Kevin Purcell is one of Australia’s most distinguished and awarded orchestral and Opera conductors. Currently, Kevin serves as principal conductor for the Australian Discovery Orchestra whilst maintaining an active freelance career in the USA. He is represented worldwide by Francine Fletcher at Fletcher Associates media management company in London, UK.
He originally studied conducting at the Moscow Conservatory with Gennady Rozhdestvensky (1992), with subsequent graduate conducting studies at the Janácek Academy of Music (JAMU) with Otakar Trhlík, culminating with a Masters degree in orchestral conducting at Bard College (NY) under the late Harold Farberman. Additionally, Kevin studied Opera conducting with British conductor and Glyndebourne music director, Myer Fredman.
Awards include: Opera Australia Willem van Otterloo Scholarship (1993); Bellhouse Conducting Prize (Sydney, 1993); Australian Music Foundation in London Sir Charles Mackerras Prize (1995) and Tait Memorial Trust Award (London, U.K.,1996).
A new record of the music of Nan Schwartz, 5-time Grammy nominee and Grammy Award winner, and 7-time Emmy nominated composer was released in March 2018 on the Divine Art Recording Group label to unanimous acclaim industry-wide with independent critical reviews received from BBC Music Magazine, Fanfare and American Record Guide amongst others.
Kevin has recently completed work on a new album entitled 16 STORIES showcasing the upcoming generation of ASCAP musical theatre songwriters, recorded by the Australian Discovery Orchestra, for worldwide release mid-year in 2021 on Broadway Records™.
In Europe, Kevin has conducted Ensemble Intercontemporain at the Paris Conservatory, Hradec Králove Filharmonie, Beethoven Chamber Orchestra, Königsgrätz Philharmonic, West Bohemia Symphony Orchestra, Georgian State Television and Radio Orchestra, Dinu Lipatti Philarmonic and the Silesian State Opera amongst others.
Drawn to contemporary musical theatre whilst living in London, Kevin’s introduction to West End theatre came courtesy of Cameron Mackintosh and the Really Useful Group when invited to take over musical direction of the long-running production of CATS at the New London Theatre in the mid-90s. In July 2003 Kevin renewed his association for RUG as musical director for the South Korean premiere of this show. More recently Kevin has conducted WICKED at London’s Apollo Victoria theatre and was the original musical director for the first national UK/Eire tour in 2013.
An award-winning musical theatre composer and arranger in his own right, Kevin is much sought after for his American Songbook orchestrations. His arrangements have been performed by leading orchestras including the National Symphony Orchestra (Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), New York City Opera, New York Pops, Boston Pops and by artists including, Marvin Hamlisch, Stephen Schwartz, Kristin Chenoweth, Liz and Ann Hampton Callaway, Raúl Esparza, Victor Garber, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, and numerous other A-list Broadway artists.
His musical, The Stranger from Seville, with book and lyrics by British screenwriter Victor Kazan, received rave reviews in its first limited season Off-Broadway production in July 2014. It was similarly selected for the 2018 Florida Festival of New Musicals at the WinterPark Playhouse, Orlando (Aug. 23-16) followed by a major industry workshop in New York. The musical is currently being revised for recording in 2021.
He divides his time between New York and Melbourne.