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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Apoteosico Vadim Repin

Luis Alfonso Bes, Zaragosa

November, 2015 | Kynan Johns al frente de la Neychors-Orquestra Classica Santa Cecilia, dirigó disfrutando de la esfera sonora, con la 'Sinfonia No.3, Escocesa' de F. Mendelssohn, donde trazó de maravilla sus amplios dibujos sonoros que resultaron nitidos y bien coloreados. Entrada perfecta en ese traicionero 'pizzicato' inicial del adagio y magnificamente aprovechado el sonido en todos los pasajes con volumen orquestral crecido, dando contraste a los logradisimos claroscuros melodicós que ofrece esta sinfoniaRead full article...

Faust - a memorable devil of a gothic horror show

Graham Strahle, The Australian

August, 2015 | Most of all it was Kynan Johns directing the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra who best understood the sensibility of Gounod’s music. The warmth, cohesiveness and lyrical openness he brought to the score were exceptionalRead full article...

Opera Review: Faust

Nicola Woodford, Glam Adelaide

August, 2015 |Faust is bursting with desires and deviance. It boasts ethereal music, an organ solo, theatrics and acrobatics, tongue-in-cheek comedy, and a hauntingly beautiful ballet sequence. The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra performed flawlessly under Conductor, Kynan Johns. The chorus, dancers, and supernumeraries created a dazzling on-stage display.. Read full article...

Teddy Tahu Rhodes has a devil of a time with State Opera SA's FAUST

Ewart Shaw, Adelaide Advertiser

August, 2015 | FAUST sells his soul for youth and love. For centuries this cautionary tale has mesmerised audiences. This production of Gounod’s masterpiece fills the Festival Theatre in an overwhelming evening of grand opera on a grand scale; unabashed theatricality, humour and subversion, boisterous crowd scenes and moments of deeply touching intimacy, good and evil, love and passion. Opera means ‘the works’ and that’s what you get. The devil doesn’t have all the best tunes and Kynan Johns’ grasp of Gounod’s long indulgent melodic lines, and the suave playing of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, is entrancing. It’s a long opera, the first half one and three quarters hours, and Johns ensures dramatic momentum.Read full article...

Magnificent Faust

Jane Savage, Global Media Post

August, 2015 | This brilliantly sung production has everything including sex, murder and corruption and is very entertaining.  The audience is treated to the powerful sounds of the pipe organ. There also is Cabaret-style dancing, which is both sexy and sassy as well as graceful classical ballet. 

The music by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra conducted by talented Kynan Johns is second to none.  The stage settings and the costumes are authentic, making it easy to drift back to an era when religion was powerful with high moral expectations and shameless sinners were shunned. Read full article...

Faust's Modern Makeover

Diana Carroll, In Daily

August, 2015 | Hidden in the pit, the ASO played beautifully under the leadership of Kynan Johns. The conductor maintained a restrained pace, sensibly refusing to be caught up in the hysteria of the plot. He also ensured the music didn’t overwhelm the singing.  The State Opera Chorus were as good as they’ve ever been and the ballet troupe were really superb. Read full article...


Kerry Cooper, Stage Whispers

August, 2015 | Under conductor Kynan Johns the cast give voice to an impressive score; breathing life into beautiful arias and duets. Read full article...

BWW Review: Faust is a spectacular work

Barry Lenny, BWW Opera World

August, 2015 | Conductor, Kynan Johns, is responsible for a remarkable production, having at his command our marvellous Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the always superb State Opera Chorus. Impeccable work by both of these groups is a hallmark of State Opera's productions, and this is no exception. The Soldiers' Chorus sounded as though there were a hundred in the chorus. Read full article...

McVicar's inspiring Faust triumphs

Brian Angus, Bachtrack

August, 2015 | Kynan Johns, returning to Adelaide, conducted the ever-impressive Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in fine sound to enrich the performance, no place more so than when their delicate playing went hand in glove with Faust’s suave seduction of Marguerite in Act III. Read full article...

Hedonism, That Alluring Seductress, Can’t Chase Away Harsh Realities

Zachary Woolfe, New York Times

April 25, 2013 | We hope and expect that the arts can play a political role in our culture. They can’t, and shouldn’t, necessarily bear tangible fruit — they can’t elect a candidate or pass a bill — but they should cause us to reflect on our moment. Read full article...

MSM presents Kurt Weill's Mahagonny

Paul J. Pelkonen, Superconductor

2013 | On Wednesday night, the brilliant and enthusiastic student artists of the Manhattan School of Music mounted a new production of Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (" Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny") at Borden Auditorium, delivering the show's searing moral message with a performance of high artistic quality. 


Manhattan School of Music delivers a smart, sassy ‘Mahagonny'

James Jorden, New York Post

April 26, 2013 | The fresh faces of Manhattan School of Music’s student singers stared down a city of sin Thursday night in “Mahagonny,” about the rise and fall of a lawless town in a fantasy America battered by jazz and hurricanes. Read full article...

For Strauss in the Spring, Fresh Voices And Respect

James R. Oestreich, New York Times

April 24, 2009 | It seemed a dubious prospect: a presentation of a bubbly holiday favorite, Johann Strauss’s “Fledermaus,” in April. Would it have the dispiriting effect of Christmas decorations left to linger into the new year? Read full article...

Grandes ambitions, belles realites

Pablo Galonce, Le Monde de la musique

February 2007 | Click here for a PDF of the review...

Rejoice in the Art of Precision

David Vance, The Sydney Morning Herald

December 11, 2006 | There were about 300 reasons to rejoice in Friday evening's performance of Handel's Messiah. Telling good tidings to Zion came readily to that number of singers belonging to the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and assembled under the animated direction of guest conductor Kynan Johns. Read full article...