Described by the Sunday Times as ‘exuberantly stylish’, Julian Perkins enjoys a demanding career as a conductor and keyboard player. He is the new Artistic Director of Cambridge Handel Opera and Founder Director of Sounds Baroque.
As a conductor, Julian has performed staged opera productions for organisations such as the Buxton Festival, Dutch National Opera Academy, Grimeborn Festival, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Kings Place, New Chamber Opera and New Kent Opera, and concert performances with, among others, the Bampton Classical Players, Barts Chamber Choir, Bury Court Opera, New London Singers, Rodolfus Choir and Spiritato. He has acted as a conductor and Baroque coach for some fifteen projects with the Southbank Sinfonia, in which modern string players experience performing earlier music with Baroque bows, and coaches students as a visiting teacher at the National Opera Studio and several music colleges. Julian's plans for 2018 include conducting Handel's Rodelinda for Cambridge Handel Opera's inaugural staged production, his solo concerto debut at the Sage Gateshead and a chamber recital on the Royal Harpsichord as part of BBC Radio 3's Early Music Show. He will return to conduct the Southbank Sinfonia at the Anghiari Festival, direct Sounds Baroque for the annual Handel Birthday Concert with Rebecca Evans and appear with Anna Dennis and Sounds Baroque at St John's Smith Square. Solo recitals include appearances at St George's Bristol, Oxford's Holywell Music Room, Northern Aldborough Festival and Petworth Festival.
As a player, Julian has appeared with many leading soloists at venues such as London's Wigmore Hall, New York's Lincoln Center and Sydney Opera House, as well as at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival. In addition to performing as the solo harpsichordist in productions at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Welsh National Opera and Northern Ireland Opera, Julian has appeared as a soloist and continuo player in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to Dove with many leading groups including the Academy of Ancient Music, Britten Sinfonia, Classical Opera, English Concert, Gabrieli Consort & Players, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Orchestra of The Sixteen, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He is also an advocate for the clavichord, and is the first musician to have given clavichord recitals for international festivals in the UK such as St Albans, Buxton, Canterbury, Oundle, Ryedale, Swaledale and Two Moors that have included complete performances of J. S. Bach’s two books of Das wohltemperierte Klavier. His discography includes solo and chamber recordings for Avie, Coro, Chandos, Opus Arte and Resonus on a wide range of instruments, including the Queen’s harpsichord at Kew Palace. He has made world première recordings directing Daniel Purcell’s opera-oratorio The Judgment of Paris, playing harpsichord suites by James Nares and John Christopher Smith, and Stephen Dodgson’s clavichord suites.
Julian read music at King’s College, Cambridge, before pursuing advanced studies at the Schola Cantorum, Basle and the Royal Academy of Music, London. Singing is central to Julian’s approach to music; the prestigious Baylis programme at English National Opera and tours singing in the Monteverdi Choir were formative experiences. His mentors have included Noelle Barker, David Parry and Trevor Pinnock. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, and has been elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in recognition of his 'significant contribution' thus far to the music profession.