Whether on the concert platform or in the opera house pit, the list of world-class ensembles that Jonathan Darlington has conducted in his career is extensive. In the most recent past they include: the Staatskapelle Dresden , the Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin, l’Orchestre National de France, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. He is renowned for his broad repertoire and equally at home in baroque or contemporary music.
For the last ten years he has been music director of Vancouver Opera and the Duisburger Philharmoniker. With both ensembles he has enjoyed a hugely successful relationship. With the latter that success was recently rewarded with the German Music Publisher’s prize for the best concert season 2009-10 and the Echo Klassic prize for the best concerto recording with Susanna Yoko-Henkel 2011. Earlier this year Jonathan Darlington received the ‘Mercartorplakette’ in honour of his services to music and cultural life in the city of Duisburg and the region and the coveted “Musikpreis der Stadt Duisburg in Verbindung mit der Köhler-Osbar-Stiftung” for 2011. Past recipients include Yehudi Menuhin, Alfred Brendel, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Hans Werner Henze, Krzysztof Penderecki, Pina Bausch
Jonathan Darlington is music director of Vancouver Opera and, until last year, was music director of the Duisburger Philharmonic Orchestra. His passionate yet refined approach to music making has done much to increase the popularity and artistic quality of both orchestras.
The hallmark of his work is a charismatic enthusiasm and acute sensitivity with regard to orchestral colour and balance. He possesses a vast symphonic and operatic repertoire that ranges from the Baroque to the Contemporary and has a reputation for structuring programmes that take the listener on a fascinating musical journey owing to their strong inner dramaturgical thread.
He is fluent in several languages, at home in three countries and thrives on the music making that emerges as a result of the contact with different cultures and traditions. Whether on the concert platform or in the opera house, the list of world-class ensembles that Jonathan Darlington has conducted is impressive. Most recently these include the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Future invitations include his debut at the Wien Staatsoper and reinvitations to Opera Norway and Opera Australia as well as continuing his relationships with Dresden Semperoper, Frankfurt Opera, Deutsche Oper am Rhein and symphony orchestras in Montpellier and Bordeaux.
Jonathan Darlington began his career as a freelance pianist, chamber musician and repetiteur. Born in Lapworth near Birmingham, UK, he was a cathedral chorister at Worcester Cathedral and went on a music ‘exhibition’ to King’s School Worcester. He subsequently studied music at Durham University, (graduating with a BA honours degree), and then piano at The Royal Academy of Music in London.
After graduation he moved to Paris where, as a freelance pianist for Radio France, he worked with some of the most outstanding musical personalities of our time; Pierre Boulez - “Le Soleil des eaux”, Riccardo Muti - Verdi’s “Requiem”, Olivier Messiaen – “Trois Petites Liturgies” etc… His activities as an accompanist led him to work in several opera houses as a repetiteur - (Glyndebourne tour, L’Opéra de Nancy, Opera North) - and he became a founding member of the experimental French touring opera company ‘ARCAL’ for which he directed several productions.
During the same period he accompanied singing masterclasses at the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Studies in Aldeburgh (England), where he worked with such renowned singers as Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Ileana Cotrubas, Hugues Cuenod, Hans Hotter, Janet Baker and Peter Pears.
He made his conducting debut in 1984 at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, directing Francesco Cavalli’s “Ormindo” from the harpsichord. An important stepping-stone in his career was the Berlioz Festival Lyon, where he was assistant to Serge Baudo for “Les Troyens” in 1987, and later to John Nelson for “Benvenuto Cellini” (1989).
In 1990 Myung-Whun Chung engaged Mr. Darlington as assistant and subsequently as deputy to the music director at the Opéra de la Bastille, Paris, It was there that he made his acclaimed debut in 1991 with “Le nozze di Figaro”, starring a dream cast including Renée Fleming and Cecilia Bartoli. He remained with the Paris Opera as deputy music director until 1993, conducting productions of “Die Zauberflöte” and “Das Lied von der Erde”. His “Swan Lake” with the Opéra de Paris was recorded for video in 1992.
His success at the Paris Opera led to numerous engagements with other orchestras and opera houses and he decided to return to the freelance world, this time as a conductor.
In 1996 he was invited to become part of the musical team at Deutsche Oper am Rhein (Düsseldorf – Duisburg) and in 2002 he was offered the position of Music Director of the Duisburger Philharmoniker. In the same year he also became Music Director of Vancouver Opera.
With both ensembles he has enjoyed a hugely successful relationship. With the Duisburger Philharmoniker that success was recently rewarded with the German Music Publisher’s prize for the best concert season 2009-10 and the Echo Klassic prize for the best concerto recording with Susanna Yoko-Henkel 2011. Earlier this year Jonathan Darlington received the ‘Mercartorplakette’ in honour of his services to music and cultural life in the city of Duisburg and the region and the coveted “Musikpreis der Stadt Duisburg in Verbindung mit der Köhler-Osbar-Stiftung” for 2011. Past recipients include Yehudi Menuhin, Alfred Brendel, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Hans Werner Henze, Krzysztof Penderecki, Pina Bausch etc…
Jonathan Darlington is both a “Laureate (LRAM) and “Fellow” (FRAM) of the Royal Academy of Music, London and as a French resident is proud to hold the distinction of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.
"Conductor Jonathan Darlington gives the score a flat-out, hyper-emotional reading in which the great tunes still soar magnificently, but an insistent verismo edge intensifies the overall dramatic contour. "Vancouver Sun by David Gordon Duke
"Under conductor Jonathan Darlington they [the orchestra] are superlative, and Mozart shines as bright as ever"Arts Hub by Jennie Sharpe
"Jonathan Darlington conducts with an unerring sense of pace and drama…this is an assured and detailed reading of Mozart’s thrilling score"Limelight Magazine by Clive Paget
"Jonathan Darlington reigned over orchestra, choir and soloists with brisk but sympathetic tempi and a firm hand... His creative musicality kept the performance thriving with energy... the balance between stage and orchestra was finely tuned throughout"Backtrack by Zoltan Szabo
"Conductor Jonathan Darlington’s pristine work results in an immaculate performance of the classic score by the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra. The music sounds superb in its own right, yet never comes close to overshadowing the singing in any way"Man in Chair by Simon Parris
"What makes the Toronto premiere particularly satisfying is the sensitive work by Vancouver Opera principal conductor Jonathan Darlington and the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra"The Star by John Terauds
"Opening with orchestral work Ragtime, conductor Jonathan Darlington delivers a transparent and patient version of this ironically mechanical score. In doing so, he calibrates the pulse of the audience"National Post by John Keillor
Mahler: Symphony No. 5 - Duisburger Philharmoniker 2012
Debussy: La mer; Stravinsky: Le sacre du printemps - Duisburger Philharmoniker 2012
Johannes Brahms: Piano Concert No. 2 - Duisburger Philharmoniker 2012
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto; Vaughan Williams: Fantasie - Duisburger Philharmoniker 2010
Wagner: Der Symphonische Ring - Duisburger Philharmoniker 2009
Mahler: Symphony No. 6 - Duisburger Philharmoniker 2009
Edition Klavier-Festival Ruhr Beethoven | Liszt | Saint-Saens - Duisburger Philharmoniker 2008
Jolivet, Ravel & Debussy - Duisburger Philharmoniker 2008
Jazz at the Philharmonic 2008
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 15; Mozart: Symphony No. 35 2007
Francis Poulenc: Les Animaux Modeles (ballet) / Sinfonietta - Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg 1997