Rita Castro Blanco


Rita Castro Blanco is a young Portuguese conductor, known for her firm and clear technique and efficient rehearsal methods, thanks to a thorough preparation of the score and a natural and calm authority. Rita is currently Principal Conductor of the Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra.

The 2018/19 season culminated in a performance with the BBC Philharmonic, which included Anthero de Quental by the Portuguese composer Freitas Branco and première of the Saxophone Concerto by the award-wining Scottish composer Tom Harrold. Rita’s latest engagements include several ensembles and orchestras throughout the United Kingdom, such as Northern Ballet Sinfonia, Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestra, Stockport Symphony Orchestra, Wilmslow Symphony Orchestra, Alderly Edge Symphony Orchestra and has given many conservatoire level concerts in institutional and self-curated capacities with various RNCM ensembles.

In January 2019 Rita was chosen to represent the RNCM in a private masterclass with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, lead by Martyn Brabbins, and again in a masterclass and public concert with the BBC Philharmonic in September 2019.

Through RNCM’s conducting programme, she has been Assistant Conductor for principal and guest conductors of the BBC Philharmonic the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Manchester Camerata and the Hallé, such as Mark Elder, Vasily Petrenko, John Storgårds, Simone Young, John Wilson, Jessica Cottis, Elim Chan and Joana Carneiro. Rita was also Assistant Conductor and Off-Stage Conductor to Martin André in the production of Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, directed by Robert Chevara.

While in Portugal, Rita has been invited to work as Assistant Conductor to Pedro Amaral, the conductor and composer of the opera Beaumarchais, a joint commission by Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian and Teatro Nacional D. Maria II in Lisbon. The collaboration with Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian has also led her to work with the Venezuelan conductor from El Sistema, Dietrich Paredes, in the summer courses of Estágio Gulbenkian para Orquestra.

Throughout her academic life, Rita has had the privilege to work with numerous renowned conductors and pedagogues in international Masterclasses and private sessions. This list includes Sir Mark Elder, Johannes Schlaefli, Mark Stringer, Martyn Brabbins, Vasily Petrenko, Mark Shanahan, Jessica Cottis, Tim Redmond and Jean-Sebastien Beréau.

Rita was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1993 and began her studies at the age of 5 at Conservatório Metropolitano de Música de Lisboa. She completed her conservatoire studies in violin and then started conducting with the guidance of maestro Jean-Marc Burfin, graduating with a Bachelor Degree in Orchestral Conducting at Academia Nacional Superior de Orquestra with exceptional marks. Recently Rita has graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music with Distinction, obtaining a degree of Master of Music in Performance, under the guidance of Clark Rundell and Mark Heron.

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