Born in Freiburg, Germany (1983), David Afkham is Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Orquestra y Coro Nacional de España since September 2019, following a highly successful tenure as the orchestra’s Principal Conductor since 2014. His work with the OCNE so far has featured critically acclaimed performances of Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder, Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, Bruckner Symphony No. 9, Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, Brahms’ Requiem, Haydn’s Die Schöpfung, as well as several world premieres and semi-staged projects with Wagner’s Die fliegende Holländer, Strauss’ Elektra, Bach’s St. Mathew Passion and Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle.
David Afkham began piano and violin lessons at the age of six in his native Freiburg. At 15, he entered the city’s University of Music to pursue studies in piano, music theory and conducting and continued his studies at the Liszt School of Music in Weimar. David Afkham was the first recipient of the ‘Bernard Haitink Fund for Young Talent’ and assisted Maestro Bernard Haitink in a number of major projects including symphony cycles with the Chicago Symphony, Concertgebouworkest and London Symphony Orchestra. He was the winner of the 2008 Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in London, and was the inaugural recipient of the ‘Nestle and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award’ in 2010. He and was Assistant Conductor of the Gustav Mahler Jungendorchester 2009-2012.
David Afkham is in high demand as a guest conductor with some of the world’s finest orchestras and opera houses, and has established a reputation as one of the most sought after conductors to emerge from Germany in recent years. Highlights for the 21-22 season as a guest conductor include engagements with the Minnesota and Pittsburgh Symphony orchestras in the USA and engagements with the BBC Scottish and Vienna Symphony orchestras in Europe.