Roland Peelman


Artistic Director, Canberra International Music Festival

Management: Australasia

Ruddigore – Opera Queensland
“Top marks to conductor Roland Peelman who did a valiant job of keeping the orchestra and singers, especially during the patter-songs, on the same beat.”
Peter Pinne   Stage Whispers July 2017

Barber of Seville,
Opera Queensland
"none of this would be possible without conductor Peelman's precise, perfectly contained shaping of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in the pit, a masterclass in orchestral support for onstage voices."
Martin Buzzacott The Australian July 11 2016

Death and Resurrection Old Master Series The Song Company
"guided by the unfailing musical insight of Roland Peelman"
David Vance  The Sydney Morning Herald, March 26 2001

Samson et Dalila Opera Queensland
“The music consistently engages the senses - or at least it did on Saturday night, when conductor Roland Peelman had a significantly augmented Queensland Philharmonic
Deborah Jones The Australian, April 29 1997

Acclaimed musician of great versatility, Roland Peelman was born in Flanders, Belgium and has been active in Australia over 30 years as a conductor, pianist, artistic director and mentor to composers, singers and musicians alike.

Roland has received numerous accolades for his commitment to the creative arts in Australia and specifically for his 25-year directorship of The Song Company, from 1990 – 2015, during which the ensemble grew into one of Australia’s most outstanding and innovative ensembles. He is currently Artistic Director of the Canberra International Music Festival, a position he has held since 2015.

Recent conducting engagements include the touring production of The Barber of Seville, Ruddigore, Opera at Jimbour and The Merry Widow for Opera Queensland, Voices in the Forest performances in Canberra, most recently featuring Sumi Jo in 2016, and Dido and Aeneas for Sydney Chamber Choir. 

Roland has been widely recognised as one of Australia’s most renowned musicians receiving the NSW Award for “the most outstanding contribution to Australian Music by an individual” and named “musician of the year” by the Sydney Morning Herald’s music critic in 2006. The following year, he was again featured as one of Sydney’s top twenty musicians and he was also listed in “The 100 Most Influential People in Sydney”  - published by The Sydney Magazine at the end of 2009.

In 2009, Sydney Morning Herald reviewer Peter McCallum named Roland “The Innovator”, praising him as the mastermind behind two of Sydney’s “best moments” in music, referring to the Tenebrae III dance collaboration to music by Gesualdo, and the Festival Licht, featuring music by the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. Roland has also been widely recognised for his creativity in commissioning new artistic projects, including Kalkadunga Yurdu with didgeridoo artist and composer William Barton.

His overview and understanding of the music canon is unique. With a repertoire that includes the major classical works from Bach to Gershwin as well as a vast oeuvre of early music, be it Lassus, Monteverdi, Schütz or Purcell, Roland  is Australia’s most innovative and versatile musical director.  His passion for new music has been crucial to an ever-growing repertoire of concert music as well as music theatre.  Over the years he has directed numerous recordings and premiere seasons of new operas such as Black River, Fahrenheit 451, The Burrow, The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, Gauguin to name just a few.

He has worked with most orchestras in Australia and has conducted an abundance of new work with specialist ensembles such as Sydney Alpha, Libra and Ictus (Belgium-Germany) and most regularly with Australia’s leading new music group Ensemble Offspring.

He remains a regular guest at festivals in Australia and abroad and continues to develop new projects that intend to change and re-invigorate the nature of concert, both in form and content.

Roland Peelman is managed by Nina Kang:
May 2019
This biography is for general information purposes only and not for publication.
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