Jonathan Darlington is currently Music Director of Vancouver Opera, a title he is proud to have held for over a decade, and where he has led the company in productions ranging from Mozart to Tan Dun.
Born and educated in England, he is fluent in several languages and currently resides in Paris.
Maestro Darlington has conducted an impressive array of ensembles in many of the world’s greatest concert halls and opera houses.
Recent engagements include performances in opera and concert with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Staatsoper, the Staatskapelle Dresden at the Semperoper, l’Orchestre National de France, the Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Paris Opera Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and l’Orchestre de Paris.
Besides his committments to Vancouver Opera, engagements in the immediate future see him return to the Desden Semperoper for productions of Die Zauberflöte, Il Barbiere di Seviglia, Fidelio and Don Giovanni, the Ulster Orchestra for the Brahms Requiem, the Canadian National Youth Orchestra European Tour, the Royal Swedish Opera’s production of La Bohème and the Vienna State Opera for Madame Butterfly.
Jonathan possesses a vast symphonic and operatic repertoire from the Baroque to the Contemporary and has a reputation for structuring concert programmes that take the listener on a fascinating musical journey owing to their strong inner dramaturgical thread,
Jonathan Darlington began his career as a freelance pianist, chamber musician and repetiteur. Born in Lapworth near Birmingham in England he was a boy chorister at Worcester Cathedral and went on a music scholarship to King’s School Worcester. He subsequently studied music at Durham University, graduating with honours , followed by graduate studies in 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 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 master classes 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.
Jonathan Darlington made his conducting debut in 1984 at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, directing Francesco Cavalli’s “Ormindo” from the harpsichord. Whilst still essentially a keyboard player, an important stepping-stone in his conducting career was the Berlioz Festival in Lyon, initially as assistant to Serge Baudo for “Les Troyens” in 1987, and two years later to John Nelson for “Benvenuto Cellini”.
In 1990 Myung-Whun Chung engaged Jonathan as assistant and subsequently as deputy to the music director at the Paris Opera. It was there that he made his acclaimed debut in 1991 with “Le nozze di Figaro”, starring a dream cast which included Renee Fleming and Ferrucio Furlanetto. 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 Paris Opera Ballet was recorded for video in 1992.
His success at the Paris Opera led to numerous engagements with other international 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 Jonathan has enjoyed a hugely successful relationship. With the Duisburger Philharmoniker that success was rewarded when he received the German Music Publisher’s prize for the best concert season 2009 -10 together with the Echo Klassic prize for the best concerto recording (Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto) with Susanna Yoko-Henkel in 2011. The same year Jonathan Darlington received the ‘Mercartorplakette’ in recognition of his services to music and the cultural life of the city of Duisburg. The success of his tenure with the Duisburger Philharmoniker was subsequently rewarded when he became the recipient of the coveted “Musikpreis der Köhler-Osbar-Stiftung”. 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.