Finnegan Downie Dear

** First Prize Winner at the Mahler Conducting Competition 2020**

Music Director, Shadwell Opera

“Thanks to his precise, inspiring and masterful conducting, we could immerse ourselves into the perfection of Beethoven’s music”.
Lýdia Urbančíková, Opera Slovakia, 06 May 2019 

©Frank Bloedhorn


Winner of the Mahler Competition 2020, Finnegan is a standout conductor of his generation, who is increasingly recognised for his extraordinary musicianship, and his intense, mature performances.

Following a week-long series of rounds conducting the Bamberger Symphoniker, Finnegan won the Mahler Competition this summer and led a moving final concert, which included Mahler Symphony No. 4, with soloist Barbara Hannigan. Last season he made concert debuts conducting the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Resonanz, Klangforum Wien, RTÉ National Symphony and Concert Orchestras, State Philharmonic of Kosice and the BBC Concert Orchestra. Over the next two seasons he will conduct performances with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Luxembourg Philharmonic and the New Japan Philharmonic; he will return to Kosice and to Klangforum, with who he’ll make his debut in the Wiener Konzerthaus.

Finnegan is also establishing a strong track record as an opera conductor. This season saw his debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where he conducted performances of Gerald Barry Alice’s Adventures Under Ground; he was due to return and conduct a new production of The Turn of the Screw, which unfortunately was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Future operatic plans include Rigoletto at the Royal Swedish Opera, The Turn of the Screw at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Eugene Onegin at Oper Frankfurt and a new production at the Tiroler Festival Erl.

For more information, please contact Henry Lindsay.


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    26 Oct 19 Ravel & Knussen Shadwell Opera Company
    Alexandra Palace, London

    “The Shadwell Ensemble played with terrific fervour under Finnegan Downie Dear”…” a lovely performance by the orchestra of Ravel’s fairytale ballet score, Mother Goose, the silky sonorities beautifully balanced by Downie Dear.”

    Neil Fisher, The Times, 28 October 2019

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    02 May 19 Pastoral Symphony Beethoven
    Štátna filharmónia Košice

    “During this performance we had the opportunity to fully admire the  abilities of conductor Finnegan Downie Dear. Thanks to his precise, inspiring and masterful conducting, we could immerse ourselves in the perfection of Beethoven’s musical thinking.”
    Lýdia Urbančíková, Opera Slovakia, 06 May 2019 

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    25 Apr 19 Sibelius “Valse Triste” Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra

    “Finnegan Downie Dear refreshingly brings life to this often routinely performed work. He sensitively draws out the fragility of the piece, accentuating the quietly sad tones & softening over the top cheeriness.”
    Nicholas Ringskog Ferrada-Noli, Dagens Nyheter, 26 April 2018


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    03 Feb 18 Greek Scottish Opera
    Theatre Royal, Glasgow

    “In the pit, the soloists of the Orchestra of Scottish Opera were on first class form as a deranged cabaret band, under the baton of Finnegan Downie Dear.”
    Keith Bruce, The Herald, 4 February 2018

    “The small twenty strong band of an eclectic mix of instruments under conductor Finnegan Downie Dear tackled the tumultuous and quirky score with infectious verve and enthusiasm.”
    David Smythe, Bachtrack, 5 February 2018 

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    03 Nov 17 The Light House Peter Maxwell Davies
    Shadwell Opera

    “At the close, a chaotic cacophony of sound and light engulfed the men, and us, bringing to a spine-chilling close the tremendously incisive performance by the 12-piece Shadwell Ensemble, conducted with precision and economy by Finnegan Downie Dear. The Ensemble conveyed every macabre twitching texture, and explosive flash and flicker – wind and wave, by turn an eerie whisper or wailing squall – of Davies’s score”
    Claire Seymour, Opera Today, 12 November 2017

    ‘The virtuosic Shawell Ensemble, a 12-strong ensemble thrillingly energised by conductor Finnegan Downie Dear, becomes a part of the show’
    Mark Valencia, Whats on Stage, 04 November 2017

    “The young Shadwell Ensemble, conducted my Finnegan Downie Dear, gives a raw, sometimes overwhelming account of the score.”
    Amanda Holloway, The Stage, 6 November 2017

    ‘Shadwell Opera rises to the challenge splendidly… the text delivered often with searing intensity. The 12-strong Shadwell Ensemble, under the alert direction of Finnegan Downie Dear, make a fine contribution to an admirable project.’
    Barry Millington, Evening Standard, November 2017

    “Maxwell Davies’ seascape, performed with exemplary clarity and real dramatic zest by the young Shadwell Ensemble and conductor Finnegan Downie Dear…Woodwind brushed the air like clammy fingers of sea must, strings scuttled and swooped in squawling eddies, and a single horn placed high above the audience in a gallery thrust out its stentorian fog-call…It’s a scowling, baleful sort of score, and one we heard in all it’s cinematic clarity here.”
    Alexandra Coghlan, Opera Magazine,November 2017


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    07 May 16 Twice Through the Heart Erwartung
    Shadwell Opera

    “Conductor Finnegan Downie Dear finds the distinct sonic language of each score, drawing brutally precise and expressive playing from his young band, whether in Turnage’s rasping, guttural music or Schoenberg’s glittering handfuls of textural invention.”
    Alexandra Coghlan, The Independent,  

    “The conductor Finnegan Downie Dear balanced his forces carefully, deploying the composer’s violent orchestral colours with expressive control.”
    Opera Magazine, November 2016

    “Both scores were brilliantly brought to life by a virtuosic ensemble directed by Finnegan Downie Dear”
    The Times, November 2016