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David Handel


In April 2021 David Handel was appointed Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Ecuador.

Acclaimed on four continents for his passionate musical leadership and great power of communication with orchestras and audiences, David Handel is recognized as one of the most distinguished young conductors of the moment.

He has been described by the international press as "hypnotizing", "decisive", "dominant", "able to achieve a magical connection between music, musicians and director". His sold-out debut at Moscow's Svetlanov Hall in 2010 saw him re-invited and shortly thereafter he was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Moscow City Symphony – Russian Philharmonic.

A graduate of the University of Michigan, Handel received a Bachelor of Musical Arts degree in violin, philosophy, and composition, and an MFA in conducting. Some of his mentors include Gustav Meier, Elizabeth Green, Ruggiero Ricci, and Kurt Masur. Long before he earned his bachelor's degree, Maestro Masur took him on as his assistant conductor with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and later invited him with the New York Philharmonic to participate in a program for young conductors at Carnegie Hall.

  He has collaborated with the likes of Schlomo Mintz, Walter Ponce, Pepe Romero, Rachel Barton Pine, Peter Donohoe, Rafael Gintoli, Alexander Ghindin and the stars of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow.

From a very young age, Handel was appointed Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Bolivia, a position he held for fourteen years and whose management was characterized by unprecedented artistic growth of both the orchestra and its audience. His achievements with this group have been a model to follow for the formation of orchestras in Latin America.

His outstanding and imaginative programming has been the subject of various reports on the United States Public Radio (NPR), the BBC World Service, “Russia Today”, “The Washington Post”, “USA Today”, “San Francisco Chronicle” and “The Guardian” in London, to mention a few.

At the same time, Handel has been Artistic Director of the Mendoza Symphony in Argentina, Founding Artistic Director of the Guadalquivir International Festival Orchestra, and Artistic Advisor to the National Symphony Orchestra of Guatemala. He currently holds the position of Artistic Advisor to the La Serena Symphony of Chile and Principal Guest Conductor of the Moscow City Symphony – Russian Philharmonic.

David Handel's repertoire is extremely varied and spans various periods of symphonic and operatic literature. He has conducted innumerable world premieres and has personally commissioned over seventy scores and orchestral arrangements, as well as a number of CD and television recordings to his credit.

A two-time Fulbright Scholar, Maestro Handel has been honored by the Chicago International Artists Program and has received numerous accolades including two Rackham Center Awards, the Marguerite Lapp Scholarship, the Illimani Decoration for services to music in Bolivia , the Santa Cruz de Bolivia National Prize for Culture promoted by UNESCO, the Pedro D. Murillo and Nilo Soruco Medals of Honor for their contribution to the cultural life of Bolivia, and a scholarship with the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Germany.

He has represented the United States of America around the world as a Cultural Ambassador thanks to the support of the Department of State for Culture. In that capacity, Handel has performed on major world stages. In 2007 he conducted a combination of the Baghdad, Erbil and Suleimaniya (Iraq) orchestras at the American Voices Unity Festival, a solidarity initiative in support of Iraqi musicians. He has been one of the only American artists to direct in Cuba in recent years, he was decorated by the President of Bolivia with the Coat of Arms of the City of La Paz for his contribution to the artistic flourishing of that country. He recently conducted the Maltese National Philharmonic's end-of-season gala at Girgenti Palace, hosted by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi himself.

David Handel records for the Naxos firm and his recent projects include recordings with works by Alberto Ginastera, Anton Rubenstein, George Gershwin and Isaac Albeniz. Previously, he recorded the music of David Winkler for said label.

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