John Wilson is in demand at the highest level across the globe, working with some of the finest orchestras and opera houses. In the UK, he performs regularly at festivals such as Aldeburgh, Glyndebourne and the BBC Proms with orchestras such as London Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony and City of Birmingham Symphony. Elsewhere, he has conducted the Royal Concertgebouw, Budapest Festival, Swedish Radio Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic and Sydney Symphony orchestras amongst others. Recent and future highlights include his debut with the Bavarian Radio Symphony, Danish National Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Basel Symphony orchestras and his return engagements include DSO Berlin, BBC Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestra.
Wilson made his opera debut in 2016 conducting Puccini Madama Butterfly at Glyndebourne Festival Opera on their autumn tour and has since conducted Gershwin Porgy and Bess at English National Opera and returned to Glyndebourne Summer Festival to conduct Massent Cendrillon. He will be making his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City, in a future season.
Wilson has a large and varied discography which includes a series of discs with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra exploring the works of Richard Rodney Bennett, with the BBC Philharmonic devoted to the symphonic works of Aaron Copland and numerous recordings with the John Wilson Orchestra. In 2019 Chandos released Wilson’s first recording with the Sinfonia of London which featured Korngold’s Symphony in F Sharp, followed by a highly praised French album and his latest release with the orchestra, the Respighi Roman Trilogy, reached Number 1 in the UK Classical Charts in August 2020.
Born in Gateshead, Wilson studied composition and conducting at the Royal College of Music, where in 2011 he was made a Fellow. In 1994, he formed his own orchestra, the John Wilson Orchestra, dedicated to performing music from the golden age of Hollywood and Broadway, and with whom he has appeared regularly across the UK. In March 2019, John Wilson was awarded the prestigious ISM Distinguished Musician Award for his services to music.
“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.
Wilson found a profound, pulsating cohesion missing from previous interpretations. Besides the raw, immediate presence of the opening theme and the caressing gorgeousness of its quick-to-act counterfoil, a contrast that sets the heaving and opulent expressive agenda for the whole work, Wilson insisted on pinpoint clarity of texture.
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.