In 2012 Opera News wrote, “The happy news of David Neely’s appointment as Des Moines Metro Opera’s first-ever music director portends some exciting operatic growth at Des Moines in years to come.” Since then, Neely has continued to elevate the Company’s musical profile with acclaimed performances of a wide range of repertoire. recent conducting highlights at DMMO include Elektra, Peter Grimes, Dead Man Walking, Three Decembers, La Fanciulla del West, Falstaff, Jenůfa, Manon as well as appearing as collaborative pianist with baritone David Adam Moore in a multi-media performance of Winterreise for DMMO’s 2nd Stages Series.
Internationally, Neely has appeared as a conductor with the Bochumer Symphoniker, Dortmunder Philharmoniker, the Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg, and numerous European opera houses including Bonn, Halle, Dortmund, and St. Gallen. In the United States, he has appeared at the Indiana University’s renowned Jacobs School of Music for concerts and opera productions (most recently Florencia en el Amazonas), Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, and Sarasota Opera, where he has led numerous productions including their American Classics series of 20th-century operas. He has collaborated with such soloists as Joshua Roman, Bella Hristova, Benjamin Beilman, Rainer Honeck, Nicholas Daniels, Ricardo Morales, Ben Lulich, and Phillippe Cuper.
In addition, Neely heads Orchestral Activities at the University of Kansas, where he has brought distinction and visibility to the orchestra program since joining the faculty in 2007. The KU Symphony Orchestra has performed with prominent international soloists, has frequently appeared at the renowned Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, and in the summer of 2011, performed as resident orchestra of the Eutiner Festspiele in Eutin, Germany. Neely fosters a strong community-university relationship in Lawrence, KS, by partnering in and directing engagement activities, including an annual family-oriented Halloween concert and free Kansas Sinfonietta summer concerts. He established the collaboration between the KU Symphony Orchestra and Lawrence Arts Center on annual staged performances of Peter and the Wolf for young audiences, and has partnered with Reach Out Kansas Inc. on free statewide performances for underserved communities. He has also played an active role in Lawrence’s Sister City program.
Upcoming appearances include the Portland Symphony Orchestra and Sarasota Opera, as well as David T. Little’s Soldier Songs, Britten’s Billy Budd, and Puccini’s Turandot with DMMO.
He holds a B.M. in Piano Performance and an M.M. in Orchestral Conducting from Indiana University, where his teachers were Zadel Skolovky and Leonard Hokanson (piano), and Thomas Baldner and Bryan Balkwill (conducting). He received post-graduate study in orchestral conducting with Gerhard Samuel at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.