Born in Jamaica, with Russian ancestry, Andrew Gourlay grew up in the Bahamas, Philippines, Japan and England. A trombonist and pianist by training, he studied conducting at the Royal College of Music, where he prepared Bruckner symphonies for Bernard Haitink and Mozart symphonies for Sir Roger Norrington. He was selected by Gramophone magazine as their ‘One to Watch’, and by BBC Music Magazine as their ‘Rising Star: great artists of tomorrow’.
Andrew Gourlay took up the position of Music Director of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Castilla y León in Valladolid in January 2016, where he has been Principal Guest Conductor since the 2014/15 season. He won First Prize at the 2010 Cadaques International Conducting Competition, securing concerts with 29 orchestras around the world. For the next two years he was Assistant Conductor to Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra.
Recent and future guest engagements include conducting the Philharmonia, the BBC orchestras, RLPO, Hallé, CBSO, Opera North, RTÉ Symphony, Ulster Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony, Auckland Philharmonia, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Stavanger Symphony, Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, Orquesta Sinfonica de Chile, orchestras throughout Spain and the London Sinfonietta at the BBC Proms.
Operatic engagements have included the UK premiere of Luca Francesoni’s Quartett for the Royal Opera House. He has conducted Rusalka and La Tragédie de Carmen for English Touring Opera, and The Marriage of Figaro at the Benjamin Britten International Opera School. He has worked as Assistant Conductor for Glyndebourne Festival Opera. In 2015 he conducted Tippett’s The Ice Break to great critical acclaim in a new production by Graham Vick for Birmingham Opera Company and the CBSO.
Andrew Gourlay has conducted recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and BBC National Orchestra of Wales. A professional trombonist until his mid twenties, he played with the Philharmonia, Hallé, BBC Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, London Sinfonietta and Opera North, and toured South America and Europe as a member of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester under Claudio Abbado.
“Andrew Gourlay is a star in the ascendant. He scraped off the crust of over-familiarity from Tchaikovsky’s score with the briskness of a man brushing frost from his car windscreen.
Gourlay conducted with the lightest of touches that paradoxically revealed Nutcracker’s kernel of darkness.” The Guardian
“This conductor alternates sweetness and tension; ebbing and flowing whilst maintaining a beautiful precision within the musical line… what an amazing roller-coaster ride! Let’s rejoice: Andrew Gourlay will be returning in January.” Sud Ouest, France
“The great formal arc of the long, lamenting first movement was expertly realised, the splenetic terseness of the tiny scherzo (an alleged denunciation of Stalin) all one would hope for, and the encrypted narrative structure offered itself vividly to the imagination.” The Sunday Times