Conductor John Wilson has earned a reputation for his interpretations of British and American repertoire in particular. He is a favourite of many of the UK’s orchestras and festivals including the BBC Proms and Aldeburgh Festival and is currently Associate Guest Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. John is also in demand across the world at the very highest level, conducting the major orchestras of Sydney, Berlin, Budapest, Amsterdam, Oslo amongst many others, and has a large and growing discography, covering a wide range of repertoire.
In recent seasons John’s guest conducting has taken him to the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Royal Concertgebouw, Budapest Festival, Gothenburg Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Symphony and Sydney Symphony orchestras amongst others, most of whom he will be returning to in future seasons. In the UK he features annually in the Philharmonia’s Royal Festival Hall season and enjoys regular collaborations with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester both in the concert hall and recording studio and with the BBC Scottish Symphony as their Principal Guest Conductor both in Glasgow and on tour across the UK. His debut with the London Symphony Orchestra in 16/17 was a huge success and led to an immediate re-invitation to conduct the orchestra at the BBC Proms in 2018.
Known for the vivid nature of his interpretations, John is applauded repeatedly for the rich and colourful sounds that he draws from orchestras. An outstanding communicator, he is building more and more long-term affiliations across the globe and working increasingly at the highest level. He is also a prolific recording artist with a large catalogue of recordings with a range of orchestras. His most recent releases include three volumes of symphonic works by Copland with the BBC Philharmonic, described by Gramophone as “outstanding”, and two volumes of works by Richard Rodney Bennett with the BBC Scottish Symphony, all of which are on the Chandos label.
This Autumn, John makes his debut with English National Opera in a new production of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and next summer he returns to Glyndebourne Summer Festival for a new production of Massenet’s Cendrillon. His operatic debut in 2016 with Glyndebourne Festival Opera, conducting the theatre’s first ever Madama Butterfly for their autumn tour, was described as a “sensational success” by Opera Magazine.
Born in Gateshead, England, John studied composition and conducting at the Royal College of Music where he was taught by Joseph Horovitz and Neil Thomson and where he won all the major conducting prizes and, in 2011, was made a Fellow. In March 2019, John was awarded the prestigious ISM Distinguished Musician Award for his services to music.
In 1994, John formed his own orchestra, the John Wilson Orchestra, dedicated to the performance of music from the golden age of Hollywood and Broadway; for the past decade he has been performing with them annually at the BBC Proms and touring regularly across the UK. John and the John Wilson Orchestra record exclusively for Warner Classics (formerly EMI Classics) and their performances are broadcast regularly on television and radio.