Israeli conductor to head BBC Philharmonic

Beersheba native Omer Meir Wellber lauded as "one of the most sought after young conductors of his generation."

Omer Meir Wellber (photo credit: PETER MEISEL)
Omer Meir Wellber
(photo credit: PETER MEISEL)
Israeli Omer Meir Wellber has been appointed the chief conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, the orchestra announced last week.
Wellber, a 36-year-old native of Beersheba, will officially step into the role in September 2019.
“Having seen Omer conducting a number of orchestras over the last year I have been fortunate to have experienced his brilliance first hand in a wide range of repertoire,” said Simon Webb, general manager of the BBC Philharmonic. “His immediate connection with the BBC Philharmonic was evident in his first concert, and we are now delighted to have secured one of the most sought after young conductors of his generation.”
While Wellber won’t assume his new role until next year, he has been conducting for the BBC Philharmonic since March, and did so on Saturday at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.
In a review of the show, The Guardian said that Wellber “established the high emotional pitch at the outset with a spine-tingling account of the storm, rarely relaxing the tension as the subsequent drama unfolded, yet all the while attentive to musical detail and psychological subtlety... This was thrilling stuff, marking the start of what promises to be a most exciting partnership between the BBC Philharmonic and its new conductor.”
Wellber graduated from the Beersheba Conservatory in 1999, and then studied at the Jerusalem Music Academy from 2000-2008. Since 2009, he has been the music director of the Raanana Symphonette Orchestra, and he is also a goodwill ambassador for the NGO Save a Child’s Heart. In September 2018 he became the principal guest conductor at Semperoper Dresden in Germany, and in January 2020 he will start his tenure as music director of the Teatro Massimo di Palermo in Italy. In October, Wellber will have his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City when he conducts Carmen.
“I first worked with the BBC Philharmonic in March and knew straight away that they were a very special group of people and exceptional musicians,” said Wellber. “Manchester and the whole region is an incredibly rich area culturally, so I can hardly wait to start planning seasons to come.”
Over the years, Wellber has directed some of the most prestigious ensembles in the world, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, and he is a regular guest conductor of the Israeli Opera. He has also often appeared with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, which offered its congratulations this week on Wellber’s new appointment.
“Congratulations from Tel Aviv to Manchester,” the IPO wrote on Facebook on Sunday. “Wellber’s appointment to this prestigious position is a badge of honor for both him and for the new, young generation of Israeli musicians. Good luck Omer!”