John Wilson is known for the vivid nature of his interpretations and is applauded repeatedly for the rich and colourful sounds that he draws from orchestras in repertoire ranging from the core classical through to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. An outstanding communicator, Wilson has developed long-term affiliations with many of the UK’s major orchestras and festivals, and is working increasingly at the highest level across Europe, Asia and Australia. In 16/17 he became the Associate Guest Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and in July 2017 conducts them at the BBC Proms.
In 17/18 Wilson makes his debut with the Oslo Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony, Malmö Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic and Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin. He returns to the Sydney Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic and with the BBC Scottish Symphony he continues his focus on British and American repertoire. Highlights of Wilson’s 2016/17 season included his debuts with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in an all-Bernstein programme and with the London Symphony and Swedish Radio Symphony orchestras, receiving immediate re-invitations from both. In 2016 he made his opera debut with Glyndebourne Festival Opera to great critical acclaim, described as a “sensational success” by Opera Magazine, conducting the theatre’s first ever Madama Butterfly for their autumn tour in a new production directed by Annilese Miskimmon. In the coming seasons Wilson returns to Glyndebourne Summer Festival and will make his debut with English National Opera, both in new productions.
In 1994, Wilson formed his own orchestra, the John Wilson Orchestra, dedicated to performing 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 Wilson and the John Wilson Orchestra record exclusively for Warner Classics (formerly EMI Classics) and their performances are broadcast regularly on television and radio.
Wilson has a large catalogue of recordings with a range of orchestras. His most recent releases include two discs of symphonic works by Copland with the BBC Philharmonic, described by Gramophone as “outstanding”, the start of his complete Copland cycle on Chandos. Later in 2017 he releases his first recording with the BBC Scottish Symphony of works by Richard Rodney Bennett.
Born in Gateshead, England, John Wilson 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.
“Music is either worth doing or it’s not”.
Click here to read an extensive interview with John Wilson in the Guardian at the launch of the BBC Proms 2017.
“courting controversy, dancing round pigeonholes”
Click here to read an interview with John Wilson in the Herald ahead of his inaugural concert as Associate Guest Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
Click here to listen to John Wilson’s performance of Korngold’s Symphony in F-sharp Major with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, live on BBC Radio 3 (until 31 May 2017).
"Passion and excitement blended with lucidity. There wasn’t a trace of self-indulgence anywhere. The LSO were on exemplary form, the brass rich and noble, a warm sheen on the strings and woodwind playing of exceptional sincerity and elegance."
Passion and excitement blended with lucidity. There wasn’t a trace of self-indulgence anywhere. The LSO were on exemplary form, the brass rich and noble, a warm sheen on the strings and woodwind playing of exceptional sincerity and elegance.
Everything about the performances signals a conductor and an orchestra who really believe in the quality of the music they are performing... Wilson manages to bring transparency and buoyancy to even the most massive climaxes.
The evening's other big success was John Wilson... shaping the music's ebb and flow as if he had been doing it all his life and revealing countless details... A sensational success.