The distinguished conductor John Nelson is internationally renowned for his interpretation of large Romantic works including the great works of Berlioz. Central to John Nelson’s work is the great sacred choral literature. John Nelson holds the title of Directuer Musicale Honoraire of the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris and Artistic Director of Soli Deo Gloria.
Born in Costa Rica, John Nelson studied at the Juilliard School where he won the Irving Berlin prize in conducting. He has held the title of Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Caramoor Music Festival in New York. From 1998 to 2008 he was Directeur Musicale of the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris. He has also been Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Lyon and Artistic Adviser to the Nashville and Louisville Orchestras. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Grammy for his recording of Handel Semele on the Deutsche Grammophon label.
John Nelson made his professional opera debut at the New York City Opera in Carmen and his Metropolitan Opera debut stepping in at short notice to replace an ill Rafael Kubelic in Berlioz Les Troyens. It was this occasion that catapulted him into the limelight and led to his European debut at Geneva Grand Theatre for Les Troyens and his French debut at the Berlioz Festival in Lyon for a production of Beatrice and Benedict.
Central to John Nelson’s work is the interpretation of the great sacred choral literature for which he is renowned. His commitment to this repertoire, and his concern for the lack of 20th and 21st century sacred works, led him to found Soli Deo Gloria, a non-profit organization which encourages composers and conductors to promote great sacred works in our time.
John Nelson has conducted many of the world’s great orchestras including the Academia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Boston Symphony, Cleveland, Dresden Staatskappelle, Gurzenich Orchestra Cologne, Leipzig Gewandhaus, London Philharmonic, Los Angeles Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Oslo Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony.
He has worked extensively with such companies as the Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Bastille Opera, Geneva Grand Theatre, Lyon Opera, Rome Opera, La Monnaie, Netherlands Opera and Welsh National Opera.
He has recently conducted concerts and a DVD recording of Beethoven Missa Solemnis with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the chorus of the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. This marked the start of a series of DVD recordings and concerts over the next few seasons including The Creation and St. Matthew Passion, both of which will be with the Netherlands Radio Kammerphilharmonie and Radio Chorus.