BIOGRAPHY OMER MEIR WELLBER
Omer Meir Wellber has established himself as one of today’s leading conductors of operatic and orchestral repertoire alike. He currently divides his time up between his positions of Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, Music Director of the Teatro Massimo Palermo as well as Principal Guest Conductor at the Semperoper Dresden and Music Director of the Raanana Symphonette in Israel. As of the start of Lotte de Beer’s period as Director, Wellber is to be Music Director at the Volksoper Wien from 1 September 2022. He has conducted some of the world’s most prestigious ensembles including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, SWR Symphonieorchester, WDR Sinfonieorchester and Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich. In addition to ongoing international appearances as a conductor, he is also a published author and maintains an active role in his native country of Israel, collaborating with ensembles in the region and promoting music integration projects.
In the 2020/21 season, guest appearances for concerts and opera performances will bring Omer Meir Wellber to the Bavarian State Opera in Munich with Les vêpres siciliennes, to the Sveriges Radio Symfoniorkester, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, and to the Gewandhaus in Leipzig with Gustav Mahler’s Die drei Pintos. With the Sinfonietta Leipzig, Omer Meir Wellber will present a special program of Vivaldi and Piazzolla together with the mandolin virtuoso Jacob Reuven and himself on the harpsichord and accordion, at the Gewandhaus zu Leipzig and at the Semperoper Dresden in October 2020.
As Music Director of the Teatro Massimo, he began his season with the Teatro Massimo in September 2020 with performances of Don Giovanni and concerts with Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with Artist in Residence Midori. In January 2021, a new production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugen Onegin (staging: Johannes Erath) will take place as well as the New Year’s Concert in January 2021. With the BBC Philharmonic he will conduct a program with all nine Schubert symphonies and embark on a tour with violinist Midori and the BBC Philharmonic to Germany and the Netherlands in March 2021. In July 2020, the BBC Philharmonic started the online in-conversation series “The Music Room” hosted by Omer Meir Wellber which began by exploring each of Beethoven’s nine symphonies and continues dedicating itself on repertoire that the orchestra and Wellber focus on. In November 2020 Chandos releases the first joint recording with works by Ben-Haim. His first production of the season in Dresden will be the premiere of Mozart’s Zauberflöte in November 2020 (staging: Josef E. Köpplinger) alongside revivals of Don Giovanni and Tosca. In November 2020 he will receive the prize of the Semperoper Foundation which will be presented at a gala at the Semperoper.
2019 saw his debut at the BBC PROMS with the BBC Philharmonic and two concerts featuring works by Mozart, Haydn and Ben-Haim as well as symphonic concerts with works such as Beethoven’s Mass in C Major and Symphony No. 4 with the Dresdner Kammerchor and works by Ben-Haim and Elgar with cellist Anastasia Kobekina. In the season 19/20 the planned tour to England and Germany with the orchestra and cellist Jan Vogler had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. As Principal Guest Conductor of the Semperoper Dresden, he conducted the new production of Verdi’s Nabucco in May 2019 as well as Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabe in November 2019. He has also led the revivals of Don Giovanni, Tannhäuser and Der Rosenkavalier as well as symphonic concerts and multiple performances of the Mozart/Da Ponte operas Cosi fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro, and Don Giovanni as part of the Mozart-Tage 2017. With Wagner’s Parsifal, Wellber conducted his first new production at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo in January 2020. The production was broadcast worldwide by ARTE Concert.
In the 2018 season, Omer Meir Wellber made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York with performances of Bizet’s Carmen. In summer 2018, he also conducted the festival premiere of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the Glyndebourne Festival where he made his 2014 debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in the production of Eugen Onegin. Puccini’s Madama Butterfly was released on BlueRay by Opus Arte. In January of 2017, Wellber conducted Wagner’s Tannhäuser at Venice’s Teatro La Fenice. He made a prior appearance with the Orchestra del Teatro della Fenice for a 2016 concert featuring violinist Midori as part of a European multi-city tour. Wellber led the premiere of Andrea Chenier by Giordano in March 2017 at the Bavarian State Opera where he previously conducted a new production of Mefistofele in 2015, a DVD of the production was released in 2016 by Unitel. In November 2016 he conducted the Staatskapelle Dresden in the world premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina’s oratorio About Love and Hate.
Omer Meir Wellber served as the Music Director at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia from 2010 to 2014, leading both orchestral and operatic performances including Eugene Onegin which was published on DVD by C Major. He conducted Verdi’s operatic masterpiece trifecta – Rigoletto, La Traviata and Il Trovatore – at the Vienna Festival in 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively. In 2011 he made his debut at the Bavarian State Opera with La Traviata, and in 2010 his collaboration with the Semperoper began which has since included performances of Strauss’s Daphne, Ariadne auf Naxos and a concertante performance of Guntram. His highly-praised direction of Aida at the Arena di Verona was recorded and released on DVD by BelAir classiques in 2014.
From 2008 to 2010, Omer Meir Wellber assisted Daniel Barenboim at the Berliner Staatsoper Unter den Linden and at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, directing the Scala in a critically-hailed performance of Verdi’s Aida at the Israeli Opera. In 2010, he also stepped in for Seiji Ozawa, conducting Strauss’s Salome at the Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto.
Omer Meir Wellber made his literary debut with his first novel “Die vier Ohnmachten des Chaim Birkner” published by BerlinVerlag in autumn 2019. The book tells the story of Chaim Birkner, a tired and broken man who is forced by his daughter to face life one last time. In January 2021, the novel was published in Italian by Sellerio Editore and will also be published in French by Éditions du sous-sol in 2021.
“Die Angst, das Risiko und die Liebe – Momente mit Mozart” was published in the spring of 2017. Co-written with German author and journalist Inge Kloepfer, the book shares his personal understanding of the universal emotions addressed in the three Mozart/Da Ponte operas – Così fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni.
Despite Omer Meir Wellber’s demanding schedule of international engagements, he maintains a deeply-rooted commitment to ensembles in his native country, Israel, and considers music to be a tool for social change in Israel. Since 2009, he has been Music Director of the Raanana Symphonette Orchestra which dedicates itself to music education projects in particular, reaching more than approx. 70,000 children each year. For over ten years he was regular guest conductor at the Israeli Opera where he conducted performances of Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, Puccini’s Turandot and Madama Butterfly, Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Gounod’s Faust and Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, among others. In 2007 he debuted with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and in 2016, led the orchestra during its residency at the Dresden Music Festival.
The conductor also is a Good Will Ambassador for Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli-based non-profit organization that provides critical cardiac medical support. In addition, Omer Meir Wellber collaborates with various institutions through outreach programs and fosters the next generation of conducting students through educational lectures.
Born in Be’er Sheva in 1981, Omer Meir Wellber began studying accordion and piano at the age of five. He took composition lessons with Tania Taler starting at the age of nine before continuing under Michael Wolpe until 2004. He graduated from the Be’er Sheva Conservatory in 1999 and received a music scholarship from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation which he used to study Conducting and Composition at the Jerusalem Music Academy from 2000-2008 with Eugene Zirlin and Mendi Rodan. Omer Meir Wellber’s compositions have been performed and broadcast both in Israel and internationally. In 2021 he received the Special Award of the renowned Italian Associazione Nazionale Critici Musicali (National Association of Music Critics).