The Spanish National Orchestra has appointed David Afkham as its new principal conductor on an initial four-year contract from September 2015. The German conductor will conduct three programmes as principal conductor designate in the 2013-14 season, including music by Schoenberg, Wagner, Strauss, Brahms and Bruckner. During his tenure as principal conductor he will conduct the orchestra for at least eight weeks each season.
‘Working with the Spanish National Orchestra for the first time in 2011 was an unforgettable experience,’ said Afkham. ‘In my frequent visits since, I have experienced great warmth and flexibility from the players, rich imagination and a spirit of adventure from the management, and great support from Madrid’s strong audiences. It is an inspiring combination and I look forward, with a great sense of privilege, to building on the orchestra's existing achievement as we continue our journey together in the coming years.’
Winner of the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in 2008, Afkham has been steadily building his reputation in recent years. He was assistant conductor of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester for three years until the summer of 2012, and has also made successful debuts with the Royal Concertgebouw, Munich Philharmonic, Wiener Symphoniker, Philharmonia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Cleveland Orchestra.
Based at Madrid’s Auditorio Nacional de Musica, the Spanish National Orchestra (Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España) was for many years closely associated with former principal conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. Widely recorded, the orchestra has recently struck up a long-term relationship with Deutsche Grammophon. The 2013-2014 season includes performances under Semyon Bychkov, Christoph Eschenbach, Kent Nagano and Fabio Luisi.