"Waving the conductor's baton is a little like being in Harry Potter; except with music, the magic is very real" - Callum
Callum Rookes is a British-born European conductor whose journey
into the dark art of conducting has been an unconventional one.
Picking up the baton at the cock-sure age of fifteen and conducting
his first ensemble at the West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge, it
became clear that he had a natural affinity for conducting, and is
now in high demand across the UK for his meticulous, engaging,
motivational, and most importantly empathetic approach to music
Internationally, Callum recently made his American conducting debut with the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra receiving praise for his energetic, and exciting conducting, as well as his infectious, humorous and engaging rehearsal technique. He was also invited by First Lieutenant Michael Flynn of the United States Air Force Academy Band to coach the students at the Mountain Vista High School, Denver, Colorado.
He has been at the helm of some of the UK's highest performing ensembles such as the Birmingham Symphonic Winds, Imperial College Wind Band, City of London Symphonic Winds, London Gay Symphonic Winds, The Bloomsbury Wind Ensemble, Brent Symphony Orchestra, and the Brass Foundry. He has also conducted all three regular Royal Air Force Bands: The Central Band, Regiment Band, and College Band, as well as the British Army’s world famous Band of the Coldstream Guards.
In the Summer of 2022 Callum participated in the Wind Conducting Course at the Sherborne International Summer School of Music, studying conducting with Mark Heron, Bjorn Sagstad, and Alberto Roque, and In February 2023 was selected as one of fourteen candidates from across the world to participate in the International Conducting Institute’s Conducting Workshop with Lawrence Golan and Diane Wittry, held in the United States.
An alumnus of not just Trinity College of Music, but also the Det Jyske Musikkonservatorium in Aarhus Denmark, and the Det Kongelige Danske Musikkonservatorium in Copenhagen; Callum started picking up directorship of bands and orchestras whilst studying in Denmark. He became the MD of the Vejle FDF brass band (Denmark) whilst having a fruitful life as a freelance conductor. Simultaneously, he was invited to conduct and coach the Cambridge Youth Wind Orchestra in the UK.
In 2014, on his return to London, Callum became the Musical Director of the Thame Concert Band where he re-energised, rebuilt, and transformed the band, successfully growing the ensemble from an enthusiastic twelve, to a band of forty. He also built their audience base from a modest few, to a hall of hundreds.
Shortly afterwards, Callum became the Musical Director of the Sound Force Big Band in Buckinghamshire, which he held until January 2018 when he went on to become the principal conductor of the London People's Orchestra, the Enfield Film Orchestra, and the The Highgate and Muswell Hill Brass Band; positions he held until late 2019 when Callum decided to audition, and consequently win the audition to be the Musical Director of the Aylesbury Concert Band, following in the footsteps of it's previous esteemed conductors such has Claire Lawrence (former Band Master, Coldstream Guards Band), Duncan Stubbs (former Principal Director of Music, RAF Music Services), and Rob Wiffin (former Principal Director of Music, RAF Music Services).
In the RAF Callum is studying conducting under Mark Heron (Head of conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music) as part of the intense Musical Direction course, that will lead to one day being a Director of Music.
Callum gives masterclasses to other ensembles in the UK seeking fresh ideas for their playing. Recently, he was invited as a guest conductor to the Woodwind Orchestra Play day, London, 2020, alongside James Rae, and Paul Harris, where he led a total of one-hundred and seventeen musicians.
In need of a conductor? A Musical Director? or maybe you're looking to dip your toe into the mystical art of conducting? Why not get in touch? Callum will try his hardest to accommodate your needs.
Callum is available internationally.
Malcolm Arnold - Fantasy on Christmas Carols
Amy Beach - "Gaelic" Symphony
Beethoven- Symphony Numbers 5 and 6
Bruch - Violin Concerto Number 1
Aaron Copland - Appalachian Spring Orchestral Suite
Aaron Copland - Rodeo Suite
Elgar - Enigma Variations
Grieg: From Holberg's Time
Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue
Leoš Janáček - Sinfonietta
Mahler - Symphony Number 1, "Titan"
Mahler - Symphony Number 2, "Resurrection"
Mendelssohn - Hebrides Overture
Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade
Stravinsky - Firebird Suite
Stravinsky - The Rite of Spring
Sibelius - Symphony Number 2, and 3
Sibelius - Finlandia
Tchaikovsky - Nutcracker Suite
W.Walton - Crown Imperial
W.Walton - Spitfire Prelude and Fugue
R.Vaughan Williams - Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
R. Vaughan Williams - Fantasia on Christmas Carols
Sir Henry Wood - Fantasia on British Sea Songs
Elgar - Pomp and Circumstance March 1
Elgar - "Nimrod", Variation IX from the Enigma Variations
Holst - First Suite for Military Band in Eb Major Op.28 - 1
Holst - Second Suite in F Major Op.28 - 2
Holst - A Moorside Suite
R.Vaughan Williams - English Folk Song Suite
R.Vaughan Williams - Sea Songs
R.Vaughan Williams - Flourish for Wind Band
Percy Grainger - Lincolnshire Posy
Percy Grainger - Molly on the Shore
Martin Ellerby - Clarinet Concerto
Martin Ellerby - Dona Nobis Pacem
Philip Sparke - Symphonic Metamorphosis
Philip Sparke - The Earl of Oxford's March
Philip Sparke - Year of the Dragon
Philip Sparke - Hymn of the Highlands Suite
Philip Sparke - Madrigalum
Philip Sparke - To a New Dawn
Philip Sparke - A Yorkshire Overture
Philip Sparke - Tuba Concerto
Nigel Hess - Thames Journey
Nigel Hess - East Coast Pictures
Nigel Hess - Stephenson's Rocket
Nigel Hess - Shakespeare Pictures
Nigel Hess - Lochnagar Suite
Nigel Hess - Ladies in Lavender
Nigel Hess - A Christmas Overture
Guy Woolfenden - Gallimaufry
Guy Woolfenden - S.P.Q.R
Guy Woolfenden - Illyrian Dances
Rossano Galante - Resplendent Glory
Rossano Galante - Afterlife
Eric Whitacre - Lux Aurumque
Eric Whitacre - October
Jean Sibelius - "Intermezzo" from the Karelia Suite
Photo: Olivia Wild Digital
Photo: Jake Ellwood