Conductor

John Nelson


Artistic Director, Soli Deo Gloria

Directeur Musical Honoraire, Orchestre de chambre de Paris


Internationally renowned for his interpretation of the large romantic repertoire, including the great works of Berlioz, John Nelson has conducted most of the world's top orchestras including the London Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras and the New York Philharmonic.  John Nelson's varied repertoire has also taken him to many of the world's major opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, the Chicago Lyric, the Opera Bastille and the Netherlands Opera. 

High praise from Gramophone Magazine for John Nelson’s Matthew Passion

04 Jul 2013

Gramophone magazine lavished praise on John Nelson’s Matthew Passion performance with Orchestre de Chambre de Paris and Schola Cantorum...

Two new DVD releases featuring John Nelson - Beethoven: Missa Solemnis and Haydn: The Creation

12 Dec 2011

Two new DVDs featuring John Nelson have been released by Ideale Audience, Beethoven's Missa...

John Nelson's success in San Diego

12 Dec 2011

With conductor John Nelson, you can turn off the automatic pilot that often takes over when orchestras play war horses such as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. He approached the Ninth — in particular...

John Nelson acclaimed concerts with Evgeny Kissin and Boston Symphony Orchestra

14 Apr 2011

John Nelson recently conducted three acclaimed concerts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and pianist Evgeny Kissin.

The three concerts at Symphony Hall, Boston took place over 1 April to...

John Nelson returns to Europe

30 Sep 2010

Having recently conducted the Singapore Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No 5, John Nelson returns to Europe, touring with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra to Milan, Antwerp...

New signing: John Nelson

02 Jun 2010

ICA is delighted to announce the signing for worldwide management of conductor John Nelson.

Artistic director of Soli Deo Gloria and Directeur Musicale Honoraire of the Ensemble Orchestral...

Page 1 of 2

“John Nelson's temperament and heart return to some identifiable signposts for those who are drawn to the inner wonders of this visceral and shimmering journey... the corporate momentum in this reading is quite compelling... Nelson gets to the core of this work with his avuncular didacticism and genial control... true characterisation, tenderness, ardour and an attentiveness to detail [Schola Cantorum of Oxford] which fuels Nelson's rounded and mature vision of the St Matthew.”

Gramophone Magazine St Matthew Passion DVD Review - Jul 2013

“John Nelson’s bracing tempos and vivacity consistently brought out the ingenuity and melodic richness of the music with a freshness and rhythmic lift.”

Chicago Classical Review (Soli Deo Gloria, The Chicago Bach Project, Bach’s B Minor Mass) - Apr 2013

“Elegance, virtuosity, serenely quiet expression, and dance-like grace became a painting in sound of extraordinary radiance under the expert direction of Nelson. This was supremely refined music-making, infused with great sensibility…splendid tonal and dynamic subtlety.”

Mittelbadische Presse (Schnittke, Haydn, Part, Mozart, Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra) - Mar 2013

“Symphonie Fantastique was the wild ride it should be. Nelson, one of the world's leading Berlioz men, held nothing back; what we heard was indeed the composer whom German poet Heine likened to "a lark as big as an eagle, such as must have existed in the primeval world”

New Zealand Herard (Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra) - Jul 2012

“Nelson commanded the vast  forces with authority and dramatic flair. From feathery hushes to great slashes of violins and blasts of brass, the orchestra played splendidly. Climaxes sent chills down the back, but never got raucous. Let’s add Nelson to a list of guests to bring back”

Dallas News (Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Berlioz Te Deum and Mozart Symphony No 39) - Mar 2012

“It seems unlikely that Beethoven's vision of the work will ever be more completely captured”

BBC Music Magazine (Missa Solemnis DVD, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Gulbenkian Choir) - Mar 2012

“John Nelson leads a powerful performance of this daunting score. Nelson responds to the music's variety, infusing the flowing cantablies with a lovely buoyancy, playing the introspective passages with sustained concentration.”

Opera News (Missa Solemnis DVD, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Gulbenkian Choir) - Feb 2012

“John Nelson understands the paradoxes and contradictions that sit at the heart of this piece: questions are posed but rarely answered.  Right from the first bars of the Kyrie you can tell that interpretational fervour is a high priority, magnificently borne out by the fiery Gloria.”

Gramophone Magazine (Missa Solemnis DVD, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Gulbenkian Choir) - Feb 2012

“John Nelson speaks Berlioz without accent.  Who, better than he, can re-establish 'L'Enfance du Christ'?  The Ensemble Orchestral de Paris covers itself with glory by his concern for transparency.”

Le Figaro (L'Enfance du Christ, The Ensemble Orchestral de Paris)

“A splendid  achievement.... John Nelson steers it all with a sure hand and total conviction, and with delight.  Here indeed is the 'verve and vitality'  Berlioz always believed he had found. ”

Gramophone Magazine (Berlioz Benvenuto Cellini, Virgin Classics)

“....wonderfully conducted.... a glorious achievement.”

The Sunday Times (UK) (Beatrice et Benedict, Welsh National Opera)

“I have nothing but rapture to express about this great interpretation of one of Handel's supreme masterpieces.”

Fanfare Magazine (L'Allegro, il penseroso ed it moderator (Virgin Classics))

“The Netherlands Philharmonic played with precision and subtlety under the direction of John Nelson, who has been hailed as a Berlioz specialist and indeed gave the marvellous score a captivating, detailed and inspired reading full of magical moments and overpowering drama.”

Opera Magazine

Page 1 of 3

Internationally renowned for his interpretation of the large romantic repertoire, including the great works of Berlioz, John Nelson has conducted most of the world's top orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras and the New York Philharmonic.  John Nelson's varied repertoire has also taken him to many of the world's major opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, the Chicago Lyric, Opéra National de Paris and the Netherlands Opera.

Central to John Nelson's work is the interpretation of the great sacred choral literature.   He is presently conducting a series of live DVD performances of this repertoire including Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Haydn's Die Schöpfung with the Netherlands Radio Kammerphilharmonie and Bach's St Matthew Passion with the Orchestre de chambre de Paris.  He is the recipient of numerous awards including a Grammy for his recording of Handel's Semele on the Deutsche Grammophon label and a Diapason d'Or de l'Année for Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict on Erato.

Born in Costa Rica, John Nelson studied at the Juilliard School, New York, where he won the Irving Berlin prize in conducting. He has held the title of Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Caramoor Music Festival in New York. From 1998 to 2008 he was Directeur Musicale of the Orchestre de chambre de Paris. He has also been Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Lyon and Artistic Adviser to the Nashville and Louisville Orchestras.

John Nelson made his professional opera debut at the New York City Opera in Bizet’s Carmen and his Metropolitan Opera debut stepping in at short notice to replace an indisposed Rafael Kubelik in Berlioz’s Les Troyens. It was this occasion that catapulted him into the limelight and led to his European debut at Grand Théâtre de Genève for Les Troyens and his French debut at the Berlioz Festival, Lyon for a production of Béatrice et Bénédict.

Recent and future engagements include Boston Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Cincinnati Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Danish National Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Royal Flanders Philharmonic, Lucerne Symphony, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Singapore Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, Sao Paulo Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestras.  Opera engagements include performances of Les Troyens and Idomeneo at Netherlands Opera,  La finta giardiniera at La Monnaie and Marriage of Figaro at Santa Fe Opera.

August 2014