The death has been announced of Belfast-born conductor Kenneth Montgomery, the former Principal Conductor of Opera Northern Ireland and a regular guest with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

Over a career spanning five decades, Mongomery performed at many of the great opera houses across the globe; in 2007 he became the first Belfast native to hold the post of principal conductor of the Ulster Orchestra, and was awarded an OBE in 2010 for services to music in Northern Ireland. In the US, he also served as Principal Conductor of the Santa Fe Opera, making his SFO debut in 1982 and returning as a guest many times over the suceeding decades.

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Watch: Kenneth Montgomery conducts the South Netherlands Philharmonic

Montgomery lived and worked in the Netherlands, serving as principal conductor of the Netherlands Radio Symphony and Groot Omroepkoor (Netherlands Radio Choir). In 1991, he became director of opera studies at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, and regularly collaborated with Dutch early music orchestra the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century.

A frequent collaborator with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Kenneth Montgomery made his final appearance with the RTÉ CO in March 2022, leading a rousing performance of Beethoven's 4th and 5th piano concertos.

"It was always a joy to see Kenneth's name on the list for conductors coming into the orchestra," said Joe Chibi, General Manager of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. "His warm personality, knowledge of music and life created an atmosphere that was nothing but heavenly. We adored him, his warmth, personality and brilliant musicianship. We will miss him terribly".