John Andrews

The recipient of the Leonard Ingrams Memorial Award 2012 from Garsington Opera, John Andrews has been in demand as a symphonic, operatic and choral conductor since he was awarded the special ‘Orchestra Prize’ at the First Bela Bartok Opera Conducting Competition in Romania in 2005. He is Conductor-in-Association with the English Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival Chorus, the Harpenden Choral Society, Trinity Orchestra and the Leicester Symphony Orchestra. In 2017 he was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the UK’s National Symphony Orchestra for a period of three years.

Notable engagements include Die Entführung aus dem Serail in Rostock, Germany, the Garsington Opera production of Hansel and Gretel at West Green House, a debut performance of La Cenerentola for the Garsington Festival, Tolomeo, Don Giovanni, Anna Bolena and Pia de’ Tolomei for English Touring Opera, The Mikado for Co-Opera, Cosí fan tutte for English Chamber Opera, Orfeo ed Euridice at St John’s Smith Square and Offenbach’s Robinson Crusoe for Opera della Luna at the Iford Festival. For Stanley Hall he has conducted The Barber of Seville, Eugene Onegin and a double bill of Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor and Pagliacci. He is a resident conductor for Opéra de Baugé where he has conducted Lucia di Lammermoor, Riccardo Primo, Don Pasquale, Die Entfürung aus dem Serail, La Traviata, Giulio Cesare, La Bohème and Il barbiere di Siviglia. As assistant to Andrew Litton he prepared Der fliegende Holländer for Den Nye Opera with the Bergen Philharmonic.

His interest in neglected English music has resulted in a recording of Sullivan’s complete incidental music to The Tempest and Macbeth with the BBC Concert Orchestra and the BBC Singers issued on two separate CDs by Dutton Epoch, and Gilbert/Cellier’s opera The Mountbanks for the same label. Sullivan’s oratorio The Light of the World will be released later this year. He gave performances of newly discovered works by Sir Malcolm Sargent with the Leicester Symphony Orchestra and the premier of Percy Sherwood’s Double Concerto for Violin and Cello with the English Symphony Orchestra at the English Music Festival, which will also be recorded. Earlier this year he made his debut at the London Handel Festival conducting Arne’s Judgement of Paris which has subsequently been recorded.

As part of his commitment to education work, he has conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the West End Live Festival, and he recently conducted Will Todd and Maggie Gottlieb’s children’s opera Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the London College of Music and for Opera Holland Park. He lectures for the Cambridge Music Hubs programme, has devised a schools project with the Blackheath Conservatoire, and has lectured at the Elgar School of Music on the birth of English Opera.

Born in Nairobi, and brought up in Manchester, John Andrews studied tuba with the late Stuart Roebuck, and played with the Stockport Youth Orchestra and British Telecom Brass Band. His orchestral tone poem Christmas Night was premiered at the Free Trade Hall in 1991, and his Missa pro Loreto, two years later. He took up conducting at the age of 17, studying with Michael Trowski, Colin Metters, Alan Hazeldine and now with David Parry. He continued his professional development at the Bela Bartok Centre for Musicianship, and has taken part in conducting classes with Tsung Yeh and Kirk Trevor at Symphonic Workshops in the Czech Republic, and at the National Opera Studio. He completed a doctorate on the political and religious world of eighteenth-century oratorio.

Plans Rossini’s Elisabetta with English Touring Opera and Wolf Ferrari’s Susanna’s Secret with Opera Holland Park.


Artist Videos

Il Barbiere di Siviglia - Overture

“Andrews is a seasoned enthusiast for this lightweight, charming score, as he was in Sullivan’s Incidental music to Macbeth and The Tempest for the same label, and the cast is ideal. Delicious!”

“A bonus this year is the concert of excerpts from Rossini’s lesser-know serious operas (entitled Fireworks!) conducted by John Andrews, protégé of David Parry and one of our liveliest, most elegant and talented young bel canto conductors.” Opera Now, March 2018

“John Andrews, conducting, swept the whole thing forwards in big, powerful paragraphs, relishing Donizetti’s sombre colours and releasing a raw power that I hadn’t realised the ETO Chorus possessed.” The Arts Desk, April 2016

“Pia emerged very strongly under John Andrews’ highly cultured, shapely and pressing direction – rarely have I heard ETO’s orchestra sound so compelling.” Opera Now, April 2016

“..the tension certainly did not flag for a moment under John Andrews’ baton.” Opera Magazine, April 2016

“….conductor John Andrews maintains momentum throughout what is an increasingly exciting evening.” Guardian, March 2016

“John Andrews had a genius for injecting Donizetti’s primary-colour harmonies and melodies with the sort of visceral passion and rhythmic bite that convinced you of the music’s worth, and the orchestra responded with a full range of tints and attitude.” Classical Source, March 2016

“Under John Andrews the orchestra provided just the right combination of character and support. This was a swift, intense and rather dark account of the score but the swiftness did not preclude flexibility or a suppleness of line.” Planet Hugill, March 2016

“….powerfully supported by the orchestra under John Andrews…” The Stage, March 2016

“Donizetti screws the tension higher and higher all night, using brazen martial marches and occasional sour harmonies to contrast with soaring ideas of love and duty, which are picked out beautifully by the orchestra, conducted with energy and care by John Andrews.” Bachtrack, March 2016


“It became clear from John Andrews’s sparkling conducting of the overture that we were at least in for a musical treat.” Mikado/Co-Opera Co, Opera Magazine, November 2013

“ was cheerfully and enthusiastically played, with a string of big tunes pouring out like a genially puffing locomotive. At the end, the tremendous young conductor, John Andrews, wiped his brow as if he’d just completed a first run through of Götterdämmerung.” Parry Symphony No 3/English Music Festival, The Observer, June 2012

“What was originally going to be a guest appearance with the Leicester Symphony Orchestra turned out to be John Andrews’ first concert as its new conductor.
His recent appointment promises to be a fruitful collaboration as, on this showing, he has a distinctive musical personality. Equally important he has a clear beat, gives plenty of cues and sets sensible speeds that allow the players time to phrase and articulate.” Leicester Mercury, February 2012

“…Andrew’s tight musical controle of 13 singers and an orchestra of 18 (using the orchestral reduction by Derek Clarke) made for a compelling evening.” (Eugene Onegin/Stanley Hall) Opera Magazine, September 2011

“The score is led with enthusiasm by John K Andrews,a very young conductor regularly invited to Baugé whose main aim is to develop the training of about thirty musicians to perform the music of Puccini with the fervor of a large orchestra.” (La Boheme/Opéra de Baugé) ForumOpera, August 2011

“John Andrews conducted with precision, but also with admirable, rare flexibility, and carried his singers with him.” (Tolomeo/ETO) Spectator, November 2009

“The band played with unfailing vigour under… John Andrews, and the audience was most enthusiastic.” (Tolomeo/ETO) Telegraph, October 2009

“Although he had already worked with the company, this evening represented conductor John Andrews’ London debut with the English Touring Opera. His knowledge of style, his ability to shape the structure and his attention to details made for an exciting evening.” (Tolomeo/ETO) Musical Criticism, October 2009

“John Andrews marshaled his orchestra brilliantly (and they all spoke highly of him, pretty rare) in Don Pasquale, vivacious, idiomatic to a very unexpected degree and completely unpanicked by hair-raisingly tight schedules.” Opera de Bauge, Opera Now – Who’s hot, 2007

“…. the orchestra was conducted on this occasion by John Andrews. A striking figure with a fine head of hair and a voluminous frock coat, he showed the way with wide gestures, as well as an emphatic, incisive beat, always looking to stir powerful emotions…..Sibelius’s generously proportioned Second Symphony with its patterns of great forces gradually, at times almost hesitantly, growing again and again to full strength, suited the players and their conductor to a T.” Norwich Philharmonic, Eastern Daily Press November 2007

”…. from first note to last, this was a superb and electrifying performance. Recently-appointed director John Andrews conducted with dynamic flair. He is surely high on the list of a new generation of scholar-conductors. His undoubted talent enthused all to give of their best, reflected by the generous applause from the audience. This really was a praiseworthy account of this monumental Baroque piece.” Handel, Judas Maccabaeus/ Harpenden Choral Society, Harpenden Advertiser, July 2007


For full details of John Andrew’s repertoire, visit the repertoire page of his website here.

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Rossini Il turco in Italia Conductor
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Verdi Aida Chorus Master
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Macbeth, The Tempest (Incidental Music) Sullivan
Dutton Epoch B01HBTES5U