Adam Szabo

Q. First Name:
R. Adam

Q. Last Name
R. Szabo

Q. When did you join SYO?
R. I reckon around 2005… not sure though! My first project was The Rite of Spring with Tom Woods.

Q. What instruments did you play in SYO?
R. Cello

Q. What is your favourite memory of SYO
R. Probably those first programmes… Sacre, La Mer, Mahler 5. Working with Tom Woods and then Ron Prussing who shared their love of this great repertoire with the students.

Q. What role does music play in your life?
R. Following an early career as a professional cellist, I currently run an ensemble called Manchester Collective in the UK, and will take up the directorship of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in February 2024.

Q. What is your favourite musical repertoire from the SYO performances?
R. Mahler 5.

Q. What advice would you give young musicians today?
R. The musical world of the future will look very different to the sector of the 20th century. A great technique is the absolute foundation of a life in classical music, but it is not enough. Keep an open mind as to what your life in music could look like, and keep learning and developing new skills (improvisation, different performance practices, new music, collaboration, etc). You really never know where you might end up.

Adam Szabo is the Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Manchester Collective, the organisation he co-founded with violinist Rakhi Singh in 2016.

The Collective’s vision is to reshape the future of classical music by creating radical artistic work from their base in the north of England. Renowned for their experimental programming, daring collaborations and engaging performances, Manchester Collective has expanded at breakneck speed since their formation. They play in concert halls, warehouses and at festivals around the world, performing a combination of cutting-edge contemporary music, classical masterpieces, and staged work to a hungry, new audience.

Notable projects include Sirocco and The Oracle with South African cellist Abel Selaocoe, acclaimed performances at the BBC Proms in 2021 and 2023, a full-scale production of Benjamin Britten’s much-loved community opera, Noah’s Flood, as part of LEEDS 2023 and Manchester International Festival 2023, and a multimedia performance of Michael Gordon’s ‘Weather’ with an installation by sound recordist Chris Watson. 

The work of the Collective has been recognised at the highest level – most recently by the Royal Philharmonic Society, who named them ‘Best Ensemble’ in 2023, and by Arts Council England, who welcomed the Collective into their 2023-2026 National Portfolio. They are resident artists at Southbank Centre, London, and record for the Icelandic label Bedroom Community.

Prior to his work with the Collective, Adam enjoyed a busy and varied career as an orchestral cellist. In this capacity, he worked with many of the finest orchestras in the UK – amongst them, the BBC Philharmonic.

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