Recognized for his diverse musical expertise, Paul Connelly is among today’s most respected conductors. He received his fundamental music training in piano at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. His early interest in theatrical possibilities for music led to assistant conductor and vocal coaching positions with The Boston Opera, the Santa Fe Opera and the San Francisco Opera. His conducting debut took place with the Houston Grand Opera on a national tour of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess at the age of 24. Returning to the San Francisco Opera, he was appointed Music Director of their Affiliate Artists Program for Opera and awarded an Exxon/Arts Endowment conductor’s grant. Under these auspices Mr. Connelly built a substantial foundation in the operatic repertoire.
Subsequently, at the invitation of Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mr. Connelly joined American Ballet Theatre as Principal Conductor, where he had the opportunity to work directly with such legendary dance figures as Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, Kenneth Macmillan, Anthony Tudor and Twyla Tharp, to name just a few. During this period he also received numerous guest invitations, including performances with New York City Ballet, ‘Nureyev and Friends’, and, as Music Director, ‘Baryshnikov and Co.’ He was also appointed Principal Guest Conductor of The National Ballet of Canada.
During this period he participated in numerous film projects, including Baryshnikov’s production of Don Quixote with ABT, ‘Live From Lincoln Center’ broadcasts, and several ‘Dance in America’ productions for national public television. His continued opera activity included productions of Britten’s Death in Venice, Debussy’s Pelleas and Melisande and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.
A gala at Wiener Staatsoper led to an invitation to conduct Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia there, and initiated an intensive period of activity in Europe.
Mr. Connelly has conducted for many engagements with the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin; Deutsche Oper Berlin, The Paris Opera Ballet, where he has filmed several productions, including Sylvia of John Neumeir , ‘Balanchine’s Jewels, Giselle, and an evening of works by Roland Petit; Orchestre Colonne, Paris, where he has conducted many symphonic concert programs; Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden, Opera de Nice; Teatro San Carlo, Naples; Zurich Opera, Den Norske Opera; The Royal Ballet, London; The Birmingham Royal Ballet; Het Nationale Ballet, Amsterdam; The Tokyo Ballet; The Danish Radio Orchestra; The Finnish National Ballet; Hungarian National Ballet, Korean National Ballet, and Teatro Alla Scala, Milan, where, at the invitation of Riccardo Muti, his performances have included Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni, as well as filmed productions of Giselle and Notre Dame de Paris.
Film projects have included Mario Bigonzetti’s Caravaggio for the Staatsopernballett Berlin, Rudolf Nureyev’s production of The Nutcracker for the Wiener Staatsoper and Christian Spuck’s Nutcracker for Opera Zurich.