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D A V I D  N E E L Y

Born in Dayton, Ohio, conductor David Neely has been described by Opera News as "a ninja warrior with a baton” (Opera News). He maintains an active career in symphonic, opera, ballet, and educational settings.  


As Music Director and Principal Conductor of Des Moines Metro Opera, a position he has held since 2012, Neely has elevated the company’s musical profile and developed one of the nation’s finest opera orchestras. He has led critically-acclaimed performances of a broad range of new and traditional repertoire that includes the recent world premiere of Kristin Kuster and Mark Campbell’s A Thousand Acres, the in-person premiere of Damien Geter and Lila Palmer’s American Apollo, regional Emmy award-winning productions of Manon and Billy Budd for Iowa Public Television, and approximately 30 other works including Wozzeck, Pikovaya Dama, Yevkeny Onegin, Rusalka, Jenůfa, Falstaff, Elektra, Peter Grimes, Dead Man Walking, Flight, Macbeth, Don Giovanni, Candide, La Fanciulla Del West, Turandot, and most recently Bluebeard’s Castle and The Love for Three Oranges. He has led productions with Atlanta Opera, Sarasota Opera, Intermountain Opera, and numerous European opera houses including Bonn and Dortmund. His performances have been praised in Opera News, Opera Today, Opernwelt, the Chicago Tribune, and the Wall Street Journal.

Neely has led concerts with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Portland Symphony Orchestra, Dortmund Philharmonic, Bochumer Philharmoniker, Eutin Festival Orchestra, Bregenz Symphony Orchestra, and is a regular conductor with the D.C. area’s Apollo Orchestra. He has led ballets with Dortmund Opera and the Indiana University Ballet Theater.


Neely is also Director of Orchestras at the University of Maryland School of Music, where recent highlights include Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Emilie Mayer’s Symphony in F minor, Valerie Coleman’s Umoja, Carlos Simon’s The Block, Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5, Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, and world premieres of Erich Stem’s Kayak and Maria Newman’s Our Rights and Nothing Less. He is a regular guest conductor and guest conducting teacher at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he previously served on faculty and most recently conducted Osvaldo Golijov’s operatic masterwork, Ainadamar.

Concerto soloists with whom he has collaborated include Roberto Diaz, Hai-Ye Ni, Ricardo Morales, David Chan, Rainer Honeck, Nicholas Daniel, Joshua Roman, Eric Kutz, Bella Hristova, Benjamin Beilman, Delfeayo Marsalis, Ben Lulich, and Phillipe Cuper. He has appeared as a collaborative pianist with numerous vocalists, including a recent recital with Joyce Castle and Schubert’s Winterreise with David Adam Moore. He has served as a guest teacher with Washington National Opera’s Cafritz Young Artist program, and was the conductor for Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative in 2021. He recently appeared with the American Lyric Theater in New York and with the National Orchestra Institute + Festival.

Neely serves on the Artistic and Awards Committee of the Solti Founation U.S., supporting the careers of young conductors entering the professional sphere. 

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