A celebrated conductor of orchestra and operatic repertoire, Sian has been Head of Conducting at the Academy since 2013

Sian Edwards studied with Sir Charles Groves, Timothy Reynish and Norman Del Mar before becoming a pupil of the legendary Prof I.A. Musin at the Leningrad Conservatoire.

Winning the first Leeds Conductors’ Competition in 1984 led to invitations to work with the CBSO, RSNO, Scottish Opera, Glyndebourne and the Royal Opera, where she made her debut conducting Tippett’s The Knot Garden in 1988. She subsequently conducted Rigoletto and Madame Butterfly there, as well as performances for the Linbury Theatre. She has also frequently worked abroad, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, St Petersburg Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Munich Radio Symphony and the Turku and Tampere orchestras in Finland.

Always interested in new music, Sian has conducted many world premieres, including Mark Anthony Turnage’s operas Greek and Coraline; Through His Teeth by Luke Bedford and Judith Weir’s Blond Eckbert, which was staged at ENO in 1994 when Sian Edwards was Music Director there. After leaving ENO she continued her freelance career both in the UK and abroad, conducting many performances particularly in Frankfurt - including Peter Grimes, Ernest Bloch’s Macbeth, Queen of Spades and Ades’ Tempest for Oper Frankfurt, and projects with the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra and Ensemble Modern. Other projects include The Death of Klinghoffer with Finnish National Opera and concerts with MusikFabrik Koln and the London Sinfonietta. She has also appeared several times in Vienna, with the Theater an der Wien, performing Andre Previn’s Streetcar Named Desire, Dead Man Walking by Jake Heggie, Britten’s Rape of Lucretia and the Peter Konwitschny production of La Traviata, and in concerts with the ORF Radio Orchestra and Klangforum Wien.

More recently she has worked with Scottish Opera on productions of The Rake’s Progress and Bluebeard’s Castle, and has conducted Katya Kabanova for Opera North and Opera Holland Park, where she also conducted Olivia Fuchs’ acclaimed production of Tchaikowsky’s Iolanta. She returned to English National Opera for a new production of Orpheus in the Underworld in October 2019, and will be conducting Aida for the Royal Swedish Opera in 2021.

In 2013 Sian Edwards was appointed Head of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, where she directs the very successful Masters course, as well as the Sorrell Women’s Conducting Programme. In July 2018 the Academy awarded her an Honorary Fellowship.

Image (c) Katie Vandyck