- 01 Feb 22
Stephen Bell and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra are slated to take part in a 90th birthday celebration of John Williams, with shows in Leisureland, Galway on Thursday, 10 February and University Concert Hall, Limerick on Friday, 11 February.
Stephen Bell has been appointed as Principal Guest Conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra for the next two years, RTÉ announced today.
In recent years, Bell has been a regular and popular visitor with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, his eclectic range and his gift for audience communication making him a great fit with the grouping. Prior to this current role, he was appointed Artistic Director of the City of Oxford Orchestra in 2009 and since 2013 he has held the post of Associate Conductor of the Hallé.
Stephen’s acclaimed career as a conductor follows on from an equally notable career as a horn player. Having studied French Horn and Conducting at the Royal College of Music – including studying under the renowned conductor Norman Del Mar – he went straight into a role playing with the BBC Concert Orchestra, where he remained until retiring as Principal Horn in 2015. Career highlights as a player included working on two of the Star Wars films with John Williams.
“Ever since my first appearance as a guest conductor with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra back in 2015, I’ve always enjoyed my visits to Dublin and the opportunities work with this wonderfully talented and creative collection of musicians," Stephen Bell commented today, following the news.
"Having spent over 30 years as a principal player in a broadcasting orchestra in the UK, I feel I bring a unique insight into this new role as Principal Guest Conductor, especially in terms of the huge variety of repertoire and musical styles the RTÉ Concert Orchestra are required to play.
"Their versatility and expertise is infectious, and I can’t wait to re-engage with the loyal and knowledgeable audiences at the National Concert Hall and further afield in the coming months and years," the conductor and gifted musician added, before acknowledging Ireland's renowned culture of music.
"Of course, there is a legendary vibrant music scene in Ireland with a rich history and tradition, and, in addition, my aim is to bring as wide and varied a musical experience to as broad and diverse an audience as we can reach through our concerts and broadcasts. We look forward to welcoming you back to the joy of live music!”
His recent discography includes a collaboration with award-winning vocalist Clare Teal on MUD Records, he appears frequently on Classic FM and on BBC radio and television, conducting projects have included a tribute concert for Stanley Black at the Royal Festival Hall and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with pop legends Texas in 2017. Bell was also part of the 2008 Doctor Who Prom in the Royal Albert Hall.
Given his Star Wars history, Stephen Bell’s first appearances with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra as Principal Guest Conductor will be a 90th birthday celebration of John Williams with concerts in Leisureland, Galway on Thursday, 10 February and University Concert Hall, Limerick on Friday, 11 February. Stephen will be on Today with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio 1 talking about John Williams on the birthday itself, Tuesday 8 February, and talking about his new appointment on Marty in the Morning on RTÉ lyric FM on Thursday 10 February.
Delighted to announce that Stephen Bell is the new Principal Guest Conductor @rte_co! His first concerts in the role will be John Williams celebrations in Galway (10th) and Limerick (11th) - suitably given that he played French horn on two Star Wars scores. Welcome, @stevebell62! pic.twitter.com/22yLYamYod
— RTÉConcertOrchestra (@rte_co) February 1, 2022
RTÉ Concert Orchestra will perform 'A Woman’s Heart Orchestrated' in 2022, featuring Eleanor McEvoy, Maura O’Connell and Wallis Bird at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.
One of the most successful Irish albums of all time, A Woman's Heart sold more than 750,000 copies in Ireland alone after its release in 1992. The album also featured iconic Irish artists Mary Black, Dolores Keane, Sharon Shannon and Frances Black.
A cover version of its title track 'Only A Woman's Heart' was released by Irish Women in Harmony in July this year. Only A Woman' is the collective's original spin on the iconic Irish song, originally sung by both Mary Black and McEvoy.