Described as ‘exuberantly stylish’ by the Sunday Times, Julian Perkins enjoys a demanding career as a conductor and keyboard player. He is the Artistic Director of Cambridge Handel Opera and Founder Director of Sounds Baroque.
Julian has conducted staged opera productions for organisations including the Buxton Festival, Cambridge Handel Opera, Dutch National Opera Academy, Grimeborn Festival, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Kings Place, New Chamber Opera and New Kent Opera, in addition to numerous concert performances. With Sounds Baroque, he has directed performances with singers including Rebecca Evans, Dame Emma Kirkby and Ashley Riches, and has conducted some eighteen Baroque projects with the Southbank Sinfonia, in which modern string players experience performing earlier music on gut strings with Baroque bows. Forthcoming conducting projects include concerts with the Croatian Baroque Ensemble and the Wrocław Baroque Orchestra, and the world première recording of Stephen Dodgson’s opera Margaret Catchpole for Naxos in 2019.
As a player, Julian has performed concertos with groups including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Orchestra of The Sixteen, and has gained a wealth of experience performing with many of the UK’s leading period instrument ensembles and modern orchestras. In addition to performing as the solo harpsichordist in productions at The Royal Opera House, Welsh National Opera and Northern Ireland Opera, he has featured on BBC Radio 3's Early Music Show and appeared 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. Solo recitals in the UK have included appearances for international festivals such as St Albans, Buxton, Canterbury, Deal, Oundle, Ryedale, Swaledale and Two Moors that have included complete performances of J. S. Bach’s two books of Das wohltemperierte Klavier. His acclaimed discography includes opera, solo and chamber recordings for Avie, Coro, Chandos, Opus Arte and Resonus on a wide range of instruments, including the Royal Harpsichord at Kew Palace.
Julian read music at King’s College, Cambridge, before pursuing advanced studies at the Schola Cantorum, Basle and the Royal Academy of Music, London. His mentors have included Noelle Barker, David Parry and Trevor Pinnock. He is also a visiting coach at the Royal Opera House, National Opera Studio and several music colleges.