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Cardiff University Orchestra conductor Mark Eager steps down

21 July 2022

Image of Mark Eager with baton in hand

After 14 years of directing Cardiff University Symphony Orchestra (CUSO), Mark Eager is stepping down as the ensemble’s conductor.

Since 2008, Mark has shaped the Orchestra into one of the most successful ensembles of its kind. From regular performances in prestigious venues across Wales to producing 4 acclaimed CD recordings, and undertaking international tours to Europe and China, CUSO has flourished under Mark’s baton.

Thanks to his thorough rehearsals, wide knowledge of the repertoire, and keen attention to detail, students have performed major works such as Walton’s  Belshazzar’s Feast, Elgar’s Spirit of England, Beethoven’s 9th, Tchaikovsky’s 6th and several Mahler Symphonies in venues such as Hoddinott Hall, St David’s Hall, Llandaff Cathedral and St David’s Cathedral.
The Orchestra was also privileged to perform two Debussy world premieres, as well as a Jolivet UK premiere. That concert was part of the Philharmonia’s City of Light: Paris 1900-1950 festival in Cardiff during 2016. CUSO’s involvement culminated in a realisation of Debussy sketches on the CD ‘City of Light: New Discoveries’ (Prima Facie), which received a 4* review by Geoff Brown in The Times.

Other acclaimed CD recordings produced by the orchestra included Michael Csanyi-Wills’ Symphony No. 1, which was specifically written for the ensemble, and works by Liszt and Robert Fokkens. Mark has been pivotal in devising and realising these innovative programmes.

Image of Mark Eager conducting

As well as enjoying success at home, the Orchestra has been involved in 3 international tours. The first two saw a rapturous reception in numerous venues in Germany, such as Baden Baden, Wiesbaden Kurhaus and Heidelberg.

The most recent tour to Xiamen University in China strengthened the relationship between Cardiff and Xiamen, and delivered unforgettable cultural and artistic experiences to the participants.

Professor Kenneth Hamilton, Head of School, said: "The School of Music owes a lot to Mark Eager. His energy, talent and vision have been fundamental in establishing our Symphony Orchestra as one of the leading ensembles of its type. Not many student orchestras can point to a series of well-reviewed recordings of rare repertoire by both contemporary and historical composers—including several world premieres—nor to an enterprising schedule of successful international tours. I have collaborated with Mark and the orchestra in many piano concerto performances and have always been impressed by his careful and detailed rehearsals, his striking musicality, and his complete command of the score."

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