Alexander Joel, Conductor


Alexander Joel is renowned for the integrity of his approach to a varied range of operatic and symphonic repertoire. He draws uncommon depth of sound and colour from orchestras and inspires them to achieve freedom within the context of the particular musical architectural. His abilities have led to regular guest appearances with distinguished ensembles around Europe, including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Recent engagements have taken Joel to the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra ORF, Staatsoper Hamburg, Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Malmö Opera, Theatre Luxembourg and De Vlaamse Opera. For the 2020/21 Season he was engaged to conduct new productions of Macbeth at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, of Die Zauberflöte at the Israel Opera and of Faust at Welsh National Opera. At the Vienna Volksoper, he conducted productions of The Flying Dutchman, Hänsel und Gretel, The Merry Widow and Die Fledermaus, among others.

In 2019/20 Season Alexander made debuts at Bravo! Vail with the New York Philharmonic, at Welsh National Opera with Rigoletto, and with the Hallé orchestra in Manchester with Mahler’s Symphony No 1 and Korngold’s Violin Concerto. He also conducted a New Year’s Eve performance of Die Fledermaus at the Brucknerhaus in Linz, returned to English National Opera with a new production of Luisa Miller and in Sweden conducted performances of Carmen (Royal Opera) and Tosca (Malmö Opera). Before Covid-19 struck, he was engaged to conduct new productions at the Komische Oper Berlin and at the Staatstheater Wiesbaden.

On the concert platform, Alexander is a regular guest with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the WDR Rundfunkorchester, Duisburger Philharmoniker, Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Montpellier, Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano, BBC Philharmonic and Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra ORF. He recently made his debut with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

Alexander started his career with various staff conducting positions including First Kapellmeister at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein. From 2007-14, he held the position of Generalmusikdirektor of the Staatstheater and Staatsorchester Braunschweig where he conducted most of the symphonic and operatic repertoire, with an emphasis on Mahler, Strauss, Wagner and the Austro-German tradition. Alexander studied Law at King’s College, London and conducting at the Vienna Conservatory of Music.


Alexander Joel has a very extensive repertoire. For further information, please visit:

Concert Repertoire

Alexander Borodin

Polovitsian Dances

Anton Bruckner

Symphony No. 6 in A major
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 7

Antonin Dvorak

Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104
Carnival Ouverture, Op. 92
Symphony no. 8 in G Major, Op. 88
Symphony No. 7
Symphony No. 9

Béla Bartók

Concerto for Orchestra

César Franck

Symphony D-minor

Claude Debussy

Après-midi d'un faune

Darius Milhaud


Edvard Grieg

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
Holberg Suite op 40
Peer Gynt Suite 1
Peer Gynt Suite 2

Edward Elgar

Cello Concerto
Pomp and Circumstance
Enigma Variations

Ernst T. Amadeus Hoffmann

Undine Overture

Felix Mendelssohn

Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
Symphony no. 3 in A minor, Op. 56, 'Scottish'
Symphony no. 4 in A Major, Op. 90, 'Italian'
Symphony No. 1
Hebrides Overture

Franz Joseph Haydn

Symphony No. 104
String quartet in D minor "Fifths", op76/2, HobIII/76
Symphony No. 103

Franz Liszt

Totentanz S126
Danse Macabre

Frédéric Chopin

Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21

Friedrich Gulda

Cello Concerto

Georges Bizet

CARMEN / Suite 1
CARMEN / Suite 2
Symphony in C-Major

Giuseppe Martucci

Canzone di Ricordi

Gustav Mahler

Symphony No. 4 in G Major
Symphony No. 3
Symphony no. 2 in C Minor
Symphony No. 1 in D major - "Titan"
Symphony No. 10
Symphony No. 5

Gustav Theodore Holst

The Planets

Hector Berlioz

Overture King Lear
Sinfonie Fantastique

Jacques Offenbach

Ouverture to Orpheus in the Underworld

Johannes Brahms

Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83
Double Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor, Op. 102
Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Symphony no. 1, Op. 68 in C minor
Symphony No.2, Op.73 in D Major
Symphony No.3, Op.90 in F Major
Symphony No.4, Op.98 in E minor
Academic Fest Overture

Léo Delibes

Coppelia Suite

Ludwig van Beethoven

Romance in F Major for violin and orchestra, Op. 50
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58
Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73, "Emperor"
Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55, "Eroica"
Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60
Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68, "Pastoral"
Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92
Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93
Coriolan Ouverture, op. 62
Egmont Ouverture Op. 84
Leonore Overture No. 3
FIDELIO/ Jaquino

Max Bruch

Violin Concerto

Mikhail Glinka

Overture Ruslan and Ludmilla

Paul Dukas

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Sergej Prokofiev

Peter and the Wolf
Sinfonie Classique
Cinderella Suite

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, KV 467 "Elvira Madigan"
Sinfonia Concertante in E flat Major, KV 364 for Violin and Viola
Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, KV 466
Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major, KV 216
Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major, KV 218
Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, KV 219
Symphony no. 38 in D Major "Prague" KV 504
Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra in B flat Major, KV 191
Clarinet Concerto in A Major KV 622
Symphony No. 29 in A Major, KV 201
Entführung aus dem Serail
Piano Concerto in A Major
Piano Concerto No. 37 in B Flat Major
Symphony No. 36
Symphony No. 39
Symphony No. 40
Symphony No. 41, C Major "Jupiter"

Zoltan Kodály

Harry Janos Suite
Simon Boccanegra, Vlaamse Oper, February 2017
Dieter David Scholz, Das Orchester
Sun, 2017-02-05
"… One can without a doubt say that the new production of the Verdi opera" Simon Boccanegra "at the Vlaamse Opera is a Masterpiece ... thanks to Alexander Joel, born in 1971 and as of this season the Principle conductor of the Vlaamse opera, the performance is a musical sensation, because the former Music Director of the state theater Braunschweig once again proves that he is one of the best Verdi and Wagner conductor of his generation, and his ability to animate the Symphonic Orchestra of the Flemish Opera to such incredible differentiation in expression demands respect. His clearly analyzed, structured interpretation, aims at a dramatic and driven reading of the score, and allows the audience to grasp the late Verdi (the later Version of 1881 is being played) as a remarkably „ modern" composer, however Joel also never neglects the delicate and romantic aspects of the score. Under Joel’s direction, the technichally impeccable and luscious sounding symphony orchestra of the Flemish Opera, succeeds in playing a culture of extreme „piano“, as is rarely heard….“
Interview with Alexander Joel
Opera Magazine
Sun, 2014-06-01
The spring of 2014 ushers in a new phase in the life of the conductor Alexander Joel. British-born, he has made his base in Austria and Germany, and after seven seasons as Generalmusikdirektor at Braunschweig he bade farewell to the Saxon city on Good Friday—with Parsifal. This month he is in Belgium for a new Don Giovanni, having previously collaborated with the Vlaamse Opera on Don Carlos (the famous ‘Eboli’s dream' production by Konwitschny), La forza del destino (in the original St Petersburg edition) and Die Frau ohne Schalten. Next season brings Rigoletto in Geneva, Die Zauberflöte in Stockholm, and, in Hamburg and at the Vienna Volksoper, La Traviata. In June 2015 Verdi’s fallen woman brings him back to the Royal Opera House, and he stays on into July to lead further performances of La Boheme The latter opera marked his debut with the company early last year, when his lithe, acute response to the score rejuvenated a venerable if expertly executed production (in fact, with the upcoming 2015 performances he will become the last person to conduct John Copley 's four-decade-old staging at the house). For him, returning to his native city and working with the orchestra at Covent Garden — whose sound and consistency he describes as ‘heaven’—was ‘the experience of a lifetime'. (…) Joel’s final concert in Braunschweig was of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, 'Part of the role of the Generalmusikdirektor is to train the orchestra,’ he explains, using the more resonant German word erziehen to bring the point home. ‘You have to nail things down, to fine-tune the engine so that it sounds the way you want it and runs the way you want it to run. You need to be clear and logical in your conducting, so that there are no doubts about what you mean and so that everyone can follow you. But the most important thing is to be able to conduct in an organic way—and there’s no better place to learn to conduct organically than in a German repertoire house.’ (…) A Kapellmeister is formed by learning how to perform without rehearsal —which really teaches you how to conduct opera. You have to start off as a pianist and coach and work up the system, eventually taking over performances with no rehearsal and making them work. (…) If, for the English-speaking reader, the word ‘Kapellmeister’ tends to evoke a sternfaced Johann Sebastian Bach, Alexander Joel, now in his early 40s, is a communicative, infectiously enthusiastic man, a thoughtful and scrupulous musician who also likes to draw colourful analogies between the worlds of opera and football (he is a fan of Manchester United). The son of a British mother and a German-Jewish father, he grew up in London and went to boarding school in Switzerland. (His older half-brother is the American singer-songwriter Billy Joel.) (…) ‘The essence of a conductor’s craft is to keep it all together,’ Alexander Joel says. (…)‘No matter how many times you’ve conducted a piece, it’s important to keep working on it each time you rehearse and perform it ... to look at it from different angles and to cut out options—for instance, by narrowing down to the tempo that accommodates what the singers and players are doing, and by knowing where to put in a rubato. With Boheme, for instance, I can explain why I do each bar the way I do. (…) In a musical world increasingly in thrall to some kind of youth culture—with talented tyros assuming responsibilities traditionally assigned to seasoned maestros— Joel has taken the route that used to be de rigueur for an opera conductor, embedding himself through a series of staff posts in theatres, while also developing a career as a guest conductor in both opera houses and concert halls. ‘I’ve been through the whole system,’ he says. ‘It’s taken time and hard work, and I’ve built a broad repertoire and gained a lot of experience. It's important to build a house on solid foundations. Above all, it’s important to be really good at what you do, and to keep developing as a musician and artist. The level of technical complexity of a score is one thing, but making a score work in the theatre is another. Conducting a symphony by Mahler is probably less difficult than conducting La Boheme or Die Fledermaus, I’m not the first conductor to say this, but the real art of conducting lies in conducting opera. ’ This is an abbreviated version of the interview - a copy of the full-lenght interview can be sent on request.
La Boheme - ROH Covent Garden
Tue, 2013-02-19
Alexander Joel, making his Royal Opera debut, was a new name to me. On the basis of his lively, vital conducting, I hope that I shall hear him again soon. No particular points were being made about the score; it was simply treated with respect, allowing the many fascinating aspects of Puccinis scoring and his musico-dramatic intelligence to shine through. Wagnerisms and modernisms were not underlined; they manifested themselves anyway. If only he had not paused for applause during acts, but then I have never heard a conductor who did not; mores the pity... Orchestra and chorus were on excellent form throughout, with nary a hint of the Saturday matinée routine. Mark Berry
La Boheme - ROH Covent Garden
What's On Stage
Sat, 2013-02-16
There was another debutant in the pit the shape of Alexander Joel, a British conductor who has held distinguished posts in various German opera houses and in Vienna; this showed in his sold grasp of the musics structure and his supportive phrasing, and he coaxed wonderfully supple playing from the orchestra. - Melanie Eskenazi
Luisa Miller
Sat, 2012-12-01
Alexander Joel channelled the orchestra into an emotional and passionate Verdi sound and hightlighted explicitly, how subtle and finely dramatic Verdi managed to orchestrate a sound in this rather early piece which was still strong in the bel canto tradition. Christian Schütte
Precisely and effectively
Der Spiegel
Sat, 2012-11-17
"(...)Puccinis drama is staged as if one had followed a classic textbook on how to stage opera traditionally with all the splendor one associates with this genre. Everything comes over so elegantly, and the guest conductor Alexander Joel from the Staatstheater Braunschweig conducts precisely and effectively...exploding colours, magnificient orchestral sound...the musical side in this union unfolds itself in Tristan-Wagner like reminiscences in Puccinis orchestral sound, whereby Alexander Joel manages to sublimate the unquestionable and apparent "Kitsch" moments by remodelling them in a most delicate lucidity. So his interpretation achieves the highest level of emotion, which an opera like this one needs(...)" By: Werner Theurich
Like a small drama
Hamburger Abendblatt
Tue, 2012-11-13
"(...)There is a very dramatic, somehow "early Hollywood" sounding element in this music, which has strong emotionally stirring moments, in an opera which nonethless has a rather transparent instrumentation. Alexander Joel interprets this score with the highly motivated Hamburg Philharmonic like a small drama, with plenty of dramatic moments. The music shudders and undulates from the orchestra pit, without ever sounding forced in any way(...)" By: Tom. R. Schulz
A crystal clear sound
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Tue, 2012-11-13
"Alexander Joel leads the Hamburg Philharmonic elegantly, with flowing tempos, a crystal clear sound without any hint of heaviness in it(...)" By: Jan Brachmann
La Libre
Sat, 2012-02-11
„For Regisseur Michael Thalheimer to trust the music, implies relying on the quality of the musical direction and the singers: in this regard, the Vlaamse Opera Forza production is breathtaking: Alexander Joel- already known in Antwerp for his „Don Carlos“ and „Die Frau ohne Schatten“- combines perfectly the feeling of long phrases as well as taking care of all the details of the score, while demanding a lot on the one hand, yet trusting (observing him conduct is like getting a masterclass in conducting) and in so doing obtaining everything from the singers and from the orchestra.“
Perfect Control
Neue Musikzeitung
Sun, 2012-02-12
„To obtain this, is in the first place the task of the music, which lends every opera production its own pulse and rhythm. The Verdi production of the Flanders Opera develops from the very first bars a surging drive and power. Alexander Joel has perfect control over the orchestra, and demands on the one hand Allegro brilliance, as well sufficient space and breath for the elegic-lyric passages. This Vlaanders opera „Forza del Destino“ production can easily compare itself to any repertoire performances in the big capitals likeParis or Vienna“
Explosive Energy
Die Welt
Sun, 2012-02-12
...On the other hand, we are served 100% pure sound and kinetic energy, hurled very directly and challengingly straight to the public; the orchestra blazes the sound blatantly and unaltered from the pit. And suddenly, an opera that is musically inspiring, yet suffers from a libretto that is even more challenging than that of „Il Trovatore“, also works dramaturgically...In Antwerp, an opera house that doesn’t have luxurious financial resources, everything has been done perfectly...the house has in Alexander Joel, a Music Director, who prefers pure explosive energy to superficial beautifull sound. A Man who clearly enjoys the sharp contrasts and the cutting edge the music presents in this more nihilistic St.Petersburg (original) version of this opera. The orchestra musicians sit on the edge of their seats when he conducts, you have to look elsewhere if you want to see a run of the mill interpretation. And yet, under his direction, you also find moments of soft lyricism, like the poetic melody of a solo clarinett, or the moments the chorus sings to the madonna in paradise... Manuel Brug
Tristan and Isolde
Thu, 2011-12-01
Alexander Joel carries the singers with his hands, creates platforms for them where they can unfold their voices, keenly observing the score, highlights the dramatic intensity and nervous extacy. There is no main musical waterway but rather a mountain stream with surprising turns and whirls.
High Carat
Braunschweiger Zeitung
Sun, 2011-11-27
The music comes as a shower. Alexander Joel who leads the Staatsorchester clarly loves early Verdi, an the dramatic upsurge, coloured hesitation and fierce attacks of fate. That is when he leaps into the music. He also loves the devoted accompaniment of the singers. Then he leans back in a friendly manner, occasionally sublty gesturing the song, and in the next moment explodes in the chords of suspense in the Cabaletta releasing the tension at the right moment. Vigerous applause and bravos from the audience for a very homogenuous ensemble, orchestra and conductor of high carat. Review of Luisa Miller - Braunschweig Opera
Volksoper: In der Unterwelt ist die Hölle los
Sun, 2023-01-22
Wenn der mythische Orpheus bei Jacques Offenbach in die Unterwelt muss, dann wollen alle gleich mit. Die Vermutung: Da unten ist es lustiger als im scheinmoralischen Himmel. An der Wiener Volksoper darf man diese Opera bouffe seit Samstag als sehr grelles Gagfeuerwerk mit großer Besetzung und großem Besteck erleben. Hausherrin Lotte de Beer hat das britische Kollektiv Spymonkey und den seit dem Salzburger „Jedermann“ ohnedies österreicherfahrenen Julian Crouch eingeladen, um diesen Klassiker des Operettenfaches nicht neu, sondern ganz im Geiste der Vorlage als „physical theatre“ und große Clownerie zu interpretieren. Offenbach als Inspizient So stolziert gleich zu Beginn der Komponist (Marcel Mohah) samt seinem hampelmännischen „Betriebsleiter“ (Georg Wacks) mit auf die Bühne. Offenbach will sich auch in Wien feiern lassen und buhlt, in völlig falschen Erwartungen, um die Gunst seines Publikums. Dass er nicht an der Staats-, sondern an der Volksoper ist, erschließt sich ihm zum Gaudium aller erst sehr spät. Alles an diesem Abend ist auf maximale Wirkung ausgelegt. Und so erlebt man eine freimütig ausgestellte Feier des Bühnenhandwerks. Die Guckkastenbühne ist bei Spymonkey das, was sie sein soll: nicht Illusionsraum, sondern Spielboden für eine Inszenierung, die stets das Künstliche des Dargebotenen bis in jede kleinste Nuance zelebriert. Diese Eurydike pfeift besonders auf den Mythos So bietet die Umsetzung unter dem ehemaligen Volksopern-Musikdirektor Alexander Joel ein Schaulaufen all dessen, was dieses Stück hergibt: musikantische Freude, Gesang quer durch alle Qualitätslagen – und mit einer Eurydike (zu Recht gefeiert: Hedwig Ritter) in der Mitte, die am Ende Mann und Jupiter nur zu gerne stehen lässt, um als Bachantin dem mythischen Auftrag zu entfliehen. Das ist ganz im Sinne des Erfinders – und ganz im Sinne des Höhepunkts der Ballsaison. Aitor Basauri und Toby Parks haben sich als Spymonkey diesmal in ein neues Gefilde vorgewagt – und mit Offenbach tatsächlich das gefunden, was sie mit ihrem eigenen Theater wollen: Stücke machen, die Kopf stehen. So darf man mit ihnen eine Tour de Force zwischen Monty-Python-Humor und einem Höllengallop erleben, der im Sinne ganz wienerisch verstanden ist. So schlimm wird am Ende doch nicht alles kommen. Erlebte man Offenbach zu Beginn der Woche am Theater an der Wien noch als bissige Gesellschaftssatire – mehr dazu in Eine Staatsoperette mit Beinschab-Tool –, so ist die öffentliche Meinung, gespielt von Ruth Brauer-Kvam, hier eine Instanz, die man nur noch zwecks Pose fürchtet. Bei Offenbach ist einfach der Effekt beim Publikum der Gradmesser des Handelns; und Meinung und Öffentlichkeit dürfen gern den Ruhm des Erschaffers mehren. Für die Polizei bleibt in diesem Ordnungsgefüge nur eine Rolle: Sie bläst den Cancan als Figurenparade auf Blockflöten. Jeder Polizist ein Ton – das sitzt in London wie in Wien. heid,
Mahler: Symphony No. 1
Staatsorchester Braunschweig Alexander Joel (conductor) COV 31002
Press Service

Photo: Julia Wesely

Photo: Julia Wesely

Photo: Julia Wesely

Alexander Joel ARTE TV Portrait, at rehearsals to Wagner's ring in Wiesbaden (program in German)