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Principal Conductor

John Traill specialises in symphonic and contemporary repertoire, and he is committed to making music accessible to all.  Director and Lecturer in Music at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford, John has performed across the UK and overseas, with orchestras that include the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, London Mozart Players, the Sofia New Symphony Orchestra, the Kharkov Philharmonic, the SCAR Philharmonic, and the Curitiba Symphony (Brazil). His work with leading contemporary music ensembles includes the London Sinfonietta, CHROMA, the New Music Players, London Contemporary Music Group, Sounds Underground, and the Moscow Studio for New Music. He has performed at many major venues, most recently conducting premieres at the Royal Albert Hall, Symphony Hall Birmingham, the Barbican, Southbank Centre, and the Fergusson Centre (Virginia).  John is conductor of the St Anne’s Camerata, Ensemble ISIS (the new music group at Oxford Faculty of Music), the City of Southampton Orchestra, and the Oxfordshire County Youth Orchestra.

Early training with Rossen Milanov at the Mt. Vitosha International Conducting Institute, Bulgaria (1998/2000), culminated in winning major prizes at the Leeds Conductors Competition (2005), and the Vakhtang Jordania International Conducting Competition (2006).  At the same time, John studied composition with Robert Saxton at the University of Oxford, becoming the youngest recipient, in 2006, of a DPhil in this field.  He has been hailed for his ‘strong interpretative instinct’ (Guardian), and his interests span compositional method through to the physicality of performance.

John is presently the course director for Instrumental Conducting, and Orchestration, at Oxford University; and Choral Conducting at Royal Holloway, where he is a Teaching Fellow in Conducting & Composition. He is Director of the Oxford Conducting Institute, whose pioneering work includes not only conductor training but the International Conducting Studies conferences. John has previously been a lecturer at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Bristol University, and Head of Performance at Bangor University. His innovative work in outreach includes developing a unique collaboration between the University of Oxford and the Oxfordshire County Music Service, awarded the National Music Council Paritor Award for Achievements in New Music in 2013, and adjudicating a variety of performance competitions (e.g. Oxfordshire Concerto Competition, BBC Young Musician of the Year, WSO Young Soloists Competition). John’s recordings include Thomas Hyde’s Autumnal (Guild Records), and Scherzo Capriccioso (BBC Radio 3).   


Each season, the orchestra welcomes guest conductors to rehearse and conduct some of our concerts. Experienced conductors interested in this opportunity should email to discuss further, supplying their CV and a video of their conducting, if at all possible.

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