John Wilson took up the role of Principal Conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in 2014. One of the most exciting conductors and arrangers on the scene, Wilson had worked with the orchestra since 2004 and had been the Principal Guest Conductor since 2009.
Born in Gateshead on Tyneside in 1972, Wilson studied composition and conducting at the Royal College of Music, where he won all the major conducting prizes and the coveted Tagore Gold Medal for the most outstanding student. He has since established an enviable reputation as a conductor, arranger and scholar, and is recognised internationally as an expert in the fields of light music, jazz and music for screen.
He arranged and conducted the music for Kevin Spacey's film Beyond the Sea, orchestrated and conducted several of Paul McCartney's compositions with the London Symphony Orchestra, and his arrangements and orchestrations have been played by the Chicago Symphony, Boston Pops and Cleveland orchestras.
As well as his role as Principal Guest Conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Wilson is Principal Conductor of the Northern Sinfonia and also works regularly with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the CBSO, the Philharmonia and the BBC orchestras.
His performances with his own John Wilson Orchestra, a handpicked collection of leading players from orchestras across the UK and Ireland, have introduced him to the widest audiences with their immensely popular televised appearances at the BBC Proms. His 2009 Prom celebrating 75 years of MGM musicals was a sensation. Televised live on BBC Two and watched by 3.5 million viewers, it generated so much public demand that it was repeated three times, released on DVD and led directly to an exclusive recording contract with his eponymous orchestra on EMI (now Warner Music Group). Since then, the annual visit of the John Wilson Orchestra has become one of the hottest tickets of the BBC Proms, with Hollywood Rhapsody the most recent to sell out the Royal Albert Hall in August.
Wilson's dedication to this repertoire is evidenced by his painstaking, bar-by-bar reconstruction of 'lost' orchestral scores of MGM musicals. Engaged by MGM to reconstruct the orchestrations of all their major musicals, including High Society and Singin' in the Rain, he gave the first European performances of the restored score of The Wizard of Oz synchronised with the film. Irish audiences have seen him conduct the RTÉ CO in a series of highly successful Wizard of Oz screenings, as well as in screenings of classic song-and-dance routines, Gotta Dance!
Another hugely popular strand of his Dublin appearances has focused on the great musicals of stage and screen, performed in their original arrangements and featuring internationally renowned guest vocalists such as Kim Criswell, Anna-Jane Casey, Rodney Earl Clarke, Matt Ford, Annalene Beechey, Elizabeth Llewellyn, Julian Ovenden and Clare Teal.
Proinnsías Ó Duinn
In 2003 Proinnsías Ó Duinn was appointed Conductor Laureate of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra after holding the position of Principal Conductor since 1978. Originally a cellist, Proinnsías was appointed Conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in 1963. After this he held the position of Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional del Ecuador. Shortly after being invited to take the position with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, he became Music Director and Conductor of Our Lady's Choral Society, a position he has held since. As a composer he has written music for most genres from chamber music to symphonic and television music. Proinnsías's repertoire covers the entire spectrum, from popular to symphonic and includes many national and world premières. He has conducted both the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in a wide-ranging repertoire on CD for Marco Polo and Naxos. He conducted the now famous Riverdance and Seville Suite on CD and returned to Spain recently to conduct the Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia. In 2005, he returned to the OSN in Ecuador. In 2007, he returned to Germany for further concerts in Trier and Koblenz. As Music Director of Our Lady's Choral Society, he conducted three concerts in 2007 under the banner 'Mostly Mozart', ending in the National Concert Hall with the Mozart orchestration of Handel's Messiah in December. Each year he conducts massed choirs from around the world and the orchestra of the Hallé Opera House in a festival established to celebrate the birth of Handel.