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.

ResumeRepertorie • Recordings

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. 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 Boheme 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 Adés's Powder Her Face, Chin's Alice in Wonderland (arr. Johns) Offenbach's Perichole and Turnage's Anna Nicole, Mahagonny for MSM as well as debuting with the Dortmund Philharmonic, Orquestra Metropolitana Lisbon, Israel Symphony Orchestra and returns to the Limburg Symphony, Netherlands, Orquestra Santa Cecilia, Madrid and the Asturias Symphony Orchestra. 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 Gounod's Faust for State Opera of South Australia, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and the Missa Solemnis in Madrid and Mendelssohn's Third Symphony with Vadim Repin playing Bruch's Violin Concerto.


Full Biography

Resident Conductor to Lorin Maazel and Zubin Mehta at the new Palau de les Arts “Reina Sofia”, Valencia, Spain (2006-2011). 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 Besancon 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, 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 Opera de la Scala, Johns conducted Maazel’s opera 1984, having previously assisted at Covent Garden for the world premiere and through his position in Valencia has conducted numerous symphonic and opera performances including recently acclaimed productions and performances of Das Lied von der Erde, Luisa Miller and Madama Butterfly, Don Giovanni, Don Carlos and Faust.

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 orchestra’s 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 Limburg Symphony Orchestra with whom as a frequent guest has conducted Brahms Ein Deutches Requiem and symphonies by Sibelius, Shostakovich, Schumann, Tchaikovsky & Walton. Recent engagements have included Turn of the Screw with Opera de la Haute Normandie (Rouen, France) and concerts with the Asturias Symphony Orchestra (Spain), Orquestra Santa Cecilia (Madrid), North-West Deutsche Philharmonie (Germany), Philharmonica de La Scala (Italy), Sydney Symphony, Beijing Symphony Orchestra and Chinese National Symphony Orchestra (China), Manhattan School of Music Opera Theatre, Santa Barbara Symphony and the Grand Rapids and Lafayette Symphony (USA). Holding a deep affinity with the theater with both opera and music theater, Johns is well regarded for his music theater performances, including numerous Broadway style concerts, as well as works by Kurt Weill, Bernstein, Gershwin, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lloyd Weber and Cole Porter.

Holding a BM (composition) and a MM (conducting), Johns has studied with Maestros Lorin Maazel, David Porcelijn, Kurt Masur, Eri Klas, Peter Eotvos, 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 Gounod's Faust for State Opera of South Australia Anna Nicole, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Missa Solemnis (Madrid) and Brahms's Third Symphony, Mahler's First Symphony, Cosi Fan Tutte and Wagner's Ring without Words (arr. Maazel).

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