John Brennan


Photography by Rhii Rendell

John started his musical life as a cellist, at primary school in Stoke-on-Trent, aged nearly 10. At 14, he became a member of Staffordshire Youth Orchestra and later its principal cellist. At 15, he was awarded a place to study with Professor Florence Hooton of the Royal Academy of Music and aged 18 continued his studies at the Academy under Derek Simpson. Whilst there, he was a member of the RAM Symphony Orchestra under the batons of Maurice Handford, Simon Rattle, Colin Metters and John Carew, and principal cellist of The Young Musicians’ Symphony Orchestra, an inter-collegiate, conservatoire-aged orchestra in London. Afterwards, he embarked on a postgraduate orchestral course run by the BBC & Musicians Union; The National Centre for Orchestral Studies. Whilst there, he honed his orchestral technique and learnt many of his conducting skills from the wonderful conductors he worked with.

John has worked with many legendary conductors, including Simon Rattle, George Solti, Antal Dorati, Andrew Davis, Charles Groves, Vernon Handley, Edward Downes, Richard Hickox, Rudolf Barshai, Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Norman Del Mar.

John plays professionally as a freelance cellist, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, where he has been privileged to accompany Luciano Pavarotti, Katherine Jenkins and Tony Hadley, amongst others!

John has been conducting orchestras for more than 28 years and has worked with players from RPO, LPO, BBCCO, BBCSO, BBCNOW in that time. He has conducted many orchestras in the London area, as well as ensembles as far afield as Birmingham. John was for 15 years conductor of Watford School of music Youth Orchestra. In November 2016, this orchestra had the privilege of closing the first night of the Music For Youth Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. The orchestra received a rowdy ovation from a capacity crowd, under his baton. John has to date, managed to nurture three different youth ensembles into the national festival of Music For Youth.

John feels very excited and privileged to be asked to become the principal conductor of the Audentior Symphony Orchestra! He feels this orchestra will become a landmark arts organisation in the area.