John Wilson is in demand at the highest level across the globe, having conducted many of the world’s finest orchestras over the past 30 years. In 2018 he relaunched Sinfonia of London: described as ‘the most exciting thing currently happening on the British orchestral scene’ (The Arts Desk), Wilson and the Sinfonia’s much-anticipated BBC Proms debut in 2021 was praised as ‘truly outstanding’ (The Guardian) with its ‘revelatory music-making’ (The Times). They are now highly sought-after across the UK, returning to the BBC Proms, Aldeburgh Festival and London’s Barbican Centre among other festivals and venues this season.
Wilson’s large and varied discography with Sinfonia of London has received near-universal critical acclaim, and in the autumn of 2023 they will release their 17th album in five years. Their recordings have earned several awards including, for three successive years, the BBC Music Magazine Award in the Orchestral category for the Korngold Symphony in F sharp (2020), Respighi Roman Trilogy (2021) and Dutilleux Le Loup (2022) recordings. The Observer described the Respighi recording as “Massive, audacious and vividly played” and The Times declared it one of the three “truly outstanding accounts of this trilogy” of all time, after those by Toscanini (1949) and Muti (1984).
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.
Livestreams and Broadcasts
Sinfonia of London | BBC Proms | August 2023
Boulanger D'un Matin de Printemps
Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2
Walton Symphony No. 1
Click to watch on BBC iPlayer (UK only)
Sinfonia of London | Aldeburgh Festival | 'Scottish Ballad' | June 2023
Delius Summer Night on the River
Britten Scottish Ballad
Elgar Symphony No. 2
Sinfonia of London | Aldeburgh Festival | 'Orchestral Showpieces' | June 2023
Dukas The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Sally Beamish Four Songs from Hafez
Respighi Fountains of Rome
Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances
OperaGlass Works | 2020
Britten The Turn of the Screw
Glyndebourne | June 2019
John Wilson is the most exciting British conductor since Simon Rattle. […] his Sinfonia of London sets the gold standard – an orchestra of generals that takes the unfashionable, the obscure, the overlooked, and makes it unmissable.
As we’ve come to expect from Wilson and his Sinfonia, this was an evening compounded of excitement and insight, with terrifically incisive playing across the board. Wilson’s approach to the Enigma Variations…was an interpretation of marvellous freshness; bittersweet, unsentimental and wonderfully human; the most engaging account of the work I’ve heard for some time.
[Wilson] has an unfussy but telling elegance of gesture – no sweaty ‘conductor’s ecstasy’ for him – which had surprisingly huge effects, like throwing the stage light-switches in a theatre; a single flick of that forefinger, and we were flooded in aural dazzlement and colour and magic.