English Touring Opera is delighted to announce the appointment of Gerry Cornelius as the company’s new Music Director. Born of Irish & Sri Lankan parentage and raised in south-east London, Gerry Cornelius has conducted many of the country’s leading orchestras, opera and ballet companies. In addition to English Touring Opera, Cornelius has also conducted English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, English National Ballet, Hallé Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra and London Sinfonietta.


Cornelius will work closely with English Touring Opera’s Director, James Conway. English Touring Opera is currently establishing a new Music Advisory Panel, to ensure that a diverse range of musical influences and opinions will guide decision making. New appointments to the Music Advisory Panel will be announced in the coming weeks.  

For English Touring Opera, Cornelius recently conducted Verdi’s Macbeth (2019). Other notable acclaimed productions include Tansy Davies’s Between Worlds for ENO, Catherine Kontz’s Neige in Luxemburg and the British premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s American Lulu for The Opera Group, Scottish Opera Orchestra and London Sinfonietta. 

Alongside his new role with English Touring Opera, Cornelius is the Principal Guest Conductor of English National Ballet with whom he has recently conducted Pina Bausch’s Le Sacre du printemps, Akram Khan’s Giselle in Dublin, Luxembourg and at the Bolshoi in Moscow, and The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Romeo & Juliet for ENB’s London season and national and international tours. 

On his appointment Gerry Cornelius said

I am hugely honoured and excited to be taking up the role of Music Director with ETO and joining such a vibrant company of artists, producers, technicians and opera lovers.  Mindful of my distinguished predecessors, the artistic excellence of the company but also of the devastating time we have been through, I cannot wait to fully immerse myself in the company’s culture and join its plans to burst back to making live performances of great opera and theatre across the country as soon as possible. Having already relished the fact that I live close to the company’s iconic London venue at Hackney Empire, I am now even more keen to get out of lockdown so that I can also visit ETO’s new home at Mountview in Peckham, very close to where I went to school and spent [or wasted] a lot of my time as a youngster.

English Touring Opera Director, James Conway said

I am very happy to be collaborating with Gerry, whose work and character I have long admired, at a time that is full of possibilities for English Touring Opera.

Gerry Cornelius begins this role with immediate effect and will conduct English Touring Opera’s production of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel in the company’s Spring 2022 season.