Massenet Cendrillon - Glyndebourne

★★★★ ½

“The atmosphere of the production is faithful to Perrault’s dark vision, and the musical direction, under the rising star Duncan Ward, is well nigh faultless, making Massenet’s romantic episodes swell with ardour and his capricious ones sparkle.”

Melanie Eskenazi, MusicOMH, 15 October 2018


“this rich score, its sumptuous textures and delicate solos relished by the Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra and the conductor Duncan Ward”

Rebecca Franks, The Times, 16 October 2018


“What else but magic can explain how Massenet conjures a world of enchantment out of simply a solo flute and a halo of strings for Cendrillon’s first encounter with her Prince Charming? This is a score of elfin delicacy, which the conductor, Duncan Ward, appreciates”

Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 15 October 2018


“In the pit, Duncan Ward conducts with admirable lightness of touch and respect for the instrumental niceties…”

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 14 October 2018

“Duncan Ward and a crack Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra gave a scintillating account of Massenet’s sugared-almond score, with a magnificently robust Glyndebourne Chorus to ice the cake”

Mark Valencia, Bachtrack, 14 October 2018

“Conductor Duncan Ward is wonderfully alert to Massenet’s sensuously glittering textures, and the Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra play most beautifully for him.”

Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 15 October 2018

“Massenet is sometimes, perhaps often, both inside and outside France, seen as a bit of a workaday composer…But his youthful character does not bespeak musical acquiescence or unoriginality, as Duncan Ward’s prising out of great swathes of magnificent, and fresh, compositional detail here at Glyndebourne showed.”

Roderic Dunnett, Seen and Heard International, 16 October 2018

Duncan Ward
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen

Joy to be back in Bremen for the third time with this extraordinary chamber orchestra and a highly unusual programme featuring Louise Farrenc's Third Symphony which they performed to great ovation at Die Glocke, Bremen on 19th and the Cologne Philharmonie on 21st January 2018:

"Der 28-jährige britische Dirigent Duncan Ward dirigiert Farrencs Sinfonie (und auch noch das Menuett der ersten als Zugabe) auswendig, ein mehr als bemerkenswerter Vorgang, wenn man bedenkt, dass nahezu alle „Außenseiter-Sinfonien“ aus den Partituren gespielt werden.

Farrencs 1849 uraufgeführte Sinfonie bildet das bejubelte Finale des Konzertes: ihre geradezu wilden Kontraste, ihre immer vorwärtsdrängende Dramatik, ihre wirbelnden Bläserpartien, ihre musikantische Freude und Leichtigkeit, ihre Mendelssohn’sche Elfenhaftikeit formt Ward bestens. Seine Körpersprache entspricht souverän der Musik.

Das gilt auch für die anderen Wiedergaben eines Konzertes, dessen Programm in höchstem Masse originell ist: Es beginnt mit der Wiedergabe der nur in Klavierskizzen vorhandenen 10. Sinfonie von Franz Schubert, deren Trostlosigkeit der Instrumentator Brian Newbould wunderbar akzentuiert und Ward mit unbeschreiblicher Zartheit umsetzt. Dann die Variationen für Orchester op. 30 von Anton Webern, mit denen Ward Weberns romantische Herkunft betont und dankenswerterweise das komplexe Stück zweimal spielen lässt."

Duncan Ward
Brett Dean 'Hamlet' - Glyndebourne-on-Tour

Photo: Richard Hubert Smith

“The conductor Duncan Ward – also a composer, which can only help in tackling a score as complex and layered as this – drew first-class performances from the Glyndebourne Tour orchestra and chorus.”

***** Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, 29 October 2017

“Then there were the players, kings and queens to a man and woman, in most cases every bit as powerful in this autumn cast as their summer predecessors had been. And conductor Duncan Ward … corralled them all magnificently along with a tour orchestra that sounded as if it’s played this stuff for years.”

**** Mark Valencia, What’s On Stage, 25 October 2017

“Duncan Ward’s conducting has tremendous force. The playing and choral singing are exemplary.”

**** Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 23 October 2017

“In the pit, young Duncan Ward and his orchestra were rightly cheered. This Hamlet doesn’t just deserve your attention, it demands it.”

***** David Mellor, The Daily Mail, 4 November 2017

Duncan Ward
Berlin Konzerthaus Debut

With the Cuban-European Youth Orchestra at Young Euro Classic Festival. Bild: MUTESOUVENIR | KAI BIENERT

"...Orchestermusik vom Feinsten, gefeilt, durchsichtig, jedes Detail gearbeitet, trotzdem nicht dressiert oder angstvoll, immer leicht und schwebend. Dies ist vorzüglich das Verdienst des jungen Dirigenten Duncan Ward, Assistent von Simon Rattle, Bandleader, Komponist und merklich leidenschaftlicher Vermittler. Vor ihm haben die Musiker keine Angst, sie fühlen sich offenbar beflügelt. Beethovens Geschöpfe des Prometheus wurden blitzlebendig...

Am eindrucksvollsten: der gemeinsame Summ-Gesang des Orchesters. Ein insgesamt sehr gelungener Abschluss des Festivals und eine heiße Empfehlung an alle führenden Orchester der Stadt: Duncan Ward wird eine glänzende Karriere machen, hier heißt es zugreifen!"

**** Clemens Goldberg, kulturradio, 4 September 2017

Duncan Ward
Debut Festival Aix-en-Provence

12th July saw Duncan make a triumphant debut with the Orchestre de Paris at the Festival Aix-en-Provence, in a programme consisting of Stravinsky Suites for Small Orchestra, Schubert Symphony No. 3 and Beethoven Symphony No. 4. As one reviewer observed:

'...c’est avec la symphonie n°4 de Beethoven que le jeune prodige britannique a mis la salle à ses pieds. Bénéficiant d’un Orchestre de Paris affûté à tous les pupitres, Duncan Ward a livré une lecture étincelante et précise de cette partition. Avec une totale maîtrise, il a profité de la qualité des instrumentistes pour mettre en valeur les ambiances de chacun des mouvements de l’œuvre tour à tour puissante et délicate. Le tout de tête, comme pour la totalité du concert d’ailleurs. Un grand moment de direction musicale pour cette première de Duncan Ward au Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.”

Michel Egea, Destimed, 13 July 2017

Duncan Ward
Ravi Shankar Sitar Concerto

After spending an incredible month studying with Ravi Shankar at his home in California in summer 2010, it was a great joy for Duncan to finally have the chance to conduct his Sitar Concerto No. 2 together with the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra and Anoushka Shankar as soloist. The concert at the Luxembourg Philharmonie also featured Duncan's own composition 'Fumes', written in 2010 shortly after his return from California and influenced by his impressions there including the whole new world of Indian rhythm, as well as Messiaen's four meditations for orchestra 'L'Ascension'.  

Duncan Ward
Vienna Musikverein Jump-in

Duncan had a triumphant debut with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra last night for a concert in memory of Claudio Abbado founding the Wien Modern Festival. With one day's notice before the start of rehearsals he flew to Vienna to conduct the orchestra in Luigi Dallapiccola 'Three Questions with Two Answers', Friedrich Cerha 'Nacht', Georges Lentz 'Jerusalem' and the final movement of  Mahler Symphony No. 10.

Reviewed here

Duncan Ward
Debut with Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra

5 & 6th October 2016 saw Duncan make a highly successful debut conducting the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm in an exciting programme featuring Duncan’s own composition ‘Fumes’ , inspired by his Californian summer in 2010 studying with the late great Ravi Shankar, Barber’s Violin Concerto with Alexandra Soumm and Elgar’s Enigma Variations.

Simon Lunt
South African Spirit

Rehearsals begin this week in Soweto for Duncan’s major new work for solo soprano, mixed vocal ensemble, jazz band, and symphony orchestra commissioned by MIAGI (Music Is A Great Investment). The piece takes inspiration from Monteverdi L’Orfeo alongside indigenous chants from across Africa.

Simon Lunt