Kynan Johns, conductor

"Incisive... first rate... brilliant" - New York TImes
"His direction breathes theater... attentive to the singer, lively, aerial and sensual" - Le Monde de la Musique

A protégé of Maestro Lorin Maazel, Kynan Johns has conducted over 100 orchestras including the Israel Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, and Vienna Chamber Orchestra. He has worked at Covent Garden, conducted at La Scala, and worked with Maazel and Mehta for four seasons at the Palau de les Arts (Opera House) in Spain. In addition to complete Beethoven, Brahms, Strauss and Mahler cycles his opera credits include Don Giovanni, Madame Butterfly, Luisa Miller, Don Carlos, Turn of the Screw, La Boheme, Traviata, Faust, Adés's Powder Her Face & Offenbach's Perichole.

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Short Biography

A protégé of Maestro Lorin Maazel, Kynan Johns served as Director Assistente at the Palau de les Arts, Valencia, Spain to both Maazel and Mehta. A native of Australia he has conducted the Israel Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonica della Scala, Netherlands Radio Symphony and Sydney and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras amongst many others. In Opera, he has worked at Covent Garden, conducted at Italy's famed 'La Scala', Maazel’s 1984 and Don Giovanni, Madame Butterfly, Luisa Miller and Don Carlos in Valencia; Don Giovanni with OperMagdeburg, Britten's Turn of the Screw in Rouen and La Bohème & Faust for the State Opera of South Australia. Johns was on the conducting staff for the final three seasons with New York City Opera, working on Adès's Powder Her Face, Chin's Alice in Wonderland (arr. Johns) Offenbach's La Perichole and Turnage's Anna Nicole. Most recent engagements have included Der Zigeunerbaron for MSM, where he had in previous seasons conducted Mahagonny & Die Fledermaus, debuts with the Dortmunder Philharmoniker, Orquestra Metropolitana Lisboa, Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon Le-Ziyyon, New West Symphony, as well as returns to the Orquesta Clásica Santa Cecilia, Madrid and the Asturias Symphony Orchestra (OSPA). He was awarded the inaugural 'Centenary Medal' from the Australian Government for his services to music and serves as Director of Orchestras at Rutgers University. A prize winner of many international competitions including the Mitropoulos, Maazel/ Vilar and Besancon, he is represented by CAMI, New York. Upcoming engagements include Verdi’s Requiem, Opera Gala at Teatro Real, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Mahler’s Second Symphony with the Orquesta Clàsica Santa Cecilia, Madrid as well as returns to New West Symphony and the Adelaide Intervarsity Festival in 2019.


Full Biography

Resident Conductor to Lorin Maazel and Zubin Mehta at the new Palau de les Arts “Reina Sofia”, Valencia, Spain (2006-2010). Maestro Johns has established an enviable reputation throughout Europe, Australia, Israel and America. Major prize winner in the prestigious Dmitris Mitropoulos International Conducting Competition, finalist in the Maazel/ Vilar International conducting competition and semi-finalist in the 49th Besanҫon International Conducting competition, Johns has conducted orchestras and opera companies throughout the world including amongst others the Israel Philharmonic, Israel Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, Philharmonica della Scala, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Dortmunder Philharmoniker, Sydney Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, New Zealand Symphony and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and is deservedly regarded as a leading conductor of the younger generation.

At Italy's famed Teatro alla Scala, Johns conducted Maazel’s opera 1984, having previously assisted at Covent Garden for the world premiere. In Valencia, he conducted numerous symphonic and opera performances including acclaimed performances of Das Lied von der Erde, Luisa MillerMadama Butterfly, Don Giovanni, Don Carlos and Faust. Major soloists Johns has worked with include violinists Julian Rachlin, Vadim Repin, Philippe Quint, Lara St. John and Clara Jumi Kang; pianists Peter Donohoe, Inon Bartanan & Aldo Ciccolini; trumpeter Maurice Andrè and singers Placido Domingo, Olga Peretyatko, Marina Poplovskaya, Marcello Alvarez and Barbara Frittoli.

Johns first swept to prominence in 2004 when he replaced an indisposed Wolfgang Sawallisch, conducting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in performances of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, earning much critical acclaim with many comparing him to Kubelik.

Having served as principal conductor of the Ashdod Chamber Orchestra, Resident-Assistant Conductor for the Chinese National Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Northern Symphony and Resident Associate conductor to the Symphony Australia network, Johns made his debut back in 1997 with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (Australia) and conducts regularly all major symphony orchestras throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Following his European debut, conducting Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony with the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra in the famed Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Johns developed an ongoing relationship with the Limburgs Sinfonie Orkest, with whom as a frequent guest he has conducted Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem and symphonies of Sibelius, Shostakovich, Schumann, Tchaikovsky & Walton. More recently, he has developed on ongoing relationship with the Orquesta Clásica Santa Cecilia, Madrid, where he has conducted Brahms’ Symphony No.4, Mahler’s Symphony No.5, Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 and 5, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique. With OSPA, the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias he has conducted Mahler’s Symphony No.4, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration as well as Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony.

Other Recent highlights have included Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique with the New West Symphony Orchestra, Strauss’s Der Zigeunerbaron with MSMOpera Theatre, Gounod’s Faust with the State Opera of South Australia and Turn of the Screw with Opéra de Rouen Haute-Normandie (France).

Holding a BM (composition) and a MM (conducting), Johns studied with Maestros Lorin Maazel, David Porcelijn, Kurt Masur, Eri Klas, Peter Eötvos, Ton Koopman, and Noam Sheriff. He has been a recipient of numerous awards including the inaugural Australian Centenary Medal – conferred by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queens Trust Award, ‘Emerging Artist of the Year’ and Young Australian of the Year.

Upcoming engagements include Beethoven’s Ninth and Eight Symphonies, Verdi’s Requiem as well as opera galas in Madrid and Barcelona, as well as his annual Strauss Feliz Año Ňuevo concerts at the Teatro Real. Madrid and Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony with the New West Symphony.

Since 2003, Maestro Johns has also served as Director of Orchestras at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.