Adam Turner

Adam Turner

Currently in his fourth season as Artistic Director of Virginia Opera (following four seasons as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor), Maestro Adam Turner garners critical acclaim for the breadth of his repertoire, artistic vision, and polished technique. Of his recent performance of Street Scene with Virginia Opera, Opera News hailed the “sensitive conducting” of Adam Turner “who demonstrated an affinity for a score as stylistically diverse as the characters in the plot” and of his conducting of Der FreischützOpera News hailed: “Conductor Adam Turner … ensured crackling rhythms as much as lyrical spaciousness, resulting in a performance that felt vital and spontaneous throughout.”

Spring of 2021, Mo. Turner conducted Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s “POPS! Concert Series” consisting of shows entitled Serpentine Fire: The Music of Earth, Wind, and FireHavana Nights with the Mambo Kings, and The Streisand Songbook, in addition to performances of Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti co-presented with Virginia Opera and Virginia Arts Festival.

Calendar

Event Date
Jan 28
to
Feb 13
Three Decembers
Conductor
Virginia Opera
Norfolk, Virginia
Event Date
Mar 25
to
Apr 10
Le nozze di Figaro
Conductor
Virginia Opera
Norfolk, Virginia
Event Date
May 7
to
May 8
Classical Broadway
Conductor
Portland Symphony
Portland, ME

Artist Bio

Currently in his fourth season as Artistic Director of Virginia Opera (following four seasons as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor), Maestro Adam Turner garners critical acclaim for the breadth of his repertoire, artistic vision, and polished technique. Of his recent performance of Street Scene with Virginia Opera, Opera News hailed the “sensitive conducting” of Adam Turner “who demonstrated an affinity for a score as stylistically diverse as the characters in the plot” and of his conducting of Der FreischützOpera News hailed: “Conductor Adam Turner … ensured crackling rhythms as much as lyrical spaciousness, resulting in a performance that felt vital and spontaneous throughout.”

Spring of 2021, Mo. Turner conducted Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s “POPS! Concert Series” consisting of shows entitled Serpentine Fire: The Music of Earth, Wind, and FireHavana Nights with the Mambo Kings, and The Streisand Songbook, in addition to performances of Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti co-presented with Virginia Opera and Virginia Arts Festival. This season, he will join Toledo Opera to lead their production of Il trovatore as well as lead four productions for Virginia Opera – Das Rheingold, La boheme, Three Decembers, and Le nozze di Figaro.  In addition he will lead concert performances of “Classical Broadway” for Portland Symphony Orchestra and return to Central City Opera in 2022.

In his inaugural season as Artistic Director of Virginia Opera, (following four seasons as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor), Maestro Turner conducted performances of Street Scene, Don Giovanni, The Elixir of Love, and Madama Butterfly, in addition to Jack Perla’s An American Dream. Since then, he has conducted the companies productions of Der Freischütz, The Seven Deadly Sins, Pagliacci, La bohème, Samson et Dalila, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Der fliegende Holländer, Il Postino, Aida, and Tosca.

On top of his productions at Virginia Opera, he conducted The Seven Deadly Sins for the Buffalo Philharmonic, Eugene Onegin with Intermountain Opera Bozeman, Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers with San Diego Opera, and Madama Butterfly for Central City Opera.   He also conducted Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s “POPS! Concert Series” consisting of shows entitled Queens of Soul, Music of Neil Diamond, and Dancing & Romancing.

In prior seasons, Mr. Turner conducted Roméo et Juliette at Lyric Opera Baltimore, Händel’s Messiah at Virginia Symphony, and collaborated with renowned conductor John DeMain on Washington National Opera’s production of Kurt Weill’s final stage composition Lost in the Stars. Furthermore, The Kurt Weill Foundation named Maestro Turner the inaugural recipient of the Julius Rudel/Kurt Weill Conducting Fellowship in 2015.

Turner has earned a reputation for being a champion of new works. He conducted the workshop of The Halloween Tree by composer Theo Popov and librettist Tony Asaro, Biennale: A Comic Opera by composer Paul Richards and librettist Wendy Steiner, assisted in the world-première of Ricky Ian Gordon’s American Civil War-inspired musical theatre masterpiece Rappahannock County (subsequently released on the Naxos label), and assisted composer David Carlson in Florida Grand Opera’s world-première production of Anna Karenina.

Other guest conducting engagements include: The Tender Land at Northwestern University; Three Decembers with Hawaii Opera Theatre; a Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program Holiday Concert with Washington National Opera; Sweeney Todd at Hawaii Opera Theatre and Eugene Opera; Le nozze di Figaro, Dead Man Walking, Carmen, La bohème, Man of La Mancha and Oklahoma! with Central City Opera; Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Carmen, Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, Camelot, and Britten’s biblically inspired Noye’s Fludde during his tenure as Resident Conductor at Ash Lawn Opera; and H.M.S. Pinafore, Carmen, Ariadne auf Naxos, The Mikado, Carousel, and Camelot for Virginia Opera.

During regular appearances with Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Richmond Symphony, Mr. Turner conducted Young People’s Concerts and additional outreach activities. His leadership of Virginia Opera’s annual “Opera in the Park” series, featuring both of the aforementioned orchestras in their respective communities, reaches nearly 10,000 attendees across the Commonwealth of Virginia with a program of opera and popular hits, ensuring the next generation of prospective opera lovers, and bridging the gap between popular and classical music genres. He appeared recently in concert with singer-songwriter Bruce Hornsby, conducting the Virginia Symphony Orchestra at the 2018 Funhouse Fest, and has performed alongside singer-songwriter Ben Folds, conducting “The Orchestra Experience” during his tour stop in Virginia Beach. Additionally, Maestro Turner conducted at the David Oistrakh Festival in Estonia, featuring appearances with the St. Petersburg Festival Orchestra, Pärnu City Orchestra, and the Kaiserslautern Symphony Orchestra.

Turner first gained recognition at age 25 during his tenure at Stadttheater Pforzheim in Germany while taking over conducting responsibilities of a production of Les Misérables. Musicals – Das Musicalmagazin, Germany’s premier musical theater publication lauded his work: “Les Mis reveals even here its magical effectiveness… The main reason for this is the performance of the orchestra, led by a young American conductor, Adam Turner, who brings to the piece a suspenseful drama that one does not always hear, even on the legendary, anniversary recording at the Royal Albert Hall. During the dramatic dialogues, he pushes the action forward but one is nonetheless able to understand every single word…he builds up the aria-like solos with great crescendos yet purposefully does not turn the first Thénardier-Song into a homely operetta number…” There, he also conducted Lehár’s Paganini and Cole Porter’s High Society.

Prior to his appointment as the youngest administrator in Virginia Opera’s history, Turner proved he has a vision for the future of the industry as a member of the next generation of leaders while holding several administrative and music staff appointments at houses across the country including Seattle Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Central City Opera, Portland Opera, Tulsa Opera, Syracuse Opera, and Ash Lawn Opera. In these positions, Turner worked side-by-side with world-renowned maestri including Asher Fisch, Steuart Bedford, John DeMain, Gary Thor Wedow, and Broadway veteran Rob Fisher.

Turner holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Morehead State University, and a Master of Music degree from The Catholic University of America. He furthered his training with internationally acclaimed conductors and pedagogues Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Marin Alsop, Jorma Panula, Gustav Meier, Kenneth Kiesler, and Kate Tamarkin.

Updated September 1, 2021.

Video

Maestro Adam Turner Talks About The Seven Deadly Sins and Pagliacci

Motorin’ with the Maestro (Ep. 1 – David Blalock)

One Angry Dwarf Ben Folds & Adam Turner

Press

"...Turner believes the best art is born outside of comfort zones..." – Washington Classical Review

Samson et Dalila – “Luckily, Virginia Opera has a conductor/artistic adviser in Adam Turner who absolutely relishes in taking on creative challenges. Turner believes the best art is born outside of comfort zones, in uncharted territory – not only for the audience’s sake, but for the artists’ as well.”

"… ensured crackling rhythms as much as lyrical spaciousness..." – Opera News

Der Freischütz – “Conductor Adam Turner … ensured crackling rhythms as much as lyrical spaciousness, resulting in a performance that felt vital and spontaneous throughout.”

"...drawing impressively nuanced playing from the Virginia Symphony every step of the way... ” – Opera News

Sweeney Todd – “For its fortieth anniversary, Virginia Opera slid into Broadway repertoire to deliver a highly satisfying account of Stephen Sondheim’s ever-chilling Sweeney Todd, one of the organization’s strongest ventures of the past decade or so….The chorus sustained a hearty, well-balanced tone. Adam Turner conducted a stylish account of the score, drawing impressively nuanced playing from the Virginia Symphony every step of the way. ”

"...kept the orchestra sounding high-spirited, and the well-cast chorus energized..." – The Washington Post

HMS Pinafore – “Conductor Adam Turner kept the orchestra sounding high-spirited, and the well-cast chorus — with the men smartly decked out as sailors and the ladies glammed up in park-strolling gowns with parasols — energized with crisp singing and choreography.”

"...did a marvelous job of leading the company’s orchestra..." – Washington Times

Carousel – “Adam Turner also did a marvelous job of leading the company’s orchestra in an almost perfectly calibrated counterpoint to the company’s singers. The orchestra really had a chance to shine in Act II’s extended ballet sequence as well as in a modified version of this show’s memorable ‘Carousel Waltz’.”