Charles Barker has conducted orchestras worldwide including the Royal Philharmonic, Paris Opéra Orchestra, Danish Radio Symphony, La Orquestra Filarmonica de Buenos Aires, Adelaide Symphony, Columbus Symphony, and the Pacific Symphony. He is currently principal conductor of American Ballet Theatre (since 1987), music director for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (since 2007) and a regular guest conductor for San Francisco Ballet and Houston Ballet. In addition to his work with ABT, he was music director of the Australian Ballet from 1997 to 2001 when he joined the Royal Ballet in London until 2003. Barker served as music director of the Kansas City Ballet from 1985 to 1987. From 1995 to 1998 he was a member of the Barnard-Columbia Ancient Drama Group which presents Greek and Latin drama in the original language. In addition to being a cast member, Mr Barker wrote music for The Bacchae, Hippolytus and Heracles.
Barker was music director and conductor of the American Chamber Orchestra from 1981 to 1987. In February 1983 he made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the ACO, and in November 1983 performed A Tribute to Aaron Copland at Carnegie Hall in honour of the composer’s 83rd birthday. In 1985, he was music director for Aaron Copland’s rarely performed opera The Second Hurricane which played to critical acclaim at the New Federal Theatre in New York. He has conducted numerous film and television features for dance including Dance in America, a PBS special presentation on the works of Antony Tudor; the BBC in England; TV Asahi in Japan and the ABC in Australia.
Martin West is acknowledged as one of the foremost conductors of ballet, garnering critical acclaim throughout the world. Born in Bolton, England, he studied math at St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge University, before studying at the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music and London’s Royal Academy of Music.
In fall 2005, West joined San Francisco Ballet as music director having been a frequent guest since his debut two years earlier He was previously principal conductor of English National Ballet and has worked with many of the top companies in North America such as New York City Ballet, Houston Ballet, and The National Ballet of Canada as well as The Royal Ballet in England.
West has worked with the Hallé Orchestra, Holland Symfonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and Odense Symphony Orchestra in Denmark. He made his U.S. symphonic conducting debut with Silicon Valley Symphony, resulting in an immediate re-invitation.
In his ten years as music director he has been credited with raising the standard and profile of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra to new levels and has made a number of critically acclaimed recordings with them, including the complete scores of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, excerpts from Delibes’ Coppélia and Sylvia, and a CD of Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky cello music. He and the Orchestra have also made many world premiere recordings, including music by composers such as Bizet, Moszkowski, Shinji Eshima, C.F.Kip Winger, and Maury Yeston whose full-length ballet Tom Sawyer was recorded in 2013. In addition, he conducted on the award-winning DVD of John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid as well as Helgi Tomasson’s productions of Nutcracker for PBS and Romeo & Juliet for Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance.