• “It was a performance that had one slack-jawed with amazement at the audacity of Berlioz's opium-fuelled masterpiece”
    The Guardian
  • “Douglas Boyd - the wonderfully gifted principal guest conductor - delivered an experience of breathless beauty”.
    (Stravinsky: Rite of Spring) The Denver Post
  • “He is one of the major British occupants of a rostrum today and will be increasingly recognised as such.”
    The Sunday Telegraph
  • “One can only marvel at the vigour and poetry of Friday's phenomenal concert by the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, led by the superb Douglas Boyd.”
    The Star Tribune Minneapolis

About

Download full biography

I have been so fortunate to have met and worked with some truly great musicians who have shaped my life.

I was a founding member and Principal oboe of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe for 21 memorable years. Surely one of the greatest orchestras in the world, its philosophy is simple; the joy of making music together at the highest possible level and creating life long friendships that transcend national boundaries.

There were many highlights, but some experiences stand out:

The humanity of Alexander Schneider, (violinist of the legendary Budapest String Quartet and close friend of Pablo Casals); emotionally charged concerts with Claudio Abbado, who could shape the sound of the orchestra with a gesture; the revolution of working with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and being part of a Beethoven Symphony cycle, which – it is no exaggeration – changed our perceptions of how the music of the great "Classical" composers should be performed; the warmth and complete conviction of Paavo Berglund. Performing and recording Sibelius symphonies with him, was simply being involved with a true master at work.

“I always wanted to conduct but I am glad I waited. These 21 years were the best conducting lessons I could have imagined.”

After a memorable concert with COE in Paris in 2002 with Claudio Abbado I put my oboe in its box for the last time. Watch the full video on YouTube.

My first major conducting commitment (and first love) was Manchester Camerata. I had 10 fabulous years with them as Music Director and I have nothing but admiration for their musicianship and friendship. Working on a financial shoestring, they nevertheless always perform at the highest level of commitment, energy and quality. Our Beethoven Symphony cycle is testimony to that.

My work with Camerata opened up invitations from other parts of the world. As Artistic Partner of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in Minnesota for 6 years and Principal Guest Conductor of the Colorado Symphony, I have spent a lot of time making music in the US.

Conducting continues to take me to all corners of the globe, but whether I am performing in Melbourne, Hong Kong, Budapest or at home in the UK, I try to stay true to the “COE spirit” which has shaped me.

My main commitment now takes me to Switzerland. One of the leading Swiss orchestras, Musikkollegium Winterthur’s tradition goes back to 1629. It was probably one of the world’s first orchestras and I am honoured to follow in the distant footsteps of conductors such as Richard Strauss, Furtwangler and Busch, all of whom enjoyed relationships with MKW.

More important than all of this– is my family, my 3 extraordinary children and my wife Sally, whose love, support and musicianship (she is a wonderful cellist) has sustained me over the years.

News

December 2013

Handel’s Messiah, conducted by Douglas, with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, is broadcast live on Colorado Public Radio and across the United States from Denver’s Boettcher Concert Hall

November 2013

Douglas conducts Bruckner Fourth Symphony for the first time, with Musikkollegium Winterthur.

October 2013

Douglas enjoys a wonderful collaboration with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris at the Theatre de Champs Elysees and L’Hotel de Ville

September 2013

Musikkollegium Winterthur and Douglas Boyd record Mendelssohn’s Symphony No.2 “Lobgesang” for Dabringhaus und Grimm, to be released in 2014 as part of a complete Mendelssohn Symphony cycle

August 2013

Douglas’s recording with Musikkollegium Winterthur and Duo Tal and Groethuysen wins the Echo Deutscher Musikpreis Recording of the Year for 20th/21st Century music for their performances of Vaughan Williams Double Piano Concerto and 5th Symphony

Press

Schoenberg: Transfigured Night, November 2013:

“Douglas Boyd conducted the orchestra with lightness and transparency and a sense of poetic structure and gestural freedom.”
Sybille Ehrismann, Der Landbote

Bruckner, 4 October 2013:

“This journey drew from Douglas Boyd an energy that went to the extremes, with expansive tempos for the opening movement. It allowed for a moving vision of calm, or one could say,  flowing threads of “blessing”. Boyd’s direction in the final movement, brought out tranquility, but also strength.”
Ramona Früh, Der Landbote

Beethoven Triple Concerto, Brahms Symphony No.3, September 2013:

“One thought oneself temporarily in a chamber music concert, so restrained and tender did the orchestra play in their first subscription concert of the season in Winterthur under the direction of Douglas Boyd.”
Alex Hoster, Der Landbote

Musikkollegium Winterthur, “Der Landebote”, Switzerland, Autumn 2013:

“So much sun, so many balloons, so much joy.”
Sybille Ehrismann, “Summer outdoor concert for the city of Winterthur”, Der Landbote

Don Giovanni, Garsington Opera, June 2012:

“This is as stimulating and refreshing a Don Giovanni as I have seen anywhere in the last decade, sung and played to a level that sets a new benchmark at this address.”
The Sunday Times, June 05 2012

“…admirable conductor Douglas Boyd…kept the orchestral playing razor-sharp.”
The Times, June 04 2012

“But the Garsington Opera orchestra’s playing, under Douglas Boyd, is the biggest draw.  Boyd coaxes exquisite balance from his players, and is passionately attuned to both the music’s turbulence and intimacy.”
The Stage, June 04 2012

“…the conductor Douglas Boyd keeps things fizzing.”
The Independent, June 04 2012

“Conductor Douglas Boyd and his orchestra filled the beautiful purpose-built hall with rich, transporting sound, completely immersing the audience in the world of the opera…Quite simply, this was the single best operatic production I have ever seen.”
The Daily Information

The Marriage of Figaro, Garsington Opera, June 2010:

“In the pit, Douglas Boyd proved to be a natural Mozartian. His tempi were broadly on the fast side, but with no loss of detail, and the playing he got from the Garsington Orchestra was accomplished throughout. Boyd also proved to have a natural rapport with his singers, and there were no signs of awkwardness between pit and stage, as there often can be: ensembles went with a swing, solo numbers and duets were nicely judged, sforzandi and dynamic contrasts abounded – delightful.”
Musical Criticism,
June 16 2010

Fidelio, Garsington Opera, June 2009:

“And the music certainly does sound sublime under Douglas Boyd’s direction…his grasp of the Beethovian idiom, pungent underlining of orchestral detail, empathy with his insgers’ phrasing, and bold speeds, all this sounded more like a masterclass than the work of a conductor who made his opera debut only last year.”
The Times, June 05 2009

Concert work:

“The magnificent interpretations of these works [all-Schubert programme in Winterthur] by Douglas Boyd and the College orchestra were thoroughly well thought-through, giving the listener a chance to hear these brilliant scores afresh.”
Zurichsee-Zeitung (translated)

“He is one of the major British occupants of a rostrum today and will be increasingly recognised as such. He has the born conductor’s ability to make music sound fresh, to detect its inner life and pulse and to expose them without over -exposing them and to make his players give more than they thought they could”
The Sunday Telegraph

“The Toronto Symphony Orchestra was in fantastic form at Roy Thomson Hall on Wednesday night under visiting Scottish conductor Douglas Boyd. ….Under Douglas Boyd Beethoven Symphony No. 5 sounded as fresh as if the ink were barely dry on the page.”
Toronto Star, February 11, 2010

“… principal guest conductor Douglas Boyd again demonstrating why he is such a hit in Denver with audiences and musicians alike… Boyd and the orchestra conveyed the work’s essential drama, finding the suspense and anticipation embedded in it.”
Denver Post, September 25, 2010

“One can only marvel at the vigor and poetry of Friday morning’s phenomenal concert by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, led by the superb…Douglas Boyd… Boyd and the orchestra showed an incisive rapport…In Boyd’s hands the symphony was rhapsodic and ruminative but also tragic and tumultuous, with moments of lyric terror that quickened respiration.”
The Star Tribune, St. Paul, MN

CD Reviews:

Beethoven Symphony No. 9:

“Under Douglas Boyd it has produced a terrific set of Beethoven recordings, to which this is a resounding conclusion”
The Times

“Boyd’s approach may differ a bit from Toscanini’s  in its closer adherence to Beethoven’s instructions, but it is to his credit that he does not go to Furtwanglerian extremes. Rather, his performance shines, musically and sonically, as the finest of the “period” accounts I have heard. An outstanding release”
International Record Review

Strauss Vier letzte Lieder/Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme:

“Scottish conductor Boyd, the ensemble’s music director, and his players deliver this Bourgeois gentilhomme Suite rather in the manner of Strauss’s own recordings – essentially classical with little riots of 20th-century colour bursting through like carnation buttonholes.”
Gramophone, July 2012

“Boyd’s conducting is not only crisp and clean, but also brings out the genial humor of the score. I would place this reading but one step down from the superb Rudolf Kempe version.”
Fanfare

“There have been many recordings of the work, including superb performances conducted by Reiner, Krauss and Beecham, all great champions of the composer. Even when compared with them however the present performance is worth hearing for its very particular qualities. It has wit and charm, both essential here.”
Musical Criticism

Discography

DOUGLAS BOYD conductor

album cover

MENDELSSOHN
The Piano Concertos

Musikkollegium Winterthur / Oliver Schnyder piano

RCA Red Seal
August 2013

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SCHUMANN
Works for Violin and Orchestra

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Anthony Marwood violin

Hyperion
September 2012

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VAUGHAN WILLIAMS
Symphony No. 5 and Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra

Musikkollegium Winterthur

Sony
July 2012

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BEETHOVEN
Symphonies Nos 1 and 3

Manchester Camerata

Avie AV2185
November 2009

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BEETHOVEN
Symphonies Nos 2 and 5

Manchester Camerata

Avie
May 2004

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BEETHOVEN
Symphonies Nos 4 and 7

Manchester Camerata

Avie AV2169
September 2008

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BEETHOVEN
Symphonies Nos 6 and 8

Manchester Camerata

Avie
September 2011

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BEETHOVEN
Symphony No 9

Manchester Camerata

Avie
February 2012

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BEETHOVEN
Triple Concerto and Creatures of Prometheus

Berolina Trio / Musikkollegium Winterthur

Claves Records 7619931100128
June 2010

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BEETHOVEN
Piano Concerto No. 5 ‘Emperor’

Hyo Joo Lee / Musikkollegium Winterthur

Nascor
January 2012

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MAHLER
Symphony No. 4 in G major

Kate Royal / Manchester Camerata

Avie
July 2005

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MAHLER
Das Lied von der Erde

arr. Schoenberg
Jane Irwin & Peter Wedd / Manchester Camerata

Avie AV2195
May 2010

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MENDELSSOHN
Violin Concerto

Giovanni Guzzo violin / Manchester Camerata

May 2012

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MOZART
Symphonies 40 & 41

Manchester Camerata

Avie
October 06

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SCHUBERT
Symphonies No. 7 & 8

Musikkollegium Winterthur

MDG 901 1636

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SCHUBERT
Rosamunde

Serena Malfi / Alt / Schweizer Kammerchor / Musikkollegium Winterthur

MDG 901 1633-6

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SCHUBERT
Symphony No. 8, "Unfinished"; Symphony No. 4, "Tragic"; Entr'acte III from Incidental Music to "Rosamunde."

St. Paul Chamber Orchestra

SPCA B000P91PGY
2006

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STRAUSS, R
Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme/Vier letzte Lieder

Musikkollegium Winterthur / Lisa Larsson soprano

Scene DG

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TSONTAKIS
Violin Concerto No. 2; Clair de Lune; The Past, The Passion

St Paul Chamber Orchestra

Koch Classics B000VAQY3G
October 2007

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Music for Strings
(Purcell, Britten, Vaughan Williams, Part)

Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Warner Classic
June 2006

DOUGLAS BOYD oboe

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Baroque Oboe Music

Academy Sound & Vision (ASV) CD 6560
1996

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BACH
Brandenburg Concerti No. 1 & 2

Abbado, Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Deutsche Grammophone (DG) 431 660

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BACH
Oboe Concertos

Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Deutsche Grammophone (DG) 429 225-2

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BEETHOVEN
Music for Wind Instruments in Eb Major,Op. 103

Chamber Orchestra of Europe

ASV-CO 807

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MOZART
Oboe Concerto in C/Sinfonia Concertante in E flat

Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Decca
September 2008

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MOZART/STRAUSS
Oboe Concertos

Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Decca
September 2008

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MOZART
Oboe and Clarinet Concertos/Sinfonia Concertante for Wind

Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Teldec

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SCHUMANN
Works for Oboe and Piano

Douglas Boyd oboe, Maria Pires piano

Teldec

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VIVALDI
Oboe Concertos

Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Deutsche Gramaphon
December 1993

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VIVALDI / MARCELLO / HAYDN / MOZART
Oboe Concertos

Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Quicksilva

Schedule

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Contact

Worldwide Management:

David Sigall and Nicki Wenham
Ingpen and Williams Ltd.
7 St George’s Court
131 Putney Bridge Road
London
SW15 2PA

Tel: +44(0)20 8874 3222
Fax: +44(0)20 8877 3113
David email:
Nicki email:

USA:

Barrie Steinberg
Frank Salomon Associates
121 West 27th Street, Suite 703
New York
NY 10001-6262

Tel: +1 (212) 581-5197, ext. 19
Fax: +1 (212) 581-4029
Email:

Switzerland

Ute Gollnow
Agence Caecilia
29 Rue de la Coulouvrenière
1204 Genève

Tel: +41 22 809 15 26
Email: