A musician with a wide-ranging international career, British conductor and organist Michael Bawtree was appointed Principal Conductor of JAM (John Armitage Memorial Trust) in 2017. He regularly conducts the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and has directed the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players, Red Note Ensemble, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, Orchestra North East and many performances for Scottish Ballet, Northern Ballet and Raymond Gubbay Limited across the British Isles. For seven years he was Assistant Music Director of the Lyrique-en-Mer summer opera festival in Brittany. He joined the music staff at Glyndebourne for their 2018 production of Debussy’s Pelleas et Melisande, and has worked as guest chorus master for the BBC Singers, Danish National Opera (Michael Kohlhaas, Eugene Onegin) and St Endellion Festival (Death in Venice).
Since 2005, Michael Bawtree has been Chorus Director of the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union and Music Director of Glasgow Chamber Choir. He is Artistic Director of Edinburgh University Chamber Choir. He has also worked with the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, the RSNO chorus (as Acting Chorus Director), Andrea Bocelli, and toured with other choruses across Europe, North America, Hong Kong and New Zealand. He made his debut at the Royal Albert Hall in 2015 conducting Mozart’s Requiem with the London Philharmonic Choir. Bawtree spent the summer of 2014 living in Mumbai, directing a choral project with 250 children from all walks of life: slum children sang alongside the most privileged on the stage of the National Centre for the Performing Arts. Shortly before the pandemic, he directed a Youth Choir project at the Queensland Conservatorium in Brisbane and visited Vanderbilt University in Tennessee as Guest Artist. Other recent and upcoming guest conducting engagements include concerts in Sweden, Croatia, Holland, Germany, Faroe Islands, Greenland and Tuscany. He conducted a specially-formed ensemble at His Majesty King Charles III’s “Scottish Coronation” in Edinburgh in July 2023.
A keen advocate of contemporary music, Michael Bawtree has conducted world premieres of operatic, symphonic and choral works by Judith Bingham, Paul Mealor, Cecilia McDowall, Richard Peat and Rory Boyle; he works regularly with Scotland’s foremost composers including the late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Sir James MacMillan, Thea Musgrave and Sally Beamish. Bawtree studied music and the organ at Christ’s College, Cambridge University, and conducting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly the RSAMD). As organist and continuo player, he has performed with many orchestras including the London Symphony, Swedish Radio, Bergen Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, Scottish Chamber and the RSNO, including frequent concerts at the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh International Festival. Organ recital invitations have taken Bawtree to all the major British cathedrals, Notre-Dame de Paris, Washington National Cathedral, Auckland Town Hall and to Bermuda, New England, California and across Scandinavia. He is Lecturer in Conducting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow.