Michael Nebe, our Musical Director and conductor since 1990, passed away on 8 October 2021 after a long illness.
Born in Germany, Michael studied at the Musik-Hochschule in Dortmund , King’s College London (under Thurston Dart and Anthony Milner) where he gained his M.Mus degree and the Royal Academy of Music in London (under Florence Hooton, cello and Colin Hampton, chamber music). After his London debut at the Wigmore Hall he has had world-wide tours as a cellist with concerts, TV and radio performances in Europe, USA, Canada and Australia where he toured extensively for the ABC and held guest professorships at several universities.
Michael studied conducting in Dortmund and later in London with Lawrence Leonard (Morley College) and in the Czech Republic with Maestro Jiri Belohlavec, Kirk Trevor, Zdenek Bilek and Georg Tintner (International Conductors’ Seminat, Zlin). His first conducting appointment was as organist and choir-master in Dortmund at the age of 14 and he made his professional conducting debut at 16 with the Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra.
He conducted in many countries and his conducting repertoire was very large and varied, encompassing works from the Baroque period to Contemporary Music where he was particularly active with over 100 British and World premieres to his credit. In London he appeared at many venues including the South Bank Halls, Fairfield Halls, St John’s, Smith Square, St Martin-in-the-Fields, St James’s, Piccadilly as well as venues and festivals nationwide. Michael won many scholarships and awards. As a composer and performer he attended the International Courses for Contemporary Music in Darmstadt (Germany) and the Gaudeamus International Contemporary Music Festival in the Netherlands.
Until his illness, Michael was active as a conductor, cellist, teacher, coach and adjudicator and was a member of the Plaegan Piano Trio. He worked with an array of outstanding artists such as Leonid Gorokhov, Daniel Grimwood, Alan Brown, Nelly Miricioiu, Amy Dixon, Colin Bradbury and Sarah Connolly and most recently Peter Fisher, Raphael Wallfisch, Samantha Ward, Gabriella Dall’Olio, the Bach Choir and the Whitehall Choir. Amongst his most treasured collaborations however were his concerts with the legendary Turkish pianist Idil Biret whose playing was always a source of great inspiration and who in 2009 appeared with the orchestra in Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace to great critical acclaim.
We have been fortunate in having conductors Simon Walton and Lindsay Ryan work with us over the last two terms and we are in the process of recruiting a new permanent musical director.