BIOGRAPHY OMER MEIR WELLBER
Omer Meir Wellber has established himself as one of today’s leading conductors of operatic and orchestral repertoire alike. He is Music Director of the Volksoper Wien, Music Director of the Teatro Massimo Palermo and Artistic Director of the Toscanini Festival. From a long association, he is also Music Director of the Raanana Symphonette in Israel. Omer Meir Wellber is a regular guest with the Gewandhausorchester zu Leipzig, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, among others.
In his first season as the new music director of the Volksoper Wien, Omer Meir Wellber leads the new production of Tchaikovsky’s Jolanthe und der Nussknacker in a production by Volksoper director Lotte de Beer, as well as repertoire performances of Mozart’s Zauberflöte and Puccini’s La Bohème. As he will be responsible for the musical life of the Volksoper and for the development of the ensemble, orchestra and choir, Omer Meir Wellber has introduced that the Volksoper Orchestra performs symphony concerts at the Konzerthaus and Volksoper – his first appearance with the Volksoper Orchestra was at the Vienna Konzerthaus with soloist Midori – and initiated the appointment of principal guest conductors as well as house conductors, in addition to founding the Opera Studio.
At the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Omer Meir Wellber opens the new season with the Kaiserrequiem, his own new creation with director Marco Gandini, which combines Viktor Ullman’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis with Mozart’s Requiem. The program also includes symphony concerts with Steven Isserlis and Amihai Grosz, among others, as well as a cabaret evening with Hila Baggio and Ernesto Tomasini, and a new production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. Highlights of recent seasons have been the new productions of Verdi’s Les Vêpres siciliennes in a production by Emma Dante and Wagner’s Parsifal in a production by Graham Vick. His innovative work at Teatro Massimo, including the January 2021 production Crepuscolo dei sogni, earned him the 2021 Special Award from Italy’s Associazione Nazionale Critici Musicali (National Association of Music Critics).
As Artistic Director of the 2023 Toscanini Festival in Parma, Wellber will present an interesting program of contemporary works and renowned soloists, among others. In the first edition of the festival last year, Omer Meir Wellber conducted a concert version of Puccini’s rarely performed opera Les Willis.
Guest performances in the 2022/23 season will take Omer Meir Wellber to the USA with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, to Switzerland with the Tonhalle Orchestra, to Stockholm for concerts with the Swedish Radio Orchestra, to Munich’s Isarphilharmonie with the Munich Philharmonic, and to the Vienna State Opera with Wagner’s Lohengrin. With the Vienna Symphony, Wellber will embark on a European tour in November to 9 cities in 5 countries, including Hamburg, Berlin, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Warsaw.
As portrait artist 2022 of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Omer Meir Wellber appeared on the conductor’s podium as well as on accordion, harpsichord and grand piano and presented 14 varied and unconventional concerts under the motto “Friendship”. In addition to classical orchestral concerts with the Festival Orchestra of the SHMF and the BBC Philharmonic, the program also included chamber music and chanson evenings as well as a four-hand piano recital. True to the motto “Friendship”, Omer Meir Wellber performed together with, among others, mandolinist Jacob Reuven, actress Isabel Karajan, pianists Fazil Say and Daniel Ciobanu, violinist Veronica Eberle and clarinettist Alessio Vicario.
The most recent CD recordings with Omer Meir Wellber were released in May 2022: The Mandolin Seasons with Jacob Reuven and the Sinfonietta Leipzig (musicians of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra) on the Hyperion label and Pop Songs with cellist Jan Vogler and the BBC Philharmonic on the Sony label. Previous releases include the first joint recording by Wellber and the BBC Philharmonic of works by Ben-Haim (Chandos), Tavener’s No longer mourn for me with Steven Isserlis and the Philarmonia Orchestra (Hyperion), and DVD releases of Wagner’s Parsifal (Unitel/C Major), Bellini’s I capuleti e i montecchi (Naxos), Puccuni’s Madama Butterfly (Opus Arte), Boito’s Mefistofele (Unitel), Verdi’s Aida (Bel Air Classique), and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (Unitel).
Omer Meir Wellber made his literary debut with his first novel “Die vier Ohnmachten des Chaim Birkner” published by Berlin Verlag 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. The novel was also published in Italian by Sellerio Editore and in French by Éditions du sous-sol.
“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.
In August 2021, Wellber made his debut at the Bregenz Festival with works by Ives and Bruckner and Strauss’s Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra with Ramón Ortega Quero (oboe) and the Wiener Symphoniker. He made his debut with the Munich Philharmonic in November 2019 with the world premiere of Ayal Adler, with the BBC Philharmonic with works by Mozart, Haydn, and Ben-Haim at the BBC Proms in July 2019, and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York with performances of Bizet’s Carmen in October 2018. In summer 2018, he conducted the festival premiere of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (BlueRay Opus Arte, 2019) at the Glyndebourne Festival, where he debuted in 2014 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s production of Eugene Onegin. In March 2017, he conducted the premiere of Giordano’s Andrea Chenier at the Bavarian State Opera, where he had already conducted the new production of Mefistofele in 2015 (DVD Unitel, 2016). In November 2016, he conducted the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden in the world premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina’s oratorio On Love and Hate.
Omer Meir Wellber’s longstanding collaboration with the Semperoper Dresden culminated in his position as Principal Guest Conductor from 2018 to 2022. As early as 2010 he conducted new productions and revivals of Aida, Ariadne auf Naxos, Daphne, the Da Ponte Trilogy, The Magic Flute, Grand Macabre, Guntram, Madama Butterfly, Nabucco, Rosenkavalier, Salome, Tannhäuser but also symphony concerts with the Sächsische Staatskapelle were part of the program.
Highlights of his time as Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic included concerts at Bridgewater Hall as well as at the BBC Proms and guest concerts at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. After focusing on Beethoven’s 9 symphonies in 2020, the BBC’s The Music Room video conversation series continued with The Music Room: Discovering Ben-Haim.
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 (2011), La Traviata (2012) and Il Trovatore (2013) at the Vienna Festival.
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.
His close ties to his native Israel are evident in his collaboration with the Raanana Symphonette Orchestra, of which he has been Music Director since 2009. The orchestra dedicates itself to music education projects, 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 in 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 plays a custom-built accordion, model POLARIS, from the renowned Italian accordion manufacturer PIGINI.