John Andrews

John Andrews is Artistic Director of Red Squirrel Opera, Conductor-in-Association with the English Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the UK’s National Symphony Orchestra. In May 2022 he was Principal Conductor for the International Composers’ Festival. His recordings have twice won the BBC Music Magazine Opera Award, in 2021 for Malcolm Arnold’s The Dancing Master and in 2023 for Lampe’s The Dragon of Wantley; Smyth’s Der Wald won the ‘World Premiere Recording – Rediscovery’ category at the 2023 Presto Music Awards.

Notable engagements include Yeoman of the Guard for the Grange Festival, Wolf Ferrari’s Susanna’s Secret for Opera Holland Park (nominated for the 2020 International Opera Awards), Tolomeo, Don Giovanni, Anna Bolena, Pia de’ Tolomei, Elisabetta and Seraglio for English Touring Opera, La Cenerentola for the Garsington Festival, the Garsington Opera production of Hansel and Gretel at West Green House, and in 2023 Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci for West Green House Opera For Stanley Hall Opera he has conducted The Barber of Seville, Eugene Onegin and a double bill of Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor and Pagliacci. In August 2022 he was Principal Conductor of the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival conducting Iolanthe, Pirates of Penzance and Utopia Limited.

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 Holländer for Den Nye Opera with the Bergen Philharmonic.

His interest in neglected English music has resulted in recordings 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 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. In 2018 he made his debut at the London Handel Festival conducting Arne’s Judgement of Paris, which he subsequently recorded for Dutton. Recent releases include symphonic works by Christopher Wright with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for Toccata Classics, Sullivan’s ballet score L’île Enchantée for Dutton Epoch, and Works for Piano and Orchestra by Elizabeth Maconchy, Elisabeth Lutyens and Errollyn Wallen for Resonus.

As part of his commitment to education work, he has conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the West End Live Festival, and 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, 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 in the Czech Republic, and at the National Opera Studio. John Andrews was the recipient of the Leonard Ingrams Memorial Award 2012 from Garsington Opera and was awarded the special ‘Orchestra Prize’ at the First Bela Bartok Opera Conducting Competition in Romania in 2005. He completed a doctorate on the political and religious world of eighteenth-century oratorio.

Opera plans include a revival of Susanna’s Secret for Opera Holland Park. Future recording plans include Errollyn Wallen’s Orchestral Works for Resonus and Bantock’s The Seal Woman for Retrospect Opera.


Artist Videos

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


This, Der Wald’s first recording, argues its case persuasively. John Andrews manages to make the hour-long score sound at once concise and expansive, and we sense the hint of mystery that Smyth wanted to engender…” The Guardian, September 2023


“Eos (1975) is a dreamy soundscape, beautifully paced by conductor John Andrews.” The Arts Desk, June 2023

“This terrific recording features three composers, two pianists and one orchestra. All the pieces are premieres on disc – and they are discoveries you will want to hear again and again…the BBC Concert Orchestra under John Andrews capture the music’s bite and purpose.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2023

“The BBC Concert Orchestra…provide spot-on accompaniments throughout under John Andrews’s first direction.” Gramophone, May 2023

“To describe this album well is a difficult challenge, but thankfully this superb recording of Maconchy, Lutyens, and Errollyn Wallen speaks for itself. John Andrews handles the wild variety of the composers wonderfully.” Morning Star, April 2023

“It packs a punch, with the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by John Andrews, bouncing off the coiled spring of Martin Jones’s piano playing.” Guardian, March 2023


“…and the whole thing is exhilaratingly conducted by John Andrews.” Gramophone Editor’s Choice, October 2022

“…with sunny support from the brilliant Brook Street Band and John Andrews’s insouciant direction, this is a dragon’s dish to savour.” Opera Magazine, September 2022

“Orchestrally, this is meat and drink to The Brook Street Band and John Andrews who perform with admirable poise.” MusicWeb International, September 2022

“In this premiere recording, conductor John Andrews shrewdly reserves buffoonery for Carey and Lampe’s antic scenes, heightening the galant elements of duets and ensembles, and giving performers space for arresting explorations of Lampe’s lyricism.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2022


“The expert G&S conductor John Andrews was in the pit, keeping the score nicely on the move and bringing out all the skill and richness of its choral and orchestral writing.” Opera Magazine, September 2022

“In the pit, John Andrews and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra showed just what can be done when you treat Sullivan’s score with sympathy and seriousness. Even at its most comic, there was a serious element of Sullivan’s music making and it was lovely to have the music so finely played here…” planethughill, July 2022

“…just one of many sophisticated touches in the score which John Andrews’s sprightly conducting brings to life with the sonorous Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.” The Telegraph, June 2022

“…all under the baton of John Andrews, a conductor who absolutely understands Sullivan’s style – which is to say, he conducts it with the transparent, lyrical verve of early Mendelssohn.” Spectator, June 2022

“In the pit, John Andrews leads a compelling account of the score as the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra achieves high levels of precision while giving the music a free, easy and, above all, natural feel.”, July 2022


“Credit to the conductor John Andrews and the Northern Chamber Orchestra for delivering the score with such verve.” The Times, July 2021

“……the piece well deserves its new exposure. The festival has done it in conjunction with conductor John Andrews and Red Squirrel Opera, who made the recording (already winner of the BBC Music Magazine Opera Recording Award for 2021), and it puts the same cast, with one exception, on the stage, while Andrews conducts this time with the Northern Chamber Orchestra in the pit.” The Arts Desk, July 2021


“Arnold’s 1952 comic [The Dancing Master] opera emerges here as a musical gem under the watchful baton of John Andrews, whose lightness of touch is perfect for this brilliantly orchestrated score.” The Sunday Times, November 2020

“In short, it’s hard to imagine it done better. Arnold’s many admirers should snap it up, as should anyone interested in 20th-century British opera.” Editor’s Choice, Gramophone, November 2020

“This recording is first-rate. John Andrews conducts the BBC Concert Orchestra with a lilt and a smile..” Telegraph, November 2020

“Andrews keeps the pace brisk, capturing the wit and making a persuasive case for this 75-minute work. Arnold has his advocate: his star may be rising.” Guardian, October 2020

“Andrews and his cast breath real life into the opera and make it all sound easy, and the orchestra bubbles away delightfully so that each time I listened to it there were new little (and not so little) details that I came across.” Planet Hugill, October 2020


“The BBC Concert Orchestra and BBC Singers are a luxury in this repertoire, and John Andrews—who clearly loves this music and knows how to get it right—works wonders.” Opera News, September 2020

“Sullivan sans Gilbert’ does not disappoint thanks to the BBC Concert Orchestra and John Andrews.” Opera Today, July 2020

“This recording sets a new standard in the presentation of English light opera on disc. Andrews draws both grandeur and poetry from the BBC Concert Orchestra; there’s a dancelike spring to Sullivan’s rhythms and his orchestration – whether wry bassoon countermelodies or feather-light woodwind cascades – glows like never before…It’s hard to imagine that…D’Oyly Carte’s company performed these with anything like the sensitivity and finesse that they receive here from John Andrews and his cast.” Gramophone, June 2020

“The BBC forces are excellent. Conductor John Andrews makes the best possible case for all three pieces, bringing spirit, dash and sensitivity to his task.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2020


“John Andrews conducted Mozart’s brilliant score, bringing out all its delightful detail and proving not only a vitalising presence but one invariably sensitive to his singers’ needs.” Opera Now, December 2019

“Plaudits being in the pit, where John Andrews added to his tally of recent successes with a lithe, joyous account of Mozart’s score, drawing high-calibre playing from a 28-piece orchestra and raising the action into that state of bliss upon which a good production can take wing.” Opera Magazine, December 2019

“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


“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


“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


” …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


“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


“My stocking filler is this excellent recording of Arthur Sullivan’s Mendelssohnian Christmas Oratorio, conducted with zeal.” Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, December 2019

“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


“…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


“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.

Opera Repertoire

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
The Judgement of Paris Arne
Dutton Epoch LX7361
The Dancing Master Arnold
Resonus Classics RES10269
Captain Billy Cellier
Dutton Epoch LX7372
The Mountebanks Cellier
Dutton Epoch LX7349
Symphony No 5 in F minor Cowen
EM Records EMR CD047
Mr Jerico Ford
Dutton Epoch LX7372
The Dragon of Wantley Lampe
Resonus Classics RES10304
Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra Sherwood
EM Records EMR CD047
The Light of the World Sullivan
Dutton Epoch LX7356
L'ile Enchantée - complete ballet Sullivan
Dutton Epoch LX7404
Haddon Hall Sullivan
Dutton Epoch LX7372
Macbeth, The Tempest (Incidental Music) Sullivan
Dutton Epoch LX7331