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Season 2023-24 / Musical director

Omer Meir Wellber

Biography

Music Director

 

Omer Meir Wellber has established himself as one of our generation’s leading conductors of operatic and orchestral repertoire alike. He is Music Director of the Teatro Massimo Palermo and from a long association, he is also Music Director of the Raanana Symphonette in Israel. He begins his tenure of General Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Hamburg State Opera as well as General Music Director of the Philharmonic State Orchestra Hamburg in the season 2025/2026. Omer Meir Wellber regularly conducts the Gewandhausorchester zu Leipzig, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Rome Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, among others.

For the Teatro Massimo’s new season in Palermo, Omer Meir Wellber presents Bellini’s opera I Capuleti e i Montecchi in a production by Idan Cohen and Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde directed by Daniele Menghini. Highlights of recent seasons include new productions of Kaiserrequiem – his own creation with director Marco Gandini, which brings together Viktor Ullman's Der Kaiser von Atlantis with Mozart's Requiem –, Verdi's Les Vêpres siciliennes in a production by Emma Dante and Wagner's Parsifal in a production by Graham Vick. His innovative work at Teatro Massimo, including the January 2021 production Crepuscolo dei sogni, earned him the 2021 Special Award from Italy's Associazione Nazionale Critici Musicali (National Association of Music Critics).

During his time as Music Director of the Volksoper Vienna, which ended in December 2023 at his own request, Omer Meir Wellber conducted Tchaikovsky's Jolanthe and The Nutcracker, a new creation directed by Lotte de Beer and numerous revivals, such as La Traviata, Mozart's Zauberflöte and Richard Strauss' Salome (in a recreation of Luc Bondy's timeless 1992 production). Under the direction of Omer Meir Wellber, the Volksopernorchester has also made guest appearances at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Schloss Esterházy in Eisenstadt and increased its presence in Vienna at the Wiener Konzerthaus with a performance of Verdi's Messa da Requiem, among others.

Guest performances in the 2023/24 season will see Omer Meir Wellber travel to Bremen with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, to Rome with the Rome Symphony Orchestra, to Leipzig with the Gewandhausorchester, to Prague with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, to Tel Aviv with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, to Vienna with the Wiener Symphoniker, to Paris with the Orchestre National de France and to Hamburg with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra.

As Omer Meir Wellber was Music Director of the 2023 Toscanini Festival in Parma, Wellber presented a mixture of symphonic and chamber music concerts and took the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini to the Dresdner Musikfestspiele. During the first edition of the festival held in 2022, Wellber conducted a concert version of Puccini's rarely performed opera Les Willis.

Named portrait artist of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in 2022, Omer Meir Wellber appeared on the conductor’s podium and also played accordion, harpsichord and grand piano. Wellber presented 14 varied and unique concerts under the motto “Friendship”. In addition to classical orchestral concerts with the Festival Orchestra of the SHMF and the BBC Philharmonic, the program included chamber music and chanson evenings as well as a four-hand piano recital. True to the theme of “Friendship”, Omer Meir Wellber performed together with mandolinist Jacob Reuven, pianists Fazil Say and Daniel Ciobanu, violinist Veronica Eberle and clarinettist Alessio Vicario, among others.

The most recent CD recordings with Omer Meir Wellber were released in May 2022: The Mandolin Seasons with Jacob Reuven and the Sinfonietta Leipzig (musicians of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra) on the Hyperion label and Pop Songs with cellist Jan Vogler and the BBC Philharmonic on the Sony label. Previous releases include the first joint recording by Wellber and the BBC Philharmonic of works by Ben-Haim (Chandos), Tavener's No longer mourn for me with Steven Isserlis and the Philarmonia Orchestra (Hyperion), and DVD releases of Wagner's Parsifal (Unitel/C Major), Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Naxos), Puccuni's Madama Butterfly (Opus Arte), Boito's Mefistofele (Unitel), Verdi's Aida (Bel Air Classique), and Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin (Unitel).

Omer Meir Wellber made his literary debut with his first novel "Die vier Ohnmachten des Chaim Birkner", published by Berlin Verlag in autumn 2019. Originally written in Hebrew, חיים התעלף פעמים ארבע“( the novel was published in Wellber’s native tongue by Keren Press in July 2023. Its critical acclaim has also seen the book’s publication in Italian )”בירקנר by Sellerio Editore (2021), and in French by Éditions du sous-sol (2022). The novel tells the story of Chaim Birkner, a tired and broken man who is forced by his daughter to face life one last time.

"Die Angst, das Risiko und die Liebe - Momente mit Mozart" – the conductor’s first book – was published in spring 2017. Co-written with German author and journalist Inge Kloepfer, the book shares his personal understanding of the universal emotions addressed in the three Mozart/Da Ponte operas - Così fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni, establishing him as a great voice of classical music.

Omer Meir Wellber has made several debuts in recent years: In 2023 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, among others. In August 2021, Wellber made his debut at the Bregenz Festival with works by Ives and Bruckner and Strauss's Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra with Ramón Ortega Quero (oboe) and the Wiener Symphoniker. He made his debut with the Munich Philharmonic in November 2019 with the world premiere of Ayal Adler, with the BBC Philharmonic with works by Mozart, Haydn, and Ben-Haim at the BBC Proms in July 2019, and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York with performances of Bizet's Carmen in October 2018. In summer 2018, he conducted the festival premiere of Puccini's Madama Butterfly (BlueRay Opus Arte, 2019) at the Glyndebourne Festival, where he debuted in 2014 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra's production of Eugene Onegin. In March 2017, he conducted the premiere of Giordano's Andrea Chenier at the Bavarian State Opera, where he had already conducted the new production of Mefistofele in 2015 (DVD Unitel, 2016). In November 2016, he conducted the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden in the world premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina's oratorio On Love and Hate.

Omer Meir Wellber's longstanding collaboration with the Semperoper Dresden culminated in his position as Principal Guest Conductor from 2018 to 2022, alongside his receipt of the Rudi Häussler Priz for contributions to the development of the opera house. As early as 2010 he conducted new productions and revivals of Aida, Ariadne auf Naxos, Daphne, the Da Ponte Trilogy, The Magic Flute, Grand Macabre, Guntram, Madama Butterfly, Nabucco, Rosenkavalier, Salome, and Tannhäuser. Symphony concerts with the Sächsische Staatskapelle were also part of the program.

During his time as Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, Omer Meir Wellber achieved highlights such as concerts at the BBC Proms, Bridgewater Hall, and guest concerts at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. Wellber also hosted a conversation video series with the BBC named The Music Room: the first series focused on Beethoven’s 9 symphonies in 2020, before turning to Ben-Haim for a second installment (The Music Room: Discovering Ben-Haim).

Omer Meir Wellber served as the Music Director at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia from 2010 to 2014, leading both orchestral and operatic performances – one of the most remarkable, Eugene Onegin, was published on DVD by C Major. He conducted Verdi’s operatic masterpiece trifecta – Rigoletto (2011), La Traviata (2012) and Il Trovatore (2013) at the Vienna Festival.

From 2008 to 2010, Omer Meir Wellber assisted Daniel Barenboim at the Berliner Staatsoper Unter den Linden and at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, directing the Scala in a critically hailed performance of Verdi’s Aida at the Israeli Opera. In 2010, he also stepped in for Seiji Ozawa, conducting Strauss’ Salome at the Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto.

Omer Meir Wellber’s close ties to his native Israel are evident in his collaboration with the Raanana Symphonette Orchestra, of which he has been Music Director since 2009. The orchestra dedicates itself to developing traditions of Jewish music, promoting contemporary Israeli music, and curating music education projects which reach more than 70,000 children each year. For over a decade he was regular guest conductor at the Israeli Opera where he conducted performances of Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, Puccini’s Turandot and Madama Butterfly, Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Gounod’s Faust and Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, among others. In 2007 he debuted with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and in 2016 led the orchestra in its residency at the Dresden Music Festival.

The conductor is a Good Will Ambassador for Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli-based non- profit organization that provides critical cardiac medical healthcare. In addition, Omer Meir Wellber collaborates with various institutions through outreach programs and fosters the next generation of conducting students through educational lectures.

Born in Be’er Sheva in 1981, Omer Meir Wellber began studying the accordion and piano when he was five years old. He took composition lessons with Tania Taler from the age of nine before continuing under Michael Wolpe until 2004. After graduating from the Be’er Sheva Conservatory in 1999, he received a music scholarship from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation which he used to study Conducting and Composition at the Jerusalem Music Academy from 2000-2008 with Eugene Zirlin and Mendi Rodan.

Omer Meir Wellber plays a custom-built accordion, model POLARIS, from the renowned Italian accordion manufacturer PIGINI.