The French conductor Diego Masson studied at the Paris Conservatoire and on completing his studies became percussionist in Domaine Musicale. In 1966, following a period of study with Pierre Boulez, he formed Musique Vivante which became famous for its regular concerts presenting important contemporary works.
After considerable success as Music Director of the Marseille Opera in the 1970s Diego Masson went on to pursue an international conducting career which has taken him to the major musical centres of Europe, Scandinavia and the Antipodes.
A regular visitor to the UK, Masson has appeared with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Hallé Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, English Northern Philharmonic, Nash Ensemble, Opera Factory and Opera North with whom he gave the première of Robert Saxton's opera Caritas. He enjoyed a great success with Scottish Opera conducting Monster, the first opera by Sally Beamish. He has appeared regularly with the Philharmonia Orchestra at the South Bank Centre and Huddersfield Festival.
Diego Masson's engagements in Europe have included appearances with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de Radio France, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Avanti Chamber Orchestra in Helsinki, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Residentie Orchestra, BIT20 Ensemble Norway and Barcelona Ensemble 216.
Diego Masson has a very long-standing and regular relationship with London Sinfonietta as well as regularly appearing with the world’s leading contemporary ensembles including Ensemble Modern, Musik Fabrik, Ensemble Alternance, Klangforum Wien, Composers Ensemble and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.
Recent seasons have included a concert at the Musik-Biennale in Berlin with Ensemble Modern, concert performances of Mark Anthony Turnage’s Greek at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and a tour of the UK with the London Sinfonietta. He has toured the UK with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group including a performance at the Aldeburgh Festival. Concerts with the Nash Ensemble have included a tour of Spain, a concert as part of the Poulenc Anniversary celebrations at London's Wigmore Hall as well as performances of Berio’s Folksongs with Dawn Upshaw at the Barbican Centre and Symphony Hall, Birmingham.
Other recent highlights have included appearances at the Wien Modern Festival, WDR Cologne, Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, a performance of Schoenberg Gurrelieder at the Festival Hall, the Bath Festival and concerts in Scandinavia with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. He has toured Japan with the Xenakis Ensemble and has also given concerts in Gothenberg, Argentina and at the BBC Proms with the London Sinfonietta. Most recently he conducted the UK premiere of Luigi Nono’s massive and complex Prometeo, the climax of the Southbank Centre’s Luigi Nono ‘Fragments of Venice’ Festival.
Diego Masson works regularly in Asia and Australasia; and has conducted the Melbourne and Sydney Symphony Orchestras. In 1998 he appeared at the New Zealand Festival and returned to New Zealand in 1999 to conduct a very successful series of concerts with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. He returned to Australia at the beginning of 2003 to conduct Gurrelieder at the Perth International Arts Festival. Most recently he had a great success conducting the Australian Youth Orchestra at the 2006 Adelaide Festival in performances of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde.
In the summer of 2000 he conducted much acclaimed performances of John Casken's Golem at the Aspen Festival which resulted in an immediate invitation to return to the festival in 2002 to conduct Gloria by H K Gruber.
Recent engagements have included concerts with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Ensemble Accroche Note, Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Ireland and tours to Singapore, Italy and the United States with the London Sinfonietta. Future engagements include a performance at the Brbican Hall with the Guildhall New Music Ensemble and at the 2009 BBC Proms with the London Sinfonietta.
Diego Masson has many strong relationships with youth orchestras including the Australian Youth Orchestra, the orchestras of Trinity College of Music, Royal Northern College of Music, Juilliard School and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Diego Masson has for many years held regular conducting classes at the Dartington International Summer School.
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Credit: Katie Vandyck