David Wroe

Review Excerpts
Web site

Mr. Wroe is Music Director of the New Jersey Festival Orchestra, Principal Conductor at Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice in New York, and is a principal conductor of L’Ensemble de Region Normandie in France. Mr. Wroe had a long association with New York City Opera, leading numerous productions, and performing and assisting in over 100 presentations. Orchestras conducted include the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, L’Orchestre National de Lille, Symphony Nova Scotia, New Jersey Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony, New York City Ballet, L’Ensemble de Paris, Neue Brandenberg Symphony, L’Orchestra Lamoureux with cellist Mstislav Rostropovitch, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Das Loh-Orchester Sondershausen, Philharmonische Orchester der Stadt Heidelberg, Delaware, Harrisburg, Huntsville, De Moines Symphony, and numerous tours of Western Austria with Vorarlberg Symphony and at the Bregenz Frühlings Festival. Maestro Wroe is a preferred conductor in Asia, having directed the Pusan Philharmonic, Macau Symphony, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Guiyang, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, Nanjing and Taiwan National Symphony. Maestro Wroe was Music Director of Music on the Mountain: Garrett Lakes Arts Summer Festival in Maryland from 2000–2006, and Music Director and Founder of the Kansas City Camerata from 1990-1996.

Early in his career he was Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa, leading the Orchestra in Tanglewood and in Boston’s Symphony Hall, and touring Europe with the Boston Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players. 2007 marked Maestro Wroe’s recording debuts with L’Orchestre National de Lille on the TransArt label with pianist Bruno Fontaine, and broadcast recordings, through Austrian Broadcasting Authority (ORF), with the Vorarlberg Symphony. In addition to his residency at New York City Opera, from 1997-2002 Maestro Wroe Maestro Wroe was Resident Conductor at the City Opera of Heidelberg, conducting much of the major operatic repertoire there. He has served as the Principal Conductor at Opera Delaware from 2000-2005, directed the summer ‘Opera Under the Stars’ series at the 7000 seater Garden State Arts Center in NJ from 2005-10, and initiated the Opera in Concert series with the NJ Festival Orchestra to critical review.  He opened the newly formed Fresno International Grand Opera for their production of La Bohème, and has served as Judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council, New Jersey Regional Auditions. 

Maestro Wroe, through the NJ Festival Orchestra, has diverse experience in cross-over genres, having organized concerts with Kristin Chenoweth, Mannheim Steamrollers, The 3 Irish Tenors, Natalie Merchant, Joan Rivers, Don Rickles, Jackie Evancho and Celtic Thunder to name but a few. 

Maestro Wroe devotes considerable time to the musical education of young people. In 2014 he led the Brown University Symphony Orchestra (Rhode Island) as its Interim Music Director, was Principal Conductor at N.Y. University Symphony Orchestra (2008-2011), and Director of Orchestras at Montclair State University, NJ (2000-2005). He lead the the Boston Symphony Orchestra Youth Concerts, the Taipei Symphony Orchestra Summer Youth Festival, and has taught and given master-classes at New England Conservatory, Harvard University, Brown University, Rutgers University and University of Alabama.  He has served as Judge for the Music Assistance Fund administered by the League of American Orchestras, and was the Chairman of the Jury of the New Jersey MTA State Concerto Competition. 

Awards are numerous, including the Seiji Ozawa Fellowship at Tanglewood, a citation in United States Congress for community commitment, and finalist in the 1st Bernstein International Conducting Competition.  David attended Lancing College, has a BMus from Manchester University (England), a MM from Northwestern (Chicago), and was a student of Gustav Meier and Victor Yamposky.




Brahms Symphony #3 Finale

Review Excerpts

NEW YORK TIMES – 4/15/09 Steve Smith
An unfamiliar rescue tale from a familiar composer
… Teatro Grattacielo celebrated its 15th anniversary at Avery Fisher Hall…with Il Piccolo Marat, Mascagni’s 14th opera, heard in its United State Premiere… The strongest impression was made by David Wroe, who drew an urgent, polished performance from the orchestra.

AMERICA OGGI – 4/19/09
“Marat Conquers N.Y.”

To conclude, a ‘bravissimo’ to Maestro David Wroe who with overwhelming passion succeeded in showing the extremely rich palette of colors, shadings, and insinuatingly wicked sounds. The enthusiasm of the audience for this new opera built degree-by-degree in intensity to clamorous applause at the end.

OPERA NEWS – 2/19/ 08 Eric Myers
L’Incantessimo and L’Oracolo – Avery Fisher Hall
What a difference the right conductor can make. Most of us who only knew Leoni’s verismo one-act shocker from Richard Bonynges’ 1975 Decca recording had been disappointed by the work. It seemed like a lackluster affair… That was proven November 13th when David Wroe conducted a fiery concert at Avery Fisher Hall… that forced one to make a complete reevaluation. L’Oracolo is no masterpiece, but in the right hands it can be an effective, atmospheric thriller with moments that anticipate Turandot.

MUSICAL AMERICA – 11/20/07 Peter G Davis
2 Obscure Italian Operas Deliciously Excavated.
… As always, Teatro Grattacielo had its priorities straight, and concentrated primarily on achieving the finest musical results. Once again, the conductor was young David Wroe, who presided over a positively breathtakingly committed and disciplined performance of both operas, especially the Montemezzi, which is far from easy to balance or control… Teatro Grattacielo, devotedly caretaking a neglected corner of the Italian operatic repertory, once again put us in its debt.

NEW YORK TIMES – 11/15/07 Vivian Schweitzer
Montemezzi’s L’Incantesimo; Leoni’s L’Oracolo; Avery Fisher Hall, New York City.
… David Wroe conducted the Teatro Grattacielo Orchestra and Cantori New York Chorus in a vivid reading of the sweeping Montemezzi score, which has orchestration reminiscent of Wagner and Italianate vocal lines.

NEW YORK SUN – 9/10/07 George Loomis
Don Giovanni; New York City Opera
… one point in its favor is that it goes against the grain of modern productions by stressing the opera’s comic dimensions rather than portraying Giovanni as some kind of sadist. Musically, the performance had its rewards… .Conducting the familiar composite of Mozart’s Prague and Vienna versions of the score David Wroe imparted a sense of drama to the opera that was too often missing from the staging.

NEW YORK TIMES – 11/14/06 Stephen Smith
LA FARSA AMOROSA; Lincoln Center, New York.
Comedy was surely in short supply in Fascist Italy, but that didn’t prevent Riccardo Zandonai from trying to update the classic opera buffa mode of Rossini … “La Farsa Amorosa” (1933)… The score unfurled in a ceaseless flow of supple melody and rich orchestration… Todd Geer and Monica Yunus offered bright… But the star of this show was the conductor, David Wroe, who led a performance of bristling energy and sharp detail.

OPERA NEWS – 11/12/06 Eric Myers
La Farsa Amorosa
… David Wroe’s conducting proved delightful not only to hear but to watch; his alert involvement, clean, sharp movements and obvious emotional connection to the score enhanced the feeling that La Farsa Amorosa has been undeservedly forgotten far too long.

MUSICAL AMERICA – 10/15/ 06 Peter G. Davis
Unearthing Post-Puccini Operatic Gems
… One fact is surely indisputable; “La Farsa Amorosa” is not easy to perform… All praise then to Teatro Grattacielo Orchestra and conductor David Wroe for giving such a virtuoso reading of a difficult piece, a sparkling performance that sounded completely natural and spontaneous. Teatro Grattacielo reached a new high level with this fine performance, and may the explorations into this neglected repertory continue…

NY Italian Tribune – 10/7/06 Nino Pantano
North Americna premiere of Zandonai’s ‘La farsa Amorosa’
The conductor… was David Wroe form the opening chords of the lengthy overture, one marveled at the orchestral colors Maestro Wroe achieved form his orchestra… a work of art unique to Zandonai and laid bare for us all to marvel at… His presence on the podium assured us of an inspired evening…

Successful start to the new season of the Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg

We had the effective English conductor, David Wroe, to thank for the fact that there was a clear stylistic delineation between the varied compositions. With Handel’s famous Fireworks Music usually entrusted to smaller, specialized ensembles, he avoided the dangers of a performance with a large romanticized orchestra, with clarity of texture and strong rhythmic integrity. Thus a festive Baroque sound enfolded with buffeted, antiphonal brass echo effects. With Bach’s 3rd Orchestral Suite, David Wroe, in the Dance movements developed a natural swing, and the overplayed “Air” in his hands, became a study in first class string playing.

OPERA NEWS – 6/04 David Shengold
The Telephone & The Medium, Opera Delaware.
Audiences at Opera Delaware’s satisfying Menotti double-bill (March 25) first encountered one of the evening’s outstanding contributions… conductor David Wroe captured the right breezy tone here and… the creepy suspense due The Medium… The Medium stands or falls with Mme. Flora, and in Joyce Castle, Opera Delaware secured the best in the business. She dispensed chillingly full tone in the “Afraid?’ monologue. Not a syllable, inflection or moment of the towering role escaped her.

WESTFIELD LEADER – 2/12/04 Brad Tinfow
WSO audience spring to its feet…
Brahms 2nd symphony… The Maestro was able to mold the phrasing and move forward or restrain at will. Using his whole body and the entire podium along with his baton, he extracted every nuance he felt in the music, giving the music an organic yet spontaneous life. He shaped every detail, never taking a note for granted while maintaining a cohesive overall structure… acknowledging Wroe, the WSO and Brahms, was unable to contain it’s justifiable ardor, standing and applauding for several curtain calls

NEW JERSEY STAR LEDGER – 11/4/03 Frederick Kaimann
Westfield program delights.
… credit to conductor David Wroe with a winning, approachable style that added interest and delight to even the most familiar…with a Richard Straus tone poem, this is where Wroe’s skills shined. Alternating between baton and microphone, Wroe interspersed “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme” with vignettes form the original play… Wroe had the audience laughing at the antics…

NEW JERSEY STAR LEDGER – 5/19/03 Willa Conrad
Puccini’s Tosca – New Jersey
[Through] Saturday’s final season performance, a concert version of Puccini’s Tosca… the group provided what it has consistently done since David Wroe took the reins 6 years ago; ambitious programs with even-keeled professionalism… adding the color necessary to underline the drama that Wroe achieves by pressured, intense tempos and naturally flowing vocal lines…

HUNTSVILLE TIMES – 10/20/02 Donna Fork
Guest conductor interprets lighter, darker aspects of love.
The guest conductor [David Wroe] put plenty of passion into his performance last night at the Von Braun Center Concert Hall… interpreting with great sensitivity music that spanned a range of styles and emotions… His gestures were definite, yet graceful. It seemed as if the concert were a collaboration, that he was a facilitator between different sections of the orchestra. At the same time Wroe worked hard to control volume, balance and phrasing.

CLASSICAL NEW JERSEY – 10/3/02 Paul Sommers
Sommers visits Maryland’s Deep Creek Festival.
… conducting without a score, David Wroe drew every bit of passion, sadness, and resignation from Strauss’ Metamorphosen. The silence at the conclusion was as riveting as the music had been. Some listeners were visibly moved.

NOVA SCOTIA CHRONICLE-HERALD – 3/27/02 Stephen Pedersen
Guest Conductor Transfigures Night.
“If conducting is about clarity and showing a composer’s design, David Wroe is your man. He guided Symphony Nova Scotia through the expressionist tangle of Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht with a sure hand and high sense of musical drama… Wroe, conducting from memory, clearly understood the significance of every single gesture in the music and how to indicate that to the musicians in the fraction of a second before they had to play it. His control of musical light and shadow, rhythmic energy, pace and drama in this extraordinary music clarified the design and expressed it with impressive power… another demonstration of Wroe’s penchant for clarity, energy and drama in Haydn’s London Symphony. Wroe freshness up the old masters. He conducts the layers of the music and you hear what you never heard before.

NEW JERSEY STAR LEDGER – 10/26/01 Willa Conrad
Orchestra Begins Season On High Note.
… English conductor David Wroe… an annual visitor to the Wayne Chamber Orchestra, opened the season with as strong a performance as this ensemble has given in recent seasons. The program was not simple: John Adams’ The Chairman Dancesfrom his Nixon in China… and Elgar’s Enigma Variations… this was overall a crisp performance, one that , particularly in the Elgar, showed expressive capabilities not always tapped in this ensemble… Wroe is a smart conductor who thinks through the general thrust of a particular section, but doesn’t ignore how transitions between movements impact the whole. His gestures are clear and articulate, and he gave the orchestra an exact visual example of what he wanted to hear. He also pulled a wider dynamic palette of very loud to very soft from his ensemble, accentuating the works more noble qualities.

WESTFIELD LEADER – 11/25/99 David Palladino.
Westfield Symphony Plays Second Concert with Passion
“Maestro David Wroe and the Westfield Symphony Orchestra took the area by musical storm for the second time Saturday night at the Presbyterian Church in Westfield with an exciting concert including Piazolla’s Orchestral Tangos; the Dvorak Cello Concerto featuring guest soloist Hai-Ye Ni; and the Finnish powerhouse, Symphony No. 2, by Jean Sibelius… Maestro Wroe ended the piece [Sibelius] in such a subliminally expectant manner, with such an air of reservedness, that I fear that some may have missed the point and were left hanging mid-breath. The correctness of this move was utter perfection and most appreciated. Know that those who were on the level that night, were floored.

To have such music presented to us here is truly a wonderful gift. The high level of talent, musicianship, dedication and passion of the ensemble is immediately apparent. All artists on stage are doing this for their love of this imperative music. While all of the elements of a great concert were there, acoustics, ensemble, soloist, it would not have come together musically if it were not for the unquestioned hero of the evening, Maestro Wroe. His value to this organization can not be overestimated. His talent, passion and understanding of the music is immense. Phrasing and interpretation are some of the best I’ve heard – extremely solid.

THE STAR-LEDGER – 11/23/99 Willa J. Conrad.
Westfield Symphony conductor summons larger-than-life sound
There are ways of conducting that can make a large orchestra sound small and tightly drawn toward its center. And then there’s David Wroe’s way with the Westfield Symphony Orchestra, which is to make this small orchestra seem to expand outward to sound twice as big as it is. Such was the case Saturday night, when the orchestra, in its second concert of Wroe’s third season as music director, played Sibelius’ Second Symphony and Dvorak’s Cello Concerto with an asperity and expansiveness that more than filled the medium-sized sanctuary of the Presbyterian Church in Westfield. Wroe has taken control of this group with a great deal of authority and a detailed plan for its aural development, … In the Sibelius, arguably a textbook example of the orchestral climax, Wroe led the ensemble through a forest of fortes, each louder than the last… Wroe has trained this orchestra to play crisply and confidently, but his more endearing trait as conductor is the instinctive way he feels tempo changes and transitions. This made Dvorak’s Cello Concert, with guest soloist Hai-Ye Ni, feel liquid and shifting and naturally expressive… Wroe knows how to have fund with his musicians, too… There’s a bit of the show-off principle at work here. When you only give five concerts a year, you have to make each one count, and Wroe, with his flamboyant podium style, is certainly delivering on that count.”

QUAD CITY DISPATCH – 4/12/99 Julie Jensen.
Symphony soars under Wroe’s hand.
British-born guest conductor David Wroe took delight in showing off the full range of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra Saturday. Berlioz Overture to “Beatrice and Benedict” is of American Civil War vintage… Mr. Wroe seemed to sculpt the music with his baton, evoking a dulcet legato sound, shimmering violins… when he asked for brass, they poured it on… Mr. Wroe definitely has a way with Stravinsky. He conducted the “Firebird” with elan, and the sections handed off the themes to each other flawlessly…

MANNHEIMER MORGAN (Germany) – 11/23/98
Abduction of the Serail – Heidelberg

… At the podium, David Wroe showed a sure feeling for the energy and the forward motion in the score. Especially noteworthy was the constant delicacy between the orchestra pit and the stage. He conducted with many toned colors, rhythmic precision, and ‘bravore’. A thoroughly musically pleasing Mozart evening.

NEW JERSEY STAR LEDGER – 10/5/98 Peter Spencer
Westfield Symphony thriving under leadership of Wroe
It is time to take the WSO seriously … this is a group poised to become the State’s leading second-tier orchestra. And the first tier has only one name in it. Wroe is turning into one of the State’s treasures, a master of orchestral texture whose outgoing personality and solid skills have raised morale amongst players and audience alike…

REIN-NECKAR ZEITUNG – 2/20/98 Reiner Kohl
David Wroe, Principal Conductor of the of the Opera Theater, is a sound aesthete with instinct and flair. Literally, with or without a baton, he formed his music like a sculptor. He showed a feel for delicate moments, and instilled special nuances. The orchestra reacted in a select way with beautiful performances from the woodwinds, scented flute and colorful clarinet solos… the conductor allowed the orchestra to glow, and reach a delicious melting sweetness. Wroe had a marked feeling for the magic moods… he had an excellent feel to find where the nerve of this music lies; he knew how to combine passionate drama with strong shades of color – great enthusiasm to the end.

J. C. Bach’s Amadis, with temperament and precision in Heidelberg

… Under the rousing leadership of David Wroe, the orchestra delivered the score with temperament and exactitude – as though they were the legendary Mannheim Orchestra of the 18th Century. The energy center of this performance came from the pit…

REIN-NECKAR ZEITUNG – 10/22/96 Carl Meyer
A Spanish Evening.
…after intermission followed De Falla’s Three Cornered Hat… David Wroe is an expressive and gesticulatory very gifted orchestra leader. Throughout the concert he showed great concentration and intensity. In the best moments of the performance the English conductor succeeded in inspiring the German musicians to play genuine Spanish music… playing with light touch and with flexibility, and succeeding in creating a wonderfully tender nocturnal atmosphere.

DES MOINES REGISTER – 2/4/96 John Karras
Tasty offering from Wroe, Symphony.
… Wroe proved himself to be a most animated and engaging conductor… he is ballet in place… The grand finale, Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony, saw Wroe at his most demonstrative. I doubt that the work could be performed more pathetique, and if it could be, hardly anyone would be able to stand it.

REGISTER-GUARD (EUGENE) – 2/17/96 Karen Kannenerar
Symphony unfolded a night of creation, re-creation.
Several new stars joined the firmament Thursday night as the Eugene Symphony treated it’s audience to a wonderful guest conductor… Wroe sculpted an absolutely spellbinding performance of this huge, glorious haunch of a tone poem [The Planets]… Wroe is a fascinating conductor. He is elegant, witty, and was totally in charge of the orchestra… lifted and swept the musicians to an ethereal reading that radiated the energy right off the stage…

Another outstanding performance.
The Florida West Coast Symphony Orchestra gave one of it’s finest concerts Jan. 13th in Van Wezel Hall. This was a program you wished would never end… then he led the orchestra in “Overture to Marriage of Figaro” played with spirit and crisp precision … the concert ended with … Firebird Suite, given a stunning performance by the inspired orchestra… About David Wroe: He is a graceful, decisive leader; his every movement counts, and not a note is unpolished. He understood the music and came thoroughly prepared (using a score only when he supported the soloist)… enchanting to watch, he evoked the sound he wanted, and his musicians eagerly responded.

SARASOTA HERALD TRIBUNE – 1/17/96 Florence Fisher
Conductor Wroe draws best from Symphony.
Saturday afternoon, under the baton of guest conductor David Wroe, the Florida West Coast Symphony rose to undreamed-of heights … I believe the excitement was engendered by Wroe’s impassioned exhortations to the musicians, expressed in his body language and compelling gestures … so when “Leonore” began it was immediately sharply focused. The conductor’s close involvement with each section produced a clearly detailed performance where nothing was blurred or thickened … The audience cheered, the curtain calls were prolonged, the thrill remained long after the concert ended.

KANSAS CITY STAR – 12/6/94 Scott Cantrell
KC Camerata’s performance is delightful. Wroe shines in concert of diverse pieces.
… David Wroe, the chamber orchestra’s Music Director, just gets better and better. Always a conductor of enormous energy, he showed in Ravel’s “Mother Goose” Suite just how exquisitely he can focus and control that energy. It’s hard to imagine a more lovingly played account of this wonder-filled score: delicately tinted, finely detailed, with just the right “give” in all the right places. [Haydn, Symphony #100] … Wroe is a born Haydn conductor, meeting balancing plein-air propulsiveness with wit and charm … it certainly was exhilarating.”

KANSAS CITY STAR – 9/94 Scott Cantrell
Beethoven symphony sparkles
David Wroe took Ludwig van Beethoven at his word Tuesday evening – or, rather, at his numbers – and everyone came up a winner… virtually matched the metronome markings in most of Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony (the “Pastoral”),… he delivered plenty of plein-air vigor. It was the most refreshing account of a Beethoven symphony this concert-goer has heard in a long time. Modern conductors tend to sentimentalize Beethoven… first movement … Wroe propelled a brisk, bracing account of the movement, sustaining the urgency all the way through… throughout the symphony, Wroe and company delivered one lovingly contoured phrase after another.

ALBANY TIMES – 8/8/94 Peter Haley
Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor, soloist delight thousands at Tanglewood.
Maestro Wroe, the assistant conductor of the BSO , has clear-cut ideas of what he wants. A finely tuned conducting style, imbued with electrifying energy, creates an aura of absolute security. There are no loose ends. Wroe details every nuance, managed to avoid being overly fussy. The results were stunning… The BSO was nothing short of stupendous as they responded to Wroe’s demands of highly accelerated tempi, relaxing just enough between rushes, to create a feeling of breathless grandeur.

BERKSHIRE EAGLE – 8/8/94 Andrew Pincus
Tanglewood triumphs – Wroe, Yo Yo Ma highlight banner weekend
[with the Boston Symphony Orchestra]… The performance put new life into an old workhorse. In both the symphony [Dvorak 9th] and Barber’s “School for Scandal” Overture, which opened the program, Wroe was a passionate, imaginative advocate… Ideas can change, the talent is there.”

BERKSHIRE EAGLE – 7/14/94 Andrew Pincus
Tangled Music Center Orchestra makes an electrifying season debut.
… The crowd came to cheer, and it had plenty to cheer about: the debut of a gifted young conductor, [David Wroe]… Working from memory, Wroe put across the drama, color, and flair of this inspired music [Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet ]… Using a graphic set of sweeps, cuts and chops with his left hand, Wroe also demonstrated a fine control of the orchestra. Balances, dynamics and nuances were where they ought to have been… An impressive debut.

BOSTON GLOBE – 7/94 Anthony Tommasini
It was performed with vigor and character and conducted with command… by David Wroe, one of the BSO’s excellent new assistant conductors…

ST. LOUIS POST – 12/91 James Wierzbicki
… the Saint Louis Symphony… ably conducted by David Wroe, sounds as good as it looks.