The British Broadcasting Corporation announced that Israeli conductor-composer Omer Meir Wellber, 36, has been appointed as the BBC Philharmonic’s new chief conductor. He is to take up the post in September 2019 and his initial contract is for four years.
“I first worked with the BBC Philharmonic in March and knew straight away that they were a very special group of people and exceptional musicians,” said Wellber, who is succeeding Spanish maestro Juanjo Mena in this role.
“Having seen Omer conducting a number of orchestras over the last year I have been fortunate to have experienced his brilliance firsthand in a wide range of repertoire,” said BBC Philharmonic General Manager Simon Webb.
“His immediate connection with the BBC Philharmonic was evident in his first concert and we are now delighted to have secured one of the most sought after young conductors of his generation.”
Wellber has been principal guest conductor at Semperoper Dresden since September 2018 and, since 2009, music director of the Ra’anana Symphonette Orchestra in his native Israel. In January 2020, he will start his tenure as music director of the Teatro Massimo di Palermo.
Born in Beersheva, Wellber is making his conducting debut in five performances of the opera “Carmen” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York during October and November. His operatic career has taken him to the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia as music director from 2010 to 2014, to the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich and the Glyndebourne Festival.
A regular guest conductor at the Bavarian State Opera Munich, La Fenice in Venice and the Israeli Opera, Wellber balances frequent international appearances with a commitment to performing classical music and promoting music integration projects in Israel. He also is a Good Will Ambassador for Save a Child’s Heart, a nonprofit medical charity based at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon providing free cardiac surgeries to children from developing nations.