Meet Our Conductors

Autumn Season Conductor:

Alexander Walker 

Alexander Walker‘s career has taken him all over the world. In the UK, he has conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in both concerts and the recording studio, conducting the prestigious Elgar Birthday concert with them in Malvern in 2011. He recently made a highly successful debut with the English Chamber Orchestra at London’s Cadogan Hall and he has also conducted the City of London Sinfonia, the BBC Philharmonic (with a concert broadcast on BBC Radio 3) and the New Queens Hall Orchestra in the UK.

In Moscow he is a regular guest conductor with the legendary Russian State Symphony Orchestra, as well as with Symphony Orchestra New Russia (Music Director: Yuri Bashmet), the Russian Philharmonic and Musica Viva, conducting concerts at Moscow’s

Tchaikovsky Hall, International Performing Arts Centre and elsewhere. International appearances have included concerts with Prague Philharmonia in the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum, the Belgrade Philharmonic, Belgrade Strings (broadcasting on National Television with them), the Georges Enescu Philharmonic, Bucharest, North Hungarian Symphony Orchestra and Wrocław State Symphony Orchestra. Highlights of recent seasons have included a performance of Britten’s War Requiem to mark the 70 years since the invasion of Poland in Lublin, Poland and the first ever production in Turkey of an Opera by Benjamin Britten, conducting The Turn of the Screw for the Istanbul State Opera. He also recently conducted the first production of Julian Grant’s new opera Prophet and Loss for Oundle International Festival. His pioneering recordings of orchestral music and music for violin and orchestra by Ignatz Waghalter and first two CDs of symphonies by Havergal Brian on Naxos with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra New Russia have won both critical and popular acclaim.

Alexander Walker studied with Ilya Musin at St. Petersburg Conservatoire and has since performed throughout the former Soviet Union where many of his concerts have been broadcast on National television and radio. He was Principal Guest Conductor of the Voronezh State Symphony Orchestra from 1999-2004. He is a regular guest conductor with the Mikkeli and Lappeenranta City Orchestras in Finland, and of the Esbjerg Ensemble and the Vestyjsk Sinfonieorkester in Denmark as well as many orchestras throughout Poland, the Balkans, Turkey and Romania.

He works regularly at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, touring with the Royal Ballet to the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theatres in Russia, throughout the USA including to the Metropolitan Opera and Kennedy Center, as well as to Singapore, Korea, Japan and Turkey. In addition to conducting performances at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, has conducted Swan Lake for Finnish National Opera, Cinderella for Scottish Ballet, Romeo and Juliet for Northern Ballet Theatre, and a production of The Nutcracker for the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo. His operatic repertoire includes the major operas of Verdi, Puccini and Mozart and Tchaikovsky as well as Tobias and the Angel, Carmen, Rusalka, Tristan und Isolde, Verbum Nobile (Moniuszko), A Life for the Tsar, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Gli Equivoci nel sembiante, Le Postillon de Lonjumeau (Adam), and Paradise Moscow. Companies he has worked for have included Opera North, Grange Park Opera, English Touring Opera, Oundle International Festival, Bampton Classical Opera, Chelsea Opera Group, European Chamber Opera, Opera de Baugé, London City Opera and the Ukrainian National Opera in Odessa.

He was awarded the Elgar Medal in 2017, the highest honour bestowed by the Elgar Society for the work to promote the British composer especially abroad. He teaches conducting at Trinity Laban Conservatoire and also teaches at the Royal Academy of Music.

Spring Season Conductor:

Jonathan Lo

Hong Kong-born Briton Jonathan Lo is currently Principal Guest Conductor of the Xi’an Symphny Orchestra, as well as Principal Conductor of the New Bristol Sinfonia & the Haffner Orchestra. In addition, Jonathan is a member of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, working primarily as a cover conductor for the Royal Ballet. As Music Director of the Manchester Chamber Choir, he is a regular chorus master for the BBC Philharmonic both in concert at the Bridgewater Hall, at the BBC Proms, and in the recording studio. He was a BBC Performing Arts Conducting Fellow with Birmingham Royal Ballet & Rambert, and continues to conduct for both companies regularly. In addition, Jonathan was Senior Lecturer in Conducting at the Leeds College of Music, and is currently a staff member of the music department at King’s College, London, where he is music director of the symphony orchestra and mentors young conductors.

Born in 1987, Jonathan read music at the University of Oxford, before going on to study conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music on a major scholarship. Jonathan was appointed to his first music directorship after winning the Oxford University’s conducting competition aged 18. Since then, Jonathan has conducted orchestras internationally and nationally, most notably the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, the Manchester Camerata, the Northern Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, the Scottish Ballet Orchestra and the Gabrieli Consort.

Born in 1987, Jonathan read music at the University of Oxford, before going on to study conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music on a major scholarship, graduating with distinction and winning the Mortimer Furber Prize in conducting contemporary music. He has worked and studied with conductors such as Sir Mark Elder, Jac van Steen, Pablo-Heras Cassado and Paul McCreesh. Jonathan was appointed to his first music directorship whilst at university, when he was appointed to the Oxford University Philharmonia after winning the University’s conducting competition aged 18. Since then, Jonathan has conducted orchestras internationally and nationally, most notably the Danish National Symphony Orchestra (Malko Competition), the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, the Rambert Orchestra, the Scottish Ballet Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, the Manchester Camerata, the Northern Chamber Orchestra, the Gabrieli Consort, the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra (Solon Michaelides Competition), the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra, the Fairey Band and the Orquestra do Algarve.

In the theatre, Jonathan has conducted performances of Swan Lake, Nutcracker, The Dream and Cinderella for BRB, Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling for Scottish Ballet, Transfigured Night, Frames, Dark Arteries, Ghost Dances and The Three Dancers for Rambert Dance Company in most UK venues including Sadler’s Wells, Wales Millennium Centre and the Lowry. Equally comfortable in opera, Jonathan has conducted performances of Don Giovanni, Cosi fan Tutte (Oxford Opera), Der Schauspieldirektor, Die Zauberflote (Opera Lyrica, Oxford), Les Noces, Anna Bolena (Opera Seria, Manchester), as well as giving premieres of operas such as Amy’s Last Dive by Cheryl Frances-Hoad.

 2018/19 season highlights include his debut with Northern Ballet conducting the world-premiere of Cathy Marston’s Victoria, debut with the BBC Philharmonic, as well as returning to Birmingham Royal Ballet for productions of La Fille mal Gardee and King Dances, and to Scottish Ballet for Christopher Hampson’s Cinderella.

Summer Season Conductor:

Benjamin Oliver

Benjamin Oliver is a composer, conductor and pianist.

Since 2011 he has conducted the Workers Union Ensemble who have commissioned works for their unique line-up by many young (and older) composers, performed around the UK and recently recorded a work by Matthew Kaner for broadcast on BBC Radio 3. He has also worked with a range of professional, youth, amateur and student ensembles and orchestras including London Sinfonietta, Kent County Youth Orchestra and University of Leeds Union Symphony Orchestra. In November 2014 he conducted the premiere of Michael Finnissy’s Remembrance Day, performed by students from the University of Southampton alongside members of the London Sinfonietta and Exaudi Vocal Ensemble. In February 2017 he directed ‘The Loop Project’ which featured Ivo Neame (piano), Jasper Høiby (bass) and Jon Scott (drums) performing alongside the HARTLEY Loop Orchestra.

Benjamin composes, in the main, contemporary instrumental music. More than fifty of his works have been performed and his music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Performers of his music include Yshani Perinpanayagam (piano), London Sinfonietta, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Paramirabo (Montreal) and Elizabeth Kenny (theorbo).

Ben is Associate Professor in Composition at the University of Southampton, and lives in Bitterne Park with his family and imaginary dog.