Described as ‘exuberantly stylish’ by the Sunday Times, Julian Perkins enjoys a demanding career as a conductor and keyboard player. He loves bringing his many experiences as a leading performer on period instruments to his work with singers, period instrument ensembles and modern orchestras, and is Artistic Director of Cambridge Handel Opera and Founder Director of Sounds Baroque.
Julian Perkins has performed at the Salzburg Festival, Edinburgh International Festival and BBC Proms. He has gained a wealth of experience performing with many prominent period instrument ensembles and modern orchestras including concerto appearances with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Florilegium and Orchestra of The Sixteen. Passionate about singing, he has appeared as solo harpsichordist for productions at the Royal Opera House, Welsh National Opera and Northern Ireland Opera. He has featured on the BBC Early Music Show and played at venues such as London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s Lincoln Center and Sydney Opera House. An avid recitalist, Julian has broken new ground at over a dozen international festivals in giving solo concerts on the clavichord with programmes that have included complete performances of J. S. Bach’s two books of Das wohltemperierte Klavier, and he has given numerous duo recitals for organizations such as the Mozart Society of America, Oxford Lieder Festival and the Royal Opera House. His various recordings have been described as 'a scintillating triumph' (BBC Music Magazine – Recording of the Month), ‘monumental’ (American Record Guide), ‘a virtuoso showcase’ (The Guardian), 'simply unmissable' (Opera Now) and ‘exemplary’ (MusicWeb International and The Strad).
With Sounds Baroque, Julian has directed numerous performances with singers including Rebecca Evans, Dame Emma Kirkby, Mark Padmore and Christopher Purves. He has also directed the Academy of Ancient Music, conducted eighteen Baroque projects with Southbank Sinfonia and conducted opera productions for organisations including the Buxton International Festival, Cambridge Handel Opera, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Kings Place, Netherlands Opera Academy, New Chamber Opera, New Kent Opera and Snape Maltings. 2021 sees Julian as a conductor on two opera recordings: John Eccles's Semele with the Academy of Ancient Music and Cambridge Handel Opera for AAM Records, and the world première of Stephen Dodgson’s Margaret Catchpole for Naxos.
Julian read music at King’s College, Cambridge, before pursuing advanced studies at the Schola Cantorum, Basle and the Royal Academy of Music, London. Research is an essential element in Julian's performing career, and he has written articles published by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Rhinegold Publishing. Historically informed musicianship inspires his work as a visiting coach at the Royal Opera House, and the masterclasses that he gives for the National Opera Studio, music colleges and universities both in the UK and abroad.