Dr Martin Pickard

Dr Martin Pickard


I am a conductor, pianist and repetiteur. I am a member of the music staff of Opera North and from 2008–2015 was the company's Head of Music.

After graduating in Modern and Medieval Languages from Cambridge University, where I was Organ Scholar of Corpus Christi College, I studied conducting and piano at the Royal College of Music. My professional career began in Germany at the opera houses of Kiel and Nuremberg. I joined Opera North in 1989 and have conducted around 30 productions for the company including The Marriage of Figaro, Macbeth, Rigoletto, Carmen, Boris Godunov, Eugene Onegin, La Bohème, Madama Butterfly, Der Rosenkavalier, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Peter Grimes.

I have also worked at English National Opera, with Théatre de Complicité at the National Theatre and at festivals in Buxton, Bregenz and Perth (Western Australia). In 2003 I was invited to assist on the first ever Glyndebourne Festival production of Tristan und Isolde.

After that I returned regularly to Glyndebourne as a Senior Coach and in 2005 made my Glyndebourne Festival debut conducting The Bartered Bride. I was closely involved in the planning and preparation of Opera North's production of Der Ring des Nibelungen (2016) and I am currently working with Vladimir Jurowski on the London Philharmonic Orchestra's Ring cycle. I am a Visiting Tutor in the Vocal department of the Royal Northern College of Music. Conducting engagements abroad have included Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Tiroler Landestheater in Innsbruck and operas by Donizetti and Chabrier at the Les Azuriales Festival in Cap Ferrat, France. I have appeared in concert with orchestras including Royal Northern Sinfonia, Bochumer Symphoniker and Matav Symphony Orchestra (Budapest). 

My translations of Russian operas have been performed by ENO and Opera North. In 2012 I was awarded a PhD by the University of Leeds for my research into early nineteenth-century German opera.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Student education

Together with colleagues from the Schools of Music and Performance and Cultural Industries I teach a module about Opera in Practice. I encourage mutual understanding between the School of Music and Opera North, for example facilitating rehearsal visits for students.