Ulster Youth Orchestra Ulster Hall


Guest Artists 2024

Guest Conductor - Jac van Steen

Jac van Steen was born in the Netherlands and studied orchestral and choral conducting at the Brabant Conservatory of Music.

Since attending the BBC Conductors Seminar in 1985, he has enjoyed a busy career conducting some of Europe's finest orchestras, including positions as Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Netherlands National Ballet, the Bochum and Nürenberg Orchestras, the Staatskapelle Weimar, the Dortmund Opera and Philharmonic, the Musikkollegium Winterthur and Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. He is currently Honorary Principal Guest Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra and Guest Conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra.

Jac van Steen built up a large opera repertoire during his long association with the opera houses of Weimar and Dortmund, where he was Principal Conductor and Musical Director. He returned to Opera North in 2015 and 2016, making his debut with Garsington Opera (Strauss, Intermezzo), followed by new productions of Pelleas and Melisande and Smetana's The Bartered Bride. The latter was such a success that it was repeated in 2023. He also worked regularly at the Volksoper in Vienna and made his debut at the Oslo Opera in 2018-19. In May-June 2018 he conducted the Jette Parker Young Artists Showcase organised by the Royal Opera House Covent Garden London. At the Dutch Reisopera in the Netherlands, he recently opened the 2023-24 season with Korngold's opera 'The Miracle of Heliane'.

In addition to his work as a conductor, he is Professor of Conducting at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague. He has also worked with the Royal Northern College of Music and the Chetham School of Music (Manchester), as well as the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music (both in London) as well as the Cambridge University.

Assistant Conductor - César Eduardo Ramos

César Eduardo Ramos is a young conductor from Cuba. He served as assistant conductor of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra and Associate Conductor of Matanzas Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he founded the Ensemble Habana XXI, dedicated to connecting contemporary music with other artistic expressions such as visual arts, contemporary dance, opera, theater, and audiovisuals.

He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Orchestral Conducting from the Havana University of the Arts and is currently pursuing a master’s in the National Master in Orchestral Conducting (Koninklijk Conservatorium Den Haag – Conservatorium van Amsterdam) with Ed Spanjaard, Jac van Steen and Antony Hermus.

His most recent performances include conducting at the Dutch National Opera and Ballet during the Opera Forward Festival 2024 and conducting Boulez’s Dérive II with the Ensemble Royaal. Among the orchestras he has worked with as assistant conductor are the Residentie Orkest, PhilZuid, Noord Nederland Orkest, Asko|Schonberg and the Belgian National Orchestra.

Photo credit: Alex Schroder

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