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John Mark Ainsley


Cheshire-born John Mark Ainsley, began his musical training in Oxford and continues to study with Diane Forlano.

His concert engagements include appearances with the London Symphony under Sir Colin Davis, Rostropovich and Previn, the Concert D’Astrée under Haim, the London Philharmonic under Norrington, Les Musiciens du Louvre under Minkowski, the Cleveland Orchestra under Welser-Moest, the Berlin Philharmonic under Haitink and Rattle, the Berlin Staatskapelle under Jordan, the Rotterdam Philharmonic under Pablo Heras Casada, the New York Philharmonic under Masur, the Boston Symphony under Ozawa and Dutoit, the Chicago Symphony under Dutoit, the San Francisco Symphony under Tate and Norrington, the Vienna Philharmonic under Norrington, Pinnock and Welser-Möst, the Academy of Ancient Music under Egarr, and both the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the Orchestre de Paris under Giulini.

On the operatic stage he has sung Don Ottavio at the Glyndebourne Festival under Sir Simon Rattle, directed by Deborah Warner; the Aix-en-Provence Festival under Claudio Abbado, directed by Peter Brook and for his debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, under Mackerras. His many appearances at the Munich Festival include Bajazet Tamerlano, Jonathan Saul, the title role in a new production of Idomeneo at the Cuvilliestheater and as Orfeo, for which he received the Munich Festival Prize. He created the role of Der Daemon in the world premiere of Hans Werner Henze's L'Upupa at the Salzburg Festival and Hippolyt in the world premiere of Henze’s Phaedra in Berlin and Brussels. He sang Skuratov From the House of the Dead directed by Chereau and conducted by Boulez at the Amsterdam, Vienna and Aix-en-Provence Festivals and most recently at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin under Sir Simon Rattle. He also made his house debut at La Scala, Milan under Salonen singing Skuratov, which was released on DVD. He sang his first Captain Vere Billy Budd in Frankfurt directed by Richard Jones and 2010 saw his first Captain Vere in the UK in Michael Grandage’s production of Billy Budd for the Glyndebourne Festival. Most recently he appeared as Orfeo at the Theater an der Wien under Ivor Bolton and as Grimoaldo in a new Richard Jones production of Rodelinda at English National Opera, and with concerts including L’heure Espagnole with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under Charles Dutoit, Britten’s War Requiem at the Teatro Real Madrid and HMS Pinafore with Richard Egarr at the Edinburgh International Festival.

His discography is extensive. For Philips Classics he has recorded Handel’s Saul with Gardiner, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Davis, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with Haitink and Bach’s Mass in B minor and the Evangelist in the St. Matthew Passion with Ozawa. For Decca his recordings include L’Enfance du Christ, Alexander’s Feast, Acis and Galatea, the Berlioz Requiem and the title role in Monteverdi’s Orfeo. His E.M.I. recordings include the Britten cycles Serenade for tenor, horn and strings, Les Illuminations and Nocturne, Charlie in Brigadoon and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. For Deutsche Grammophon his releases include Handel’s La Resurezzione, Rameau’s Dardanus and Handel’s Messiah with Minkowski, the Britten Spring Symphony with Gardiner and L’Heure Espagnole with Previn. For Hyperion he has made a series of recital discs of Schubert, Mozart, Purcell, Grainger, Warlock and Quilter and his recording of Vaughan Williams On Wenlock Edge with the Nash Ensemble was nominated for a Gramophone Award.

John Mark won the 2007 Royal Philharmonic Society Singer Award and is a Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music.

Last updated: Jul 2019