HANDEL “Il fuggir, cara mia” from Arminio
HANDEL “Scherza Infida” from Ariodante
Laurence Cummings on Handel’s Messiah
Messiah Backstage Interview with English National Opera
Laurence Cummings is an internationally acclaimed conductor and harpsichordist, and an exciting and versatile exponent of historical performance. 2016 marks his fifth season as Artistic Director of the International Händel-Festpiele Göttingen. Since 1999 he has served as Music Director of the London Handel Festival where performances have included productions of Messiah, Deborah, Athalia, Esther, Agrippina, Sosarme, Alexander Balus, Hercules, Samson, Ezio, Riccardo Primo and Tolomeo. As Head of Historical Performance at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) from 1997–2012, he brought both baroque and classical orchestras into the established curriculum. He is now the William Crotch Professor of Historical Performance at the RAM. He was also Musical Director of the Tilford Bach Society and is a trustee of Handel House London, and a regular guest at Casa da Musica in Porto where he conducts Orquestra Barroca Casa da Música.
Mr. Cummings enjoys an active career as a guest conductor. He made his U.S. debut conducting Orfeo with the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston. He has led the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and makes regular appearances with the English Concert and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, both in the UK and on tour. He also works with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (RLPO), Ulster Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra in Bridgewater Hall, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Royal Academy of Music Baroque, Northern Sinfonia, Jerusalem Symphony, Basel Chamber Orchestra and Wiener Akademie.
He has conducted operas at many prestigious venues in the UK and Europe, including the English National Opera (Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea and Orfeo, and Handel’s Semele, Messiah, and Radamisto); Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Giulio Cesare and Purcell’s The Fairy Queen); Gothenburg Opera (Giulio Cesare and Alcina); Garsington Opera (Vivaldi’s L’Incoronazione di Dario, La Verita in Cimento, and L’Olimpiade); Opera de Lyon (Messiah); Opernhaus Zurich (SALE); Linbury Theatre Covent Garden (Alceste); and English Touring Opera (Ariodante and Tolome).
He is known for having introduced many Handel rarities (Deborah, Esther, Alexander Balus, Hercules, Ezio, Riccardo Primo) as well as little-known works by other Baroque composers including Emilio de Cavalieri (Rappresentatione di Anima e di Corpo); Eccles (The Judgment of Paris and King Arthur); and Francisco António de Almeida (La Spinalba and La Guiditta).
His extensive discography includes the first recording of Handel’s newly discovered Gloria (with Emma Kirkby and the Royal Academy of Music on BIS) and recital discs of solo harpsichord music (including music by Louis and Francois Couperin) for Naxos. A disc of Handel arias with Angelika Kirchschlager and the Basel Chamber Orchestra on Sony BMG was followed by a recording of Handel duets with Lawrence Zazzo and Nuria Rial, also with the Basel Chamber Orchestra, on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi. He conducts the English Concert and recorder player Maurice Steger in a disc of Corelli concertos for Harmonia Mundi.
Cummings’ appearances in the United States this season include performances of Handel’s Messiah with the National Symphony Orchestra and the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra and also Handel’s Agrippina at the Juilliard School. His engagements abroad include performances with Göteborg Opera, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Musikcollegium Winterthur, Ulster Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, London Handel Society, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and the English Concert together with his commitments at Casa da Musica and the London and Göttingen Handel Festivals.