William Kunhardt - Conductor

Under William Kunhardt's baton this young orchestra gave spirited performances, catching the note of melancholy underlying the Ravel - each piece was written to commemorate a friend who had died in the 1914-18 war - and setting it off with 18 century ebullience.

The second half of the concert began with actor Matthew Sharp reading Beethoven's anguished Heiligenstadt Testament, while the orchestra played sotto voce the Adagio from his Opus 132 string quartet. The meld was effective and the contrast between the 30-year-old's despair and the ecstatic calm of the 'Heiliger Dankgesang' he went on to compose at the end of his life was moving in the extreme.

Michael Church - The Independent


William Kunhardt is Principal Conductor of the Arensky Chamber Orchestra and Associate Conductor of the Piraeus Festival in Athens. He is the 2014 winner of the James Conlon Conducting prize at Aspen Music Festival and the recipient of a 2014 Emerging Excellence Award from the Musicians Benevolent Fund UK. He has made international debuts and national radio broadcasts with Athens Symphony Orchestra, the Bulgarian and Romanian Radio Orchestras, Athens and Glasperlenspiel (Tallinn) Sinfoniettas, and has appeared with festival orchestras in Switzerland, France, Germany and Sweden. In January 2012 he was invited to conduct the opening ceremony of Bahrain’s year as Capital of Culture for the Middle East and in November 2013 he was one of an elite group of artists asked to perform at Aldeburgh Music’s Benjamin Britten Centenary Weekend.

In the UK William has made debuts at the Southbank Centre, Kings Place, St John's Smith Square, Cadogan Hall, and St Martin’s in the Fields. With the Arensky Chamber Orchestra he has recorded Symphonies by Beethoven and Mozart, Ravel’s Tombeau de Couperin and concerti with Jennifer Pike, Benjamin Grosvenor, Andrew Haveron and Andriy Viytovych, all for Classic FM. Future engagements with the ACO include a new and abridged production of Tristan Und Isolde and a groundbreaking performance of Sibelius Symphony No. 7 with the OpenEnded Group. Guest invitations include a debut with Iasi Symphony Orchestra, Romania and returns to the London Firebird Orchestra, the Piraeus Festival in Greece and Aspen Festival in Colorado.

Beyond his professional work, William is passionate about using his music to help others. He was founding co-director and principal conductor of the CLIC Sargent Symphony Orchestra (CSSO), resident ensemble of Britain's leading children's cancer charity, and is currently Artistic Advisor of the Dorothy Croft Trust for Young Musicians. In 2011, following three years of concerts with the CSSO, William’s work for CLIC Sargent was recognised with an honorary Paul Harris Fellowship from Rotary International.

Born in London in 1989 and educated at Eastbourne College, William studied violin in London with Dona Lee Croft and conducting in Paris with Neil Thomson. He has since been mentored by some of the world’s leading musicians, including Paavo and Neeme Jarvi, Peter Eotvos and Heinz Holliger, Leonard Slatkin, and Robert Spano, and has won fellowships and masterclass places at Lucerne, Aspen and IRCAM festivals. His previous positions have included Principal Conductor of the International Orchestra for Freedom, the CLIC Sargent Symphony Orchestra (which he co-founded in 2009) and the Young Virtuosi Festival in Castelreng, France.