Remembering Andrew Greenwood

18 January 2021

It is with immeasurable sadness that, following a short illness, we must bid goodnight and farewell to a dear friend and colleague - Andrew Greenwood. For more than four decades Andrew had been an integral part of the United Kingdom's opera scene, from supporting and guiding young musicians, conducting leading artists and orchestras to programming performances for some of the UK's leading companies and festivals. We feel extremely lucky that many of these years were spent making music together here at Welsh National Opera.

Born in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, Andrew took to the rostrum for the very first time at Manchester Grammar School, conducting Rhapsody in Blue. He went on to study music at Clare College, Cambridge in 1972 and then spent some time working at the London Opera Centre and Opera For All before joining the Music Staff of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden from 1977 until 1984.

Andrew was a very special musician who was involved with Welsh National Opera for many years. In 1984 he joined the Company as Chorus Master, a post he held until 1990. He helped to shape many a landmark season with WNO in roles including Chorus Master, Conductor and Assistant Conductor, Pianist and Vocal Coach. Over the subsequent years, he conducted at least 125 performances for the Company in a wide variety of repertoire, which was indicative of his range as a musician.

Andrew combined the seriousness of his musicianship with a sunny disposition and wry sense of humour, which made him the perfect colleague. After we both left WNO, we met up again when we collaborated on three productions at Buxton Festival, and I was personally delighted when he was chosen to succeed me at Buxton as Artistic Director. He will be greatly missed by everyone in the UK opera world

Aidan Lang, General Director

It was a complete privilege for us to have worked with Andrew and to have known the man as well as the colleague. A hugely trusted conductor of many productions and concerts over the past 40 years, Andrew’s artistic influence within the Company whether leading and directing or supporting others was always palpable.

In recent years he helped us greatly during an interim period as Chorus Master, the role he held with distinction in the 1980s; then just a young man with so much ahead of him. To come back on many occasions, and to be part of helping everyone to do their best, set him so naturally in the role of a mentor, always so generous, authoritative, and funny! He will be missed by all his colleagues in this part of our Company; his close friends in the Music Staff, the Chorus, the Orchestra, the Music Library and all our Departmental Management. Many will certainly count him as having been a very dear friend.

Peter Harrap, Chorus and Orchestra Director

Away from Welsh National Opera, he worked with Chelsea Opera Group, Oper Köln, New National Theatre, Tokyo, Wexford Opera and had a highly successful period with the Royal Danish Opera. From 1996 to 2002 he was Music Director of English Touring Opera and in 2006 he joined Buxton Festival as Artistic Director. During his six years at the helm, he conducted Maria di Rohan, Mignon, Luisa Miller and an award-winning production of Roberto Devereux.

Andrew will be greatly missed by his many close friends and colleagues here at Welsh National Opera and remembered fondly by all who had the privilege of knowing and working him. Our thoughts and wishes are with his family.