John has been Chief Executive of Aurora Orchestra since 2009. He studied history at Cambridge University, where he also sang as a choral scholar. Prior to taking up his current role with Aurora he worked for the British choral label Collegium, and completed a doctorate in Middle Eastern History at the School of Oriental and African Studies. As co-founder of the Choir of London he maintains an active interest in music education projects, with a particular focus on supporting student musicians in the Palestinian Territories.
One of my absolute favourite Aurora projects was ‘Thriller: Automatic Writing’, a collaboration in 2011 involving the American horror writer Peter Straub and director Tim Hopkins. It was the most radical experiment we’d attempted in re-imagining the possibilities of the concert format: a real theatrical journey, with seamless transitions between the music and players involved in the drama throughout. I remember feeling elated at how different it felt, and loved the fact that it divided critics so sharply (predictably some hated it, whilst others praised it to the skies).
Can I allow myself one more? The memorised ‘Jupiter’ at the BBC Proms in 2016 was completely electrifying: joyous, unfettered and generous music-making, and I think unquestionably one of the best performances the orchestra’s ever given.