Our Conductors

The Edinburgh University Music Society, with its three hundred plus members and regular schedule of performances, is no small ensemble. Combining quality of music with a wide repertoire, EUMS requires commitment at all levels. The Society continues to grow in strength, and this is in no small part due to the dedication of our team of conductors.

Neil Metcalfe – Chorus

Neil Metcalfe read music at the University of Edinburgh before taking-up a scholarship in the opera school of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where he trained as a répétiteur, vocal coach, pianist, continuo player and conductor. He worked for a number of years on the music staff of Scottish Opera, in opera houses in Australia (Sydney), Germany (Dortmund), the United States (Pittsburgh), Northern Ireland (Belfast), and also with many touring companies including Bolshoi Opera, Kirov Opera, Catalan National Theatre, and Deutsche Oper am Rhein.

As a performer he has recorded for the BBC (most recently with National Girls’ Choir of Scotland) and on the Linn Records label (most recently with Dunedin Consort in JS Bach’s Mass in B Minor) and enjoys a busy career as a solo artist, accompanist, MD and conductor. He has appeared in venues as far afield as Greenland and Australia in a wide number of genres from musical theatre to chamber music.

He is also a keen supporter of young people in music; he is chairman of the Scottish Schools Orchestra, a trustee of Edinburgh Young Musicians, and works as an examiner and adjudicator. Neil currently holds the posts of musical director of Edinburgh Grand Opera, Edinburgh Music Theatre Company, Balerno Theatre Company, our very own EUMS Chorus, Edinburgh Studio Opera, the Maltings Theatre and Opening Night Productions. He is also lecturer in Performance Studies at Stevenson College, Edinburgh.

Kristine Donnan – Sinfonia

Kristine Donnan joins the roster of EUMS conductors in 2023 – the first female conductor in EUMS history!

Bio to come!

William Conway – Symphony Orchestra

William Conway is an internationally renowned conductor, whose performances have been described as ‘astonishingly convincing’ (Opera magazine), ‘a tour de force’ (Guardian), with ‘a flair for the unpredictable’ (Financial Times). On the podium, he is known for his conviction, clarity and intelligent musicianship, while his collaborations with Hebrides Ensemble, of whom he is the Artistic Director and founding member, have been praised for their fresh and inspirational approach to programming. His dedication to developing contemporary music has been recognised by an award from the Scottish Society of Composers for an outstanding contribution to new music.

Born in Glasgow, Conway studied cello in Scotland and London before returning home to take the position of Principal Cello with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for ten years which he combined with this present post of Principal Cello with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, of which he is a founder member. He will appear at a series of international festivals with Hebrides Ensemble in the coming season and has just filmed a solo recital available to watch on www.hebridesensemble.com.

As a conductor, he studied in Helsinki with Jukka-Pekka Saraste and was a finalist and prizewinner in the 1994 Leeds Conductors’ Competition. Since then, he has established himself as a versatile conductor in chamber, symphonic and operatic repertoire, with a host of major orchestras both at home and abroad. He continues to add to his extensive opera repertoire and over the last few seasons has conducted Mozart’s Figaro and Magic Flute, Verdi’s Otello Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Puccini’s Tosca, Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana as well as a guest appearance with Aalborg Symphony Orchestra and next season Bellini’s Norma. He made his conducting debut at the 2018 BBC Proms in a staged performance of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale and in Spring 2021 conducted a filmed performance of Passio by Arvo Pärt with Hebrides Ensemble and Dunedin Consort, Britten’s Our Hunting Fathers at Aldeburgh Festival and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde at Lammermuir Festival..

He is Music Director of Edinburgh Studio Opera and Artistic Director of St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh. He works extensively with young musicians and enjoys his long, ongoing relationship with the orchestras and singers at Edinburgh University in particular. He also teaches conducting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio 3 and has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Linn Records, Unicorn-Kanchana, NMC and most recently Delphian Records in a series of highly successful recordings of the music of Judith Weir and Nigel Osborne.Their recordings on the same label of music by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and Sir James MacMillan reached no 3 and no 1 respectively in the classical music charts.

Matthew Brown – Chorus (Temporary)

Matthew Brown is a pianist, composer, and musical director based in Larbert, Scotland. He works with numerous vocalists in styles ranging from jazz and musical theatre to classical and opera. He has worked for ‘Music in Hospitals and Care’ since 1999 and as musical director for Nonsense Room Productions, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Queen Margaret University, the Citizens Theatre, Edinburgh Music Theatre, Edinburgh Grand Opera, and the Strathcarron Singers. He is also an animateur for Scottish Opera’s Education programme most notably as musical director and arranger for the acclaimed Memory Spinners Project working with dementia sufferers and their families.

Matthew’s music has been widely performed across the UK and further afield. He is the composer of several successful children’s shows including ‘Hairy Maclary & Friends’ which enjoyed a residency at Sydney Opera House, ‘Shark in the Park’, and most recently ‘You Choose’. He also wrote and arranged the music for ‘Here we stay’ – an acclaimed collaboration between the Citizens Theatre and the Scottish Refugee Council. Most recently he wrote the score to ‘Sweet FA’ an exciting new show about the history of women’s football staged at Tynecastle stadium in the 2021 fringe and he is currently Musical Director and Arranger for ‘Lena’ – a brand new show about the life of Lena Zavaroni.