What was popular in the 1930s and '40s is finding new audiences in the 21st century under the baton of John Wilson, but his skills and interests are appreciated by colleagues, as well. Wilson graduated from the Royal College of Music in London in 1995, having gathered all the school's major conducting prizes along the way, and founding the John Wilson Orchestra while still a student. His particular interests in film music and English light music are what drives the orchestra's programs and appeals to its listeners at the BBC Proms. A couple of his early successes were the orchestrations of Richard Rodney Bennett's music for the mini-series Gormenghast and Howard Goodall's score for The Gathering Storm. His talents as a scholar and arranger were noted by MGM Studios, which asked him to reconstruct the orchestrations from its major musicals, such as Singin' in the Rain and An American in Paris. This led to live orchestral accompaniment for screenings of The Wizard of Oz with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra (with which Wilson is principal guest conductor) in 2007, and of Singin' in the Rain with the Philharmonia in 2010. He also arranged the music for the film Beyond the Sea (2004), which was later nominated for a Grammy.
Wilson's commitment to British music is just as strong, especially the light music of the first half of the 20th century and orchestral jazz. He's made a number of recordings for Dutton Laboratories featuring concert and film music of Edward German, Robert Farnon, Eric Coates, Angela Morley, and others. He's also appeared on the Avie label and the Hallé's label, and in 2011 signed with EMI. He was named a co-principal conductor of the Northern Sinfonia, and frequently works with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, and Philharmonia orchestras, plus several of the BBC's ensembles, and groups in Scandinavia and other European countries. Wilson has developed a professional relationship with Paul McCartney, arranging and conducting McCartney's music for the London Symphony Orchestra, and conducting the recording of the 2011 ballet Ocean's Kingdom. In 2010, Wilson conducted his first operetta, Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore, with Opera North. ~ Patsy Morita, Rovi