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Derek Gleeson,
Principal Conductor

Born in Dublin, Ireland (a U.S./Irish dual citizen), Derek Gleeson studied piano, percussion, composition, and conducting at the music conservatories of Dublin, London, and Vienna, and film scoring at the University of California, Los Angeles. By the age of 11, Gleeson was the recipient of many piano and percussion competition prizes within Ireland and Great Britain. At the age of 15 he represented Ireland as a conductor in the European Community Youth Orchestra, where he had the opportunity to perform at the leading European music festivals, such as Salzburg, Edinburgh, and Lucerne Festivals under the direction of Maestros Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, Sir George Solti, and others. These early experiences directed him toward a career in conducting. In 1984 he was a first prize winner of the London Symphony Orchestra’s music scholarship. 

As a Guest conductor, Maestro Gleeson has conducted The London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Orchestras, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He was Music Director of the Rűckert Orchestra of Dublin (1990 through 1993), and since 1997, he has been permanent Music Director of The Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra. 

An ardent champion of contemporary music, Gleeson has provided many premier performances of works by living composers, his own works also being performed in Europe and the U.S. In 2004, Gleeson's concert work titled "Buenos Aires" premiered in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His recordings as conductor include premieres of contemporary American and Irish composers with The Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonia Bulgarica. 

Amongst others, Gleeson has conducted The London Philharmonic Orchestra, the RTE Concert Orchestra (Ireland's national broadcaster), The National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, The Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra (Ireland), Orchestra Da Camera Fiorentina (Italy), The Brohuslav Martinu Philharmonic (Czech Republic), Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra (Czech Republic), Hradec Kralove Symphony Orchestra (Czech Republic), Czech National Symphony Orchestra, and Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. The Beijing Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne (France), RTL Orchestra (Luxembourg), NOS Orchestra (Holland), The Rűckert Orchestra (Ireland), The Danish Radio Concert Orchestra (Denmark), Orchestra of the Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet (England), Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonica Bulgarica, The Vratza Philharmonic, Plovdiv State Opera, Varna State Opera, and Burgas Opera/Philharmonic (Bulgaria), The Los Angeles Composers Guild Chamber Orchestra. Maestro Gleeson's extraordinary conducting talent also extends to opera. Repertoire includes performances of Verdi's La Traviata, Il Trovatore, Rigoletto, and Un Ballo in Maschera, Mozart's La Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Cosi Fan Tutte, and The Magic Flute, Bizet's Carmen, and Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. 

In 2009, as Music Director and Conductor, Gleeson and The Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra embarked on its inaugural United States 10-week tour of 49-cities in 24 states, presented under the auspices of Columbia Artists Management, Inc. In July 2010, Maestro Gleeson and the all-Irish DPO toured extensively in China, including China’s important World Expo Program, as well as two concerts in Beijing’s most important Opera House, televised throughout China to over 400 million people. In 2014 Gleeson returned to China for a Gala TV broadcast performance at The Great Hall of the People, with The National Symphony Orchestra of China. 

In January 2016 Gleeson again toured China, with The Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2017 Gleeson toured China with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. In 2016, Gleeson was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of The Harbin Symphony Orchestra, Harbin, China. 

In 2020, Gleeson was appointed permanent principal conductor of the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra of Bulgaria. Gleeson will tour the U.S. in 2024 with the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra.