Maestro Omer M Wellber
Omer Meir Wellber has established himself as one of today’s leading conductors of operatic and orchestral repertoire alike. In September 2018 he began his tenure as Principal Conductor at the Semperoper Dresden. From September 2019 he is the Chief Conductor of BBC Philharmonic and from January 2020 Music Director of the Teatro Massimo in Palermo. He has directed some of the world’s most prestigious ensembles, such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, RAI Torino and Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich. His combination of energy and clarity and his ability to evoke nuanced detail from an orchestra have made him a regular guest conductor at the Bavarian State Opera Munich, La Fenice in Venice, and the Israeli Opera. In demand around the world, he balances constant international appearances with a commitment to performing classical music and promoting music integration projects in his native country Israel.
In season 2018/19 Omer Meir Wellber gave his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York with Bizet’s Carmen in October 2018 and shortly before at the Lucerne Festival with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
For the first time he stands at the rostrum of NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra in the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and conducts concerts with Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, among others at the Bachfest Leipzig in June 2019. As Principal Guest Conductor of the Semperoper Dresden he not only conducts the new production of Verdi’s Nabucco in May 2019, but also revival performances of Don Giovanni, Tannhäuser, Der Rosenkavalier and a symphonic concert with the Staatskapelle Dresden.
In 2017/2018, Omer Meir Wellber’s orchestral engagements include debuts with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, SWR Symphonieorchester and Mahler Chamber Orchestra as part of a multi-city tour. He will return after critically-praised 2016 debuts to both the Orchestre National de Lyon and Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, and he will also appear at the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Omer Meir Wellber’s opera highlights for the season continue his long-standing relationships with both the Semperoper Dresden and the Bavarian State Opera Munich. In Dresden, he will conduct the Staatskapelle in productions of Strauss’ Salome and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, as well as lead the ensemble in symphonic concerts. At the Bavarian State Opera, he will premiere Verdi’s Les Vêpres siciliennes, also conducting Bizet’s Carmen and Boito’s Mefistofele. Having made his 2014 debut at Glyndebourne with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, he will step onto its podium again in summer 2018 to unveil the festival’s new production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly – his first time conducting a premiere at the festival.
Omer Meir Wellber’s 2017/2018 appearances build off the success of his previous seasons’ engagements at major ensembles and houses around the world. In 2016/2017, the conductor debuted with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Orchestre National de Lyon, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich and Sao Paolo Symphony Orchestra. In November 2016 he conducted the Staatskapelle Dresden in the world premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina’s oratorio About Love and Hate. He led the premiere of Andrea Chenier by Giordano in March 2017 at the Bavarian State Opera, where he previously opened a new production of Mefistofele in 2015. His 2017 opera engagements at the Semperoper included multiple performances of the Mozart/Da Ponte operas Cosi fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro, and Don Giovanni as part of the Mozart-Tage 2017. January 2017 saw Omer Meir Wellber enter the pit of Teatro La Fenice in Venice for Wagner’s Tannhäuser. He has also led symphonic performances at the Italian house, including a 2016 concert featuring violinist Midori as part of a European multi-city tour.
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, such as Eugene Onegin, which was published on DVD by C Major. He conducted Verdi’s operatic masterpiece trifecta – Rigoletto, La Traviata and Il Trovatore – at the Vienna Festival in 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively. In 2011, he made his debut at the Bavarian State Opera with La Traviata, and 2010 saw him begin his relationship with the Semperoper, where he has since conducted Strauss’ Daphne, Ariadne auf Naxos and a concert performance of Guntram, among works by other composers. From 2008 to 2010, Omer Meir Wellber assisted Daniel Barenboim at both the Berliner Staatsoper Unter den Linden and Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, whose ensemble he led 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. Other prior appearances include the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Orchestre de Paris, NDR Radiophilharmonie in Hannover, hr-Sinfonieorchester in Frankfurt, Beijing Philharmonic Orchestra, Filharmonica della Scala, a concert at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and his highly-praised direction of Aida at the Arena di Verona, which was recorded and released on DVD by BelAir classiques.
Despite Omer Meir Wellber’s demanding schedule of global engagements, he maintains a deeply-rooted commitment to performing ensembles in his native country Israel. He has been a regular guest conductor for over ten years at the Israeli Opera, where he has led 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, he led the ensemble during its residency at the Dresdner Music Festival.
In Israel, Omer Meir Wellber aims to bring music as a powerful tool for social change. Since 2009, he has been the Music Director of the Raanana Symphonette Orchestra, founded in 1991 to assist Jewish immigrants with their integration in Israel. In addition, he is the founder and musical leader of Sarab – Strings of Change. Meaning “oasis” in Arabic, Sarab brings music education to Bedouin children in the Negev who face some of the greatest levels of disadvantage and discrimination within Israeli society. Through this initiative, he works to change Bedouin youths’ social reality and helps them build life-long skills, while also improving collaboration and communication between Bedouin and Jewish communities. The conductor also is a Good Will Ambassador for Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli-based non-profit organization that provides critical cardiac medical support. In addition, Omer Meir Wellber collaborates with various institutions through outreach programs and fosters the next generation of conducting students through educational lectures.
His unique musical mark also includes the 2017 publication of his book “Fear, Risk and Love – Moments with Mozart.” Co-written with German author and journalist Inge Kloepfer, the book shares his personal understanding of the universal emotions present in the three Mozart/Da Ponte operas. The written work sits alongside his multimedia publications: a DVD of Mefistofele (Unitel, 2016) recorded at the Munich Opera Festival with the Bavarian State Orchestra; a DVD of his critically-acclaimed June 2013 jubilee performance of Aida at the Arena di Verona (BelAir classiques, 2014); and a DVD of Eugene Onegin (C Major, 2013) recorded in 2011 during his tenure at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia.
Born in Be’er Sheva in 1981, Omer Meir Wellber began studying accordion and piano at age five. He took composition lessons with Tania Taler starting at the age of nine, then continuing under Michael Wolpe until 2004. He graduated from the Be’er Sheva Conservatory in 1999 and 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’s compositions have been performed and broadcast both in Israel and internationally.
Watch Maestro Wellber as he conquers one of the great musical centers in Europe - Dresden.