent rave reviews for performances in San Francisco, as well as on tour in Amsterdam, Leipzig, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Dublin, Copenhagen, and Vienna.
From 2001 to 2011, Mr. Neale served as Principal Guest Conductor of the New World Symphony. From 2001 to 2014, he served on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has guest conducted numerous orchestras around the world, including the New York Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, Houston Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Seattle Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Honolulu Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Nashville Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Florida Orchestra, New Haven Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Sydney Symphony, Real Filharmonia de Galicia, l’Orchestre Métropolitan du Grand-Montréal, Radio Sinfonie Orchester Stuttgart, Auckland Philharmonia, Orchestra of St. Gallen (Switzerland), MDR Leipzig, NDR Hannover, Trondheim Symphony, Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, and at the Aspen Music Festival.
Alasdair Neale holds a Bachelor’s degree from Cambridge University and a Master’s from Yale University, where his principal teacher was Otto-Werner Mueller.