Kees Bakels (1945) began his musical career as a violinist and studied conducting at the Amsterdam Conservatory and the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy. He then became assistant conductor of the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and also conducted the Dutch Chamber Orchestra. Bakels was chief conductor of the Radio Symphony Orchestra (1991-1996), principal guest director of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (1990-2000) and founder and chief conductor of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orc
hestra, which appointed him in 2005 as honorary conductor. Additionally Bakels conducted major Dutch and international orchestras including the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Orchestre National de Lille, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Lausanne Chamber and Orquesta Ciudad de Granada. Bakels also led new opera productions of Aida and Fidelio at the English National Opera and La Bohème and Carmen at the Welsh opera. And over the course of 25 years Bakels conducted lots of concerts during the KRO ‘Bijzondere Concerten’ series in Vredenburg Utrecht and the ZaterdagMatinee in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, where he introduced the audience with little-known operas such as Mascagni's Zanetto, Iris, Amica, Isabeau, Il Piccolo Marat and Nerone, and Leoncavallo's La Bohème and Zazà. His performances of Mascagni's operas are published on the Bongiovanni label. Recent and future engagements include, among others projects with Philharmonie zuidnederland and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.