Recently described by Opera News as "a ninja warrior with a baton" for his performance of Berg's Wozzeck, Director of Orchestral Activities David Neely maintains an active career in concert, opera and higher education. Previously serving on the conducting faculties of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, the University of Kansas and the University of Texas, the Kansas Federation of Music Clubs named him Kansas Artist-Educator of the Year for 2016-17.
As music director and principal conductor of Des Moines Metro Opera, a post he has held since 2012, Neely continues to elevate the company’s musical profile with acclaimed performances of a wide range of repertoire such as Wozzeck, Candide, Turandot, Billy Budd, Manon, Falstaff, Elektra, Peter Grimes, Dead Man Walking, Macbeth, Don Giovanni, La fanciulla del West, Rusalka and Flight. His performances have garnered praise in publications such as Opera News, Opera Today and the Chicago Tribune. Neely’s televised Manon and Billy Budd, produced by Iowa Public Television for DMMO, were awarded Emmys by the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Neely is equally at home in concert, opera, musical theater and ballet settings. He has appeared as conductor with numerous orchestras and opera houses, including the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Portland Symphony Orchestra, Bochumer Symphoniker, Dortmunder Philharmoniker, the Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg, Atlanta Opera, Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Bonn Opera, Halle Opera, Dortmund Opera, Saarland State Opera and St. Gallen Opera. As an educator, he has led concerts, opera and ballet at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (most recently Jake Heggie's It's a Wonderful Life and L'elisir d'amore), and concerts at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, the University of Kansas and the University of Texas at Austin. He also served as associate music director of Chicago for the Munich and Basel runs of the current Broadway production. He has collaborated with such instrumentalists as Joshua Roman, Bella Hristova, Benjamin Beilman, Rainer Honeck, Nicholas Daniel, Delfeayo Marsalis, Phillippe Cuper, Ben Lulich and Ricardo Morales. Neely has conducted the German premiere of Mark Anthony Turnage's The Silver Tassie, the North American premiere of Robert Orledge's reconstruction of Debussy's The Fall of the House of Usher and world premieres of Arthur Gottschalk's Four New Brothers, Billy Childs' Concerto for Horn and Strings, Alexandre Rydin's Clarinet Concerto and, at the University of Maryland, Maria Newman’s Our Rights and Nothing Less in celebration of the 200th birthday of Susan B. Anthony and the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, with Carmen Balthrop as narrator.