Skip to page content

John Mark Ainsley

About this Artist

Tenor JOHN MARK AINSLEY was born in Cheshire, began his musical training in Oxford and continues to study in London with Diane Forlano.

A highly versatile concert singer, his recent international engagements include appearances with the London Symphony under Sir Colin Davis, Rostropovich, and Previn, the Concert D'Astrée under Haim, the London Philharmonic under Norrington, Les Musiciens du Louvre under Minkowski, the Cleveland Orchestra under Welser-Möst, the Berlin Philharmonic under Haitink and Rattle, the Berlin Staatskapelle under Jordan, the New York Philharmonic under Masur, the Boston Symphony under Ozawa, the San Francisco Symphony under Tate and Norrington, the Vienna Philharmonic under Norrington, Pinnock, and Welser-Möst, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields under Marriner and Langrée, and both the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the Orchestre de Paris under Giulini. At the 2005 Saito Kinen Festival he appeared in Schoenberg's Gurrelieder under Ozawa.

His discography is extensive. For Philips Classics he has recorded Handel's Saul with Gardiner, Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream with Davis, Stravinsky's Pulcinella with Haitink and Bach's Mass in B minor and the Evangelist in the St. Matthew Passion with Ozawa. For Decca his recordings include L'Enfance du Christ, Alexander's Feast, Acis and Galatea, the Berlioz Requiem, and the title role in Monteverdi's Orfeo. For Hyperion he has made a series of recital records of Schubert, Mozart, Purcell, Grainger, Warlock, and Quilter, and his recent recording of Vaughan Williams' On Wenlock Edge with the Nash Ensemble was nominated for a Gramophone Award. His EMI recordings include the Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings, Les Illuminations, and Nocturne, Charlie in Brigadoon, and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. For Deutsche Grammophon his recent releases include Handel's La Resurrezione, Rameau's Dardanus, and Handel's Messiah with Minkowski, the Britten Spring Symphony with Gardiner, and L'Heure espagnole with Previn. Most recently he has recorded a recital disc, Remember your lovers with Iain Burnside, which is a co-production between Signum Classics and BBC Radio 3's Voices programme.

On the operatic stage he has sung Don Ottavio at the Glyndebourne Festival under Sir Simon Rattle, directed by Deborah Warner; at the Aix-en-Provence Festival under Claudio Abbado, directed by Peter Brook; and for his debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, under Mackerras. Ainsley has appeared with Opera Australia as Tito and Idomeneo, with the Netherlands Opera as the title role in Handel's Samson, with the San Francisco Opera as Don Ottavio and as Jupiter in Semele, and at the Munich Festival as Jonathan in Saul and as Orfeo, for which he received the Munich Festival Prize. He created the role of Der Daemon in the world premiere of Hans Werner Henze's L'Upupa at the Salzburg Festival, which he reprised at the Teatro Real, Madrid. He returned to Salzburg to sing both Soliman in Zaide and Belfiore in La Finta Giardiniera as part of the 2006 Mozart celebrations. His recent operatic engagements also include The Madwoman in Britten's Curlew River in Frankfurt, his first Pelleas for the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Skuratov in Janác?ek's From the House of the Dead at the Amsterdam and Vienna Festivals. His future operatic engagements include Skuratov for the Aix-en-Provence Festival, a return to Frankfurt Opera to sing Captain Vere in Billy Budd, and the world premiere of Henze's Phaedra in Berlin and Brussels. John Mark Ainsley won the 2007 Royal Philharmonic Society Singer Award.