John Gibbons, Musical Director

external image john.jpgJohn Gibbons, St Albans Chamber Choir’s musical director, is renowned for his communication with audiences and was awarded a special prize by the British Music Society in 2000 for this. John has always encompassed a broad range of disciplines within the musical world: he enjoys conducting opera, orchestral concerts, choral concerts, and chamber choirs, as well as performing as a pianist and organist.

John Gibbon's web site

John Gibbons studied at Queens’ College, Cambridge, the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music, winning numerous awards as a conductor, pianist and accompanist. He has conducted across the globe with notable opera productions at the Spier Festival in South Africa, the Crested Butte Festival in Colorado and the Romanian premiere of Walton’s First Symphony with the Georges Enescu Philharmonic, and a host of world premieres in the UK including the Third Orchestra Set by Charles Ives and William Alwyn’s Violin Concerto. He has recorded a number of discs including Skalkottas with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the string concertos of Arthur Benjamin for the Dutton Epoch label and the soundtrack for Laura Rossi’s score to the film The Battle of Ancre.
John has conducted numerous acclaimed productions for Opera Holland Park and conducted most of the major British orchestras including the RPO, RSNO. CBSO, LPO, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the Ulster Orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. John is Principal Conductor of Worthing Symphony Orchestra, the professional orchestra of West Sussex, presenting concerts in the stunning acoustics of the Assembly Hall, Worthing, with an array of international artists which has recently included Nicola Benedetti, Idil Biret, Julian Bliss, Julian Lloyd-Webber, and the BBC Young Musicians Lara Melda and Laura van der Heijden. Since October 2009 John and WSO have appeared annually at the Malcolm Arnold Festival in Northampton and return there on Sunday 21st October 2012 with Julian Lloyd-Webber as soloist.
As well as working with St Albans Chamber Choir, John’s choral conducting includes Clifton Cathedral Choir, where he is choral director, and several large choirs. In recent years he has led enormous children’s choirs in performances in Symphony Hall, Birmingham of Requiem and Stabat Mater by Karl Jenkins and annually directs the Ulverston Festival Chorus. In the autumn of 2012 he will chorus-master the Royal College of Music’s performance of Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast.
John was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in recognition of his welcoming approach to audiences. He works closely with composer Karl Jenkins and set up and ran two national tours of Karl’s choral music in conjunction with EMI Classics. He made the official reduced orchestral version of Karl’s Stabat Mater as well as an acclaimed new reduced orchestral version of Walton’s opera Troilus & Cressida for Opera St Louis, Missouri. In January 2012 his condensed version of Puccini’s opera Fanciulla del West, West End Girl, premiered to much critical acclaim in London.
John’s other interests include garden design, cooking, music talks with such provocative titles as Is Live music Dead? and sport, in particular his football team - Wolverhampton Wanderers – a passion he shares with the late Sir Edward Elgar. As composer John has written a film score for the BFI as well as choral works for Clifton Cathedral. His choir and brass work Woefully arrayed was recently performed by St Albans Chmaber Choir in St Albans Cathedral. whilst his most recent work Verbum Caro will be premiered in Tewkesbury Abbey in December 2012.
John is chairman of the British Music Society, promoting and preserving British music, and a Trustee of the William Alwyn Foundation. Future engagements include the world premiere of Malcolm Arnold’s opera The Dancing Master, a showing of The Battle of the Somme with live orchestral score on Remembrance Sunday in Worthing and a special Wagner Scena to celebrate his bicentenary with Sir John Tomlinson and Worthing Symphony Orchestra on Saturday 25th May 2013.

Recent reviews

SEEN AND HEARD UK CONCERT REVIEW – Frank Bridge, Stravinsky and Rachmaninov: Alexander Soares (piano), Ealing Symphony Orchestra, John Gibbons,St Barnabas’s Church, Pitshanger Lane, Ealing, London, 20.2.2010 (BBr)
“Gibbons is a most undemonstrative conductor on the podium – I have the feeling that he sees himself as a conduit, through which the music must pass so as to allow the music he is directing to be heard as clearly as possible, for he never imposes himself between the music and the audience – but the results he achieves are quite stunning.”
” . . . with Gibbons’s knowledge of music, and his insights, it was thoroughly enjoyable and easily enjoyed. Bravo to all concerned.”
” . . . for here again, is an example of Gibbons’s understanding of music. “Too many people see Le Sacre as an orchestral showpiece, but it’s not, it’s a piece for dance”, he told me, and his approach was just that.”