The Northern Baroque Orchestra has both regular and guest conductors. Our regular conductors each conduct one concert per year, while guest conductors are asked to conduct individual concerts.
Michael Dow: regular conductor (summer concerts), 2004-present
Michael read music at Christ’s College, Cambridge. He held a choral scholarship during this time, regularly appearing as a bass soloist, and took part in several overseas concert tours, recordings and broadcasts. He was Principal Conductor of the Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra for three years and directed several Cambridge University shows. He was then appointed as Assistant Director of Music at Caterham School, Surrey where he conducted a range of orchestras and choirs both inside and outside school. Whilst at Caterham he directed performances of a number of large-scale choral works.
In September 2001 Michael became a music teacher at Chetham’s School of Music, where his conducting work again centred largely on choral repertoire. In 2003 he took up the post of Musical Director of Rochdale Youth Orchestra. He has subsequently further pursued his interest in conducting with various freelance concerts, including several appearances with the Northern Baroque Orchestra since June 2004 and regular work with the choir of St. James and Emmanuel, Didsbury.
Michael was appointed as Director of Music at Stockport Grammar School from September 2005. He has also overseen the recording and production of the school’s inaugural CD featuring leading ensembles within the school and undertaken broadcasts on BBC radio with the school chamber choir. Michael was Musical Director of Marple Choral Society for several years, was recently appointed as Director of Music at St. Mary’s Church, Bowden and also sings regularly as a bass for the BBC Daily Service Singers.
Simon Robertshaw: former regular conductor (winter concerts), 2006-2014
Simon Robertshaw was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1971. He learnt to play the violin at the age of 6 in Nairobi, Kenya and upon returning to the UK was a member of the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, the Gustav Mahler Jugend Orchester of Vienna, and a regional finalist in the Young Musician of the Year in 1987.
He graduated from the RNCM in 1992 having studied with Lydia Mordkovitch, and joined the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra for four years, returning to complete his postgraduate studies at the Vienna Conservatoire studying under Prof. Florian Zwiauer, leader of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. This followed with a period of trials with British orchestras, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and The Hallé, eventually becoming a member of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in 2002.
Having a passion for both film and music, he retrained at the BBC and became a PSC (news) cameraman for six months for the regional news and current affairs programme, North West Tonight, on a BBC placement in 2010. As part of his remit he now directs multi cameras for the Philharmonic and has made many films for them, including one that was broadcast on national television during a live Prom at the Albert Hall in July 2011.
In February 2015, Simon was invited to participate in an international conducting masterclass at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, conducting Mahler’s Symphony no. 1 and Mozart’s Serenade in C minor, and will conduct the Blackburn Symphony Orchestra for their concert in autumn 2015.
Paul Witkiewicz: guest conductor (winter 2011, winter 2015, winter 2017, spring 2019)
Paul began to study conducting at the age of thirteen under the guidance of his piano teacher Michael Ward. His talent was soon recognised and within eighteen months he was invited to work with the Orchestra of the Mill under the guidance of Adrian Leaper. His studies continued under George Hurst, Robert Houlihan, Jonathon Tilbrook and Adrian Brown. Paul has conducted various orchestras and choirs around the country and also in France, Belgium, Italy and the Czech Republic.
n 1999 he won the British Reserve Insurance Conducting Prize in London and has also been awarded the Salveson Baton from the National Association of Youth Orchestras. His love of working with Youth Orchestras continues today and he has been Musical Director of the Trafford Youth Philharmonic Orchestra since May 2000.
Paul has been a member of Bolton Symphony Orchestra since 1998 and can normally be seen in the 1st Violin Section. He first conducted the orchestra in 2001 and has been their librarian since 2002. More recently he conducted them in an all Britten Programme that included the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Sinfonia da Requiem and The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. In 2016 he will be conducting them in a concert that will include Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 5 in D minor.
In October 2012 Paul was asked to become Music Director of the Parkside Colliery Male Voice Choir. Since taking on the role he has introduced new repertoire and refreshed the old! Together they have given many concerts around the North-West but a recent highlight was to perform with the Pemberton Old Wigan Band in front of 20,000 Wigan Warriors fans before they played the Brisbane Broncos at the DW Stadium.
Paul has worked with various ensembles around the North-West including Chester Philharmonic, Wilmslow Symphony Orchestra and Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra. He has also ventured into the world of Opera and from 2008 to 2012 he was Musical Director of Opera 74 in Bolton. With the company he has conducted performances of Verdi’s La Traviata, Bizet’s Pearl Fishers and Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love. He returned to conduct them in 2014 in a staging of Bizet’s Carmen to celebrate the group’s 40th anniversary.
Adam Kornas: guest conductor (winter 2016)
Adam began studying Violin at Chetham's School of Music before receiving first class honours for his undergraduate degree in Composition at the Royal College of Music, London. Adam recently graduated from his Masters degree in Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) with a first for Performance as well as the Robert Newwit Prize for conducting.
Apart from orchestral and operatic projects within RNCM, Adam conducted Sir Harrison Birtwhistle's Upon All The Notes in the Wigmore Hall, the Stockport Symphony Orchestra in Stockport Town Hall, and the Manchester Camerata in their Chester Music Festival.
As a composer Adam has written works for the Archos String Quartet, the Liverpool Mozart Orchestra, and two one-act ballets for KSDance. He is about to embark upon writing his first violin concerto. Most recently Adam has been gaining conducting experience with orchestras in the North West, including Chester Philharmonic, Crosby Symphony and Liverpool Mozart Orchestra.