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, Orchestra of The Sixteen and Florilegium. In addition to appearing 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 concerts on the clavichord, with programmes that have included complete performances of J. S. Bach’s two books of Das wohltemperierte Klavier. His various recordings have been described as ‘monumental’ (American Record Guide), ‘a virtuoso showcase’ (The Guardian) and ‘exemplary’ (MusicWeb International). Autumn 2019 sees Julian’s solo US début in Boston.
With Sounds Baroque, Julian has directed performances with singers including Rebecca Evans, Dame Emma Kirkby and Mark Padmore, and has conducted some eighteen Baroque projects with Southbank Sinfonia, in which modern string players experience performing earlier music with Baroque bows. Julian has 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, in addition to numerous concert performances. Forthcoming conducting projects include John Eccles's Semele with the Academy of Ancient Music and Cambridge Handel Opera (to be recorded on AAM Records), and the world première recording of Stephen Dodgson’s opera 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 that have been published by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Rhinegold Publishing. This also inspires his work as a visiting coach at the Royal Opera House, and masterclasses that he gives for the National Opera Studio, music colleges and universities both in the UK and abroad.