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 Wolf Ferrari’s Susanna’s Secret with Opera Holland Park, Tolomeo, Don Giovanni, Anna Bolena, Pia de’ Tolomei and Elisabetta I for English Touring Opera, the Garsington Opera production of Hansel and Gretel at West Green House, a debut performance of La Cenerentola for the Garsington Festival, The Mikado for Co-Opera, Così 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. In Europe he has conducted Die Entführung aus dem Serail in Rostock, Germany, and 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 Holländerfor 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 Tempestand 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 was released in December 2018. 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 has also be recorded. Last 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 include The Seraglio with English Touring Opera and The Merry Widow for Opera Holland Park.

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Artist Videos

John Andrews talks about The Light of the World
Il Barbiere di Siviglia - Overture

THE SERAGLIO/ENGLISH TOURING OPERA

“John Andrews’s supple conducting and ideal tempi gave consistent pleasure.” Sunday Times, October 2019

“Comic antics never fought with the fertile invention of Mozart’s music, incisively and insightfully conducted by John Andrews. Die Entführung, sometimes overshadowed, shone here in all its genius.” Observer, October 2019

“They are all winningly supported by ETO’s orchestra, who play with vivacious energy under the baton of John Andrews.” The Times, October 2019

“Andrews is an exemplary Mozartian, finely judging the grace and passion that are essential to this work.” Guardian, October 2019

“John Andrews’ witty, unsentimental conducting scampered without rushing, favouring bright, unfussy textures, and summoning tart contributions from the woodwinds.” Bachtrack, October 2019

“John Andrews leads a buoyant account of the score.” Arts Desk, October 2019

“Stephen Medcalf’s production opened English Touring Opera Autumn 2019 tour of three Singspiels in well-drilled and satisfying style, aided in no small measure by conductor John Andrews’ easy manner and no-nonsense approach which ensured that sustained Mozartian clarity complemented sure dramatic direction throughout.” Opera Today, October 2019

L’ELISIR D’AMORE/INTO OPERA

“Into Opera was lucky to have the conductor John Andrews at the helm: unfussy but meticulous, encouraging but also demanding of high standards, he conducted a fluent performance which sailed forth confidently, the busy finales making absolute musical and dramatic sense.” Opera Magazine, September 2019

SUSANNA’S SECRET, OPERA HOLLAND PARK

“The conductor John Andrews and the City of London Sinfonia didn’t drop a stick in the German-Italian Wolf-Ferrari’s feverish balance between verismo and operetta, the playing underpinning this 45-minute comedy in great style.” Opera Magazine, September 2019

“Il secreto di Susanna sparkles under John Andrews’s precise yet flexible baton: the delicious overture, a jeu d’esprit recalling the wit of Rossini in its orchestration, sets the tone for a fast-moving evening of comedy…” Sunday Times, July 2019

“John Andrews’ conducting is spick and span; the score is a gem.” The Stage, July 2019

“John Andrews conducts with grace and affection: it’s only a curiosity, but a very agreeable one.” The Telegraph, July 2019

“The sparkling Overture to the opera is moderately well known, but John Andrews and the City of London Sinfonia showed us that the rest of Wolf-Ferrari’s score is equally delightful.” Planet Hugill, July 2019

“John Andrews and the City of London Sinfonia faithfully get the measure of the German-Italian’s score, froth with teeth poised between verismo and the sauciest operetta.” Classical Source, July 2019

THE JUDGEMENT OF PARIS, DUTTON EPOCH

” …Andrew’s makes a strong case for this English baroque discovery.” Sunday Times, July 2019

“The performance is lovely. John Andrews conducts with flair and style, and there’s some delectable playing from The Brook Street Band.” Gramophone, July 2019

“The whole is directed with fluency and conviction by the Handel expert and English music specialist John Andrews.” MusicWeb International, October 2019

ELISABETTA, REGINA D’INGHILTERRA, ENGLISH TOURING OPERA

“John Andrews led a lively account of Rossini’s score…” Opera Magazine, May 2019

“The opera is conducted with dramatic verve by John Andrews…” Sunday Times, March 2019

“John Andrews conducts with an ideal combination of care and panache.”
Guardian, March 2019

“The orchestra is expertly directed by John Andrews, with outstanding playing from the horns. Dramatically and musically a well-nigh perfect evening.” Independent, March 2019

“John Andrews and his orchestra offer an idiomatic account of Rossini’s flawed but fascinating score.” Daily Mail, March 2019

“Best of all is the stylish conducting of John Andrews, who draws top-quality playing from the orchestra.” The Stage, March 2019

“…conductor John Andrews knows how to accompany Italian bel canto sympathetically.” Planet Hugill, March 2019

“Recit usually feels merely like stuff that needs to be got through, but here….it is the heart of the thing, and a conundrum for the conductor. It has to be slow enough for genuine emotions and conflict to develop, yet with enough pace not to bore everyone to death. Andrews handles it brilliantly, with real meaning in the accompaniments and pliant rhythms…” Critics Circle, March 2019

LIGHT OF THE WORLD, DUTTON EPOCH

“Conductor John Andrews does an excellent job, bringing constant motion to the score and drawing refined playing from the BBC Concert Orchestra and articulate singing from the BBC Symphony Chorus and Kinder Children’s Choir.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2019

“Andrews leads his excellent soloists…with infectious verve.” Sunday Times, December 2018

“John Andrews proves himself a powerful and sympathetic advocate for the piece and has clearly drawn powerful, committed and fully engaged from all his performers. You can listen to the piece without recourse to the printed text, words are admirably clear and sung by everyone as if they mean them as if the story really means something to them personally.” Planethugill, December 2018

THE MOUNTEBANKS, DUTTON EPOCH

“…it is a pleasure to have this rarity so skilfully done. John Andrews shows himself once again the ideal Savoy conductor, directing with a light hand that conjures affectionate results from his BBC forces – not least in the Suite Symphonique, a delectable bonne bouche.” Opera Magazine, October 2018

“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!” Sunday Times, July 2018

ROSSINI ‘FIREWORKS!’, ENGLISH TOURING OPERA

“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

PIA DE TOLOMEI, ENGLISH TOURING OPERA

“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

FURTHER REVIEWS

“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

“..it 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.

Opera Repertoire

COMPOSER OPERA ROLE
Arne The Judgement of Paris Conductor
Bartok Duke Bluebeard’s Castle Conductor
Bizet Carmen Conductor
Britten Albert Herring Assistant Conductor
Delibes Lakmé Chorus Master
Donizetti Anna Bolena Conductor
Donizetti Don Pasquale Conductor
Donizetti L’elisir d’amore Conductor
Dove Mansfield Park Assistant Conductor
Eccles Semele Conductor
Floyd Susannah Conductor
Gluck Orfeo ed Euridice Conductor
Handel Acis and Galatea Conductor
Handel Guilio Cesare in Egitto Conductor
Handel Riccardo primo Conductor
Handel Semele Conductor
Handel Tolomeo Conductor
Holst The Wandering Scholar Conductor
Humperdinck Hansel and Gretel Conductor
Lampe The Dragon of Wantley Conductor
Leoncavallo Pagliacci Conductor
Montemezzi L'amore dei tre Re Chorus Master
Mozart Cosí fan tutte Conductor
Mozart Der Shauspieldirektor Conductor
Mozart Die Entfürung aus dem Serail Conductor
Mozart Die Zauberflöte Conductor
Mozart Don Giovanni Conductor
Mozart Le nozze di Figaro Conductor
Offenbach Robinson Crusoe Conductor
Offenbach Vert-Vert Assistant Conductor
Pucini La Bohème Conductor
Rodgers Oklahoma! Conductor
Rossini Il Barbiere di Siviglia Conductor
Rossini La Cenerentola Conductor
Rossini Le Comte Ory Conductor
Rossini La Donna del Lago Conductor
Rossini Elisabetta, Regina d'Inghilterra Conductor
Rossini Il Turco in Italia Conductor
Sullivan The Mikado Conductor
Sullivan Trial by Jury Conductor
Sullivan Yeomen of the Guard Conductor
Tchaikovsky Eugene Onegin Conductor
Verdi Aida Chorus Master
Verdi La Traviata Conductor
Verdi Rigoletto Conductor
Wagner Der fliegende Holländer Assistant Conductor
TITLE COMPOSER RECORD COMPANY DISC NUMBER
The Judgement of Paris Arne
Dutton Epoch LX7361
The Mountebanks Cellier
Dutton Epoch LX7349
Symphony No 5 in F minor Cowen
EM Records EMR CD047
Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra Sherwood
EM Records EMR CD047
The Light of the World Sullivan
Dutton Epoch LX7356
Macbeth, The Tempest (Incidental Music) Sullivan
Dutton Epoch LX7331