D A V I D  N E E L Y

In 2012 Opera News wrote, “The happy news of David Neely’s appointment as Des Moines Metro Opera’s first-ever music director portends some exciting operatic growth at Des Moines in years to come.” Since then, Neely has elevated the company’s musical profile with acclaimed performances of a wide range of repertoire such as Turandot, Billy Budd, Manon, Falstaff, Elektra, Peter Grimes, Dead Man Walking, Macbeth, Don Giovanni, La fanciulla del West, and Turandot. Neely’s recent performances of Britten's epic masterwork Billy Budd, Dvořák's Rusalka, and Dove's Flight garnered high praise in major publications Opera News in the Chicago Tribune, and Neely’s televised Manon and Billy Budd, produced by Iowa Public Television for DMMO, were awarded Emmys by the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Neely is equally at home in concert, opera, musical theater, and ballet settings. Internationally, he has appeared as a conductor with the Bochumer Symphoniker, Dortmunder Philharmoniker, the Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg, the Eutiner Festspiele, and numerous European opera houses including Bonn, Halle, Dortmund, and St. Gallen. In the United States, he has recently appeared with Atlanta Opera, Sarasota Opera, Intermountain Opera, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and the Portland Symphony Orchestra, and the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. As an educator, he has led concerts at the University of Maryland, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts. In addition to countless singers of note, he has collaborated in concert with such instrumentalists as Joshua Roman, Bella Hristova, Benjamin Beilman, Rainer Honeck, Nicholas Daniel, Delfeayo Marsalis, Phillippe Cuper, Ben Lulich, and Ricardo Morales. Neely has conducted the German premiere of Mark Anthony Turnage's The Silver Tassie, the North American premiere of Robert Orledge's reconstruction of Debussy's The Fall of the House of Usher, and recently, world premieres of Arthur Gottschalk's Four New Brothers, Billy Childs' Concerto for Horn and Strings, and Alexandre Rydin's Clarinet Concerto, Maria Newman's Our Rights and Nothing Less with narrator Carmen Balthrop at the University of Maryland, and three new short operas for Washington National Opera's American Opera Initiative in 2021. 


Neely is in demand as a teacher. He is currently Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Maryland School of Music. He previously served on the conducting faculties of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, the University of Kansas, and the University of Texas. The Kansas Federation of Music Clubs named him Kansas Artist-Educator of the Year for 2016-17. He teaches conducting for Washington National Opera's Cafritz Young Artist Program. 


Neely holds degrees in Piano Performance and Orchestral Conducting from Indiana University, where his teachers were Zadel Skolovsky and Leonard Hokanson (piano), and Thomas Baldner and Bryan Balkwill (conducting). Post He also studied orchestral conducting with Gerhard Samuel at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he was the first student to conduct performances of opera.