JOHN ANDREWS ANNOUNCED AS NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA PRINCIPAL GUEST CONDUCTOR
The UK’s National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) today announced the appointment of John Andrews as Principal Guest Conductor. John will hold this position from March 2017 for an initial period of three years. The announcement follows his performance with the Orchestra at Westminster Central Halls last summer.
Described in The Observer as a ‘tremendous young conductor’ John is currently making a series of world-premiere recordings with the BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Singers and BBC Symphony Chorus for Dutton Epoch focusing on English music of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The first of these – Arthur Sullivan’s incidental Music for Macbeth and The Tempest– was named a Disc of the Year in The Sunday Times, described by Hugh Canning as ‘pure delight.’ John is also Principal Conductor of the 2018 International Composers Festival and Conductor-in-Association with the English Symphony Orchestra.
In the world of opera, John is a tireless champion of the Italian bel canto. Describing his conducting of the British stage premiere of Donizetti’s Pia de’ Tolomei for English Touring Opera, Robert Thicknesse in Opera Now noted his ‘highly cultured, shapely and pressing direction’ adding ‘I've rarely heard ETO's orchestra sound so compelling.’ Praising his conducting of the award-winning production of Don Giovanni one reviewer commented: ‘Conductor John Andrews kept it racing along, finding the light, shade and sexiness of Mozart’s score – I’ve never heard an orchestra sound quite so hot-to-trot in Zerlina’s[aria] Batti, batti.’ Other recent credits include Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel with the Young Artists of Garsington Opera, and a hugely successful Die EntführungausdemSerail for the Rostock Volkstheater.
John Andrews was born in Nairobi in 1976 and brought up in Manchester. He came to orchestral music by a roundabout route via the intensely competitive Brass Band tradition, having been introduced to the tuba through his Local Authority’s peripatetic music service. He went on to study at Cambridge, graduating with a PhD in 2008. Passionate about keeping music available to the widest possible audience, John teaches on the Cambridge Music Hubs programme, and has lectured at the Elgar School of Music and the Blackheath Conservatoire. His gift for combining empathy and feel for both music and musicians with an ability to directly and powerfully communicate his ideas, together with his passion for locating music in its social and historical context, brings dynamism and warmth to his interpretations of both rare and classic repertoire.
The NSO is admired for both its versatility, its ability to communicate and to connect with audiences with virtuosity, commitment and passion. It was founded in the 1940’s and immediately became a significant recording orchestra. From the 1980’s the reputation and standing of the orchestra surged forwards, successfully performing and recording for audiences in a dynamic range of genres: Classical, Film and TV scores, West End and Broadways Musicals, accompanying celebrated international singers, all of which it continues to do to this day.
Justin Pearson, General Manager and Artistic Director of the NSO, said: ‘John Andrews is a conductor who is clearly going to enhance his growing reputation for versatility, musicality and energy. Musicians of the National Symphony Orchestra have immediately responded to his vision and have singled him out as a major charismatic talent. NSO look forward to working with John on range of innovative projects over coming years.’
In describing John, Matthew Scrivener, leader of NSO and English National Ballet Philharmonic added:‘John Andrews is an excellent musician with integrity and clear direction and with whom it is a pleasure to work. He will be a great asset to the NSO and a fine complement to our Music Director, Anthony Inglis.’
Speaking about his new position, John Andrews said: ‘I am absolutely thrilled to be taking up this post with such a wonderful group of talented and versatile musicians. They are a delight to work with and I am looking forward to a rich and rewarding mixture of projects over the seasons to come.’ As Principal Guest Conductor, John will conduct both recording sessions and live concerts across a wide range of repertoire and styles.