John Wilson is in demand at the highest level across the globe. In the UK, he performs regularly with most of the orchestras, including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony and City of Birmingham Symphony orchestras, in their main seasons and at festivals such as Aldeburgh, Glyndebourne and the BBC Proms. For many years he also appeared widely across the UK and abroad with the John Wilson Orchestra. In Europe Wilson has conducted many of the finest orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw, Budapest Festival, Swedish Radio Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and DSO Berlin and further afield he has conducted the Sydney Symphony 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 Massenet Cendrillon.
Wilson has a large and varied discography. In 2018, his recording of the Korngold Symphony marked his first release with the revived Sinfonia of London and received exceptional critical acclaim and won a BBC Music Magazine Award. Together with the Sinfonia of London and Chandos he has since recorded three releases, French Orchestral Works, English Music for Strings and Respighi: Roman Trilogy, which reached No. 1 in the UK Classical Charts in August 2020 and won the Orchestral category in the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2021.
Critical praise for Wilson’s recordings with the Sinfonia of London have included The Sunday Times selecting French Orchestral Works as Album of the Week: “The meticulous Wilson is compelling…he makes the music of all three scores sing with an Italiante accent while encouraging his players to heights of virtuosity. and a rich spectrum of dynamics and colour." Gramophone selected as Editor’s Choice the most recently released English Music for Strings, writing how “Once again John Wilson draws the most glorious sound from his hand-picked orchestra, lavishing care and devotion on repertoire that could have been written for him.”
Born in Gateshead, Wilson studied composition and conducting at the Royal College of Music, where in 2011 he was made a Fellow. In March 2019, John Wilson was awarded the prestigious ISM Distinguished Musician Award for his services to music and in 2021 was appointed Henry Wood Chair of Conducting at the Royal Academy of 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.