David Cowan, Head of Music at Opera North, was Head of Music and Casting Director in Theater Basel, Switzerland, until Summer 2015. In his time there, Theater Basel twice won the prize “Opera House of the Year” in German-speaking countries, given for its high musical and production standards.
David studied at Cambridge University, at the Guildhall in London and in Winterthur, Switzerland. He worked for nine years as vocal coach at the Hochschule Mozarteum in Salzburg. He was Head of Music Studies at the Badisches Staatstheater in Karlsruhe, then Musical Director of the Opera Studio of the Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg, France. He also worked at the Salzburg International Music Festival in opera productions under renowned conductors such as Heinz Holliger and Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
He has conducted a varied repertoire of opera and operetta, including Die Zauberflöte, Zaide, L’Histoire du soldat, Carmen, Purcell’s Indian Queen and Dido and Aeneas, Britten’s Rape of Lucretia, stage works by Haydn, Krenek, Strauss, Lehar, Martinů, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, as well as the musicals Hair and Fame.
He has also worked as guest coach and conductor in the Opera Houses of Lyon, Strasbourg, Palermo, Lisbon, Genoa, and Dublin, and has been employed as a teacher and coach by the music colleges and conservatoires of Karlsruhe, Munich, Zürich, Basel and Strasbourg, as well as at the American International Music School in Graz.
He has performed as accompanist in recitals with many singers, including Simon Keenlyside and Dame Kiri te Kanawa.