The São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), Brazil, has appointed Celso Antunes as Associate Conductor, for five years from 2012. Each season, he will conduct at least two different programmes with the orchestra (6 to 8 concerts) and one programme with the Choir. He is Chief Conductor of Camerata Fukuda, Brazil and Professor of Choral Conducting at the distinguished Haute École de Musique de Genève. He is equally in demand as an orchestral and a choral conductor.
Born 1959 in São Paulo, Brazil, Celso Antunes studied conducting at the Musikhochschule Köln in Germany. From 1994 until 1998 he was Chief Conductor of the Neues Rheinisches Kammerorchester in Cologne and of the Belgian ensemble for contemporary music Champ d'Action (1994 – 1997), with whom he directed numerous world premieres. As Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the National Chamber Choir of Ireland, his influence on its development from 2002 onward was exceptional. In 2007 the Irish Times regretted his departure with the words: …this period will have to be seen in the future as a golden age for professional choral singing in Ireland. From August 2008 to March 2012 Antunes was Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Choir "Groot Omroepkoor".
Flexibility is the key to Celso Antunes’ conducting expertise across a wide repertoire which covers choral music from the Renaissance, through orchestral works from the 18th and 19th century and contemporary music, of which he is a devoted advocate. This advocacy has led to engagements to direct numerous renowned contemporary music ensembles such as the Nieuw Ensemble, the Ensemble Modern and the Tippett Ensemble (of which he remains Music Director). He has conducted many world premieres including works by Michael Tippett, Wolfgang Rihm, Jonathan Harvey, Hans Zender, Brice Pauset, Unsuk Chin and Lera Auerbach.
Celso Antunes is regularly invited as a guest conductor by leading orchestras, such as the Netherlands Radio Filharmonisch Orkest and the Netherlands Radio Kamer Filharmonie, the NDR Radiophilharmonie, the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland Pfalz, the RSO Stuttgart, the Brussels Philharmonic, the Ulster Orchestra and Manchester Camerata.
For many years Celso Antunes has been an active figure on the European concert scene. Festival engagements have included Salzburger Festspiele, Berliner Festspiele, Donaueschinger Musiktage, the Flanders Festival, Musikbiennale München, Rheingau Festival, Rheinvokal Festival, City of London Festival, Festival of Cartagena, November Music in s'Hertogenbosch.
Antunes regularly works with some of Europe’s leading choirs, including: the SWR Stuttgart Vocal Ensemble, the BBC Singers in London and the Vlaamse Radio Koor in Brussels. Among the conductors with whom he has collaborated are prominent artists such as Sir Simon Rattle, Zubin Mehta, Mariss Janssons, Charles Dutoit, Peter Eötvös and Marin Alsop.
In 2010 Antunes recorded a CD, with the NDR Radiophilharmonie, featuring works by Joaquin Turina for hänssler classic (nominated for a GRAMMY Award 2010). He also recorded ‘Sun Dogs’ by James MacMillan with the Netherlands Radio Choir on the BIS label (shortlisted for a Gramophone Classical Music Award 2012). In 2011 Antunes recorded works by Xavier Montsalvatge, with the NDR Radiophilharmonie also for hänssler classic (released January 2012) and a CD of works by Richard Rijnvos, ‘Uptown|Downtown’, featuring both the Netherlands Radio Filharmonisch Orkest and the Netherlands Radio Kamer Filharmonie, released May 2012.