John Jansson is a versatile conductor, composer and pianist, bringing flair and commitment to each role he undertakes. Trained at the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity College of Music, he has worked extensively in the theatre, but is equally at home directing orchestral music and opera in repertoire from the 18th to the 21st centuries. He is an experienced arranger and editor of music, and can step outside the classical idiom with panache, having been brought up in a home where both parents were jazz musicians.
His theatrical credits include conducting several productions at the National Theatre, among them Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George (Olivier Award) and Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (with Antony Sher). At the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio he conducted the London premiere of John Adams’s I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky (also at the Huddersfield Festival of Contemporary Music), and he was the conductor for Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti and Barber’s A Hand of Bridge (Southwark Theatre), Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock (Battersea Arts Centre) and Mel Smith’s The Gambler (Jermyn Street Theatre).
His theatrical composer credits include critically acclaimed scores for the York Cycle of Mystery Plays, productions at the Donmar and King’s Head, and community projects in Banbury and Bridlington. He also collaborated with Stephen Sondheim on a presentation of Sondheim’s unpublished songs at the National’s Lyttelton Theatre.
As part of his commitment to contemporary classical music he formed the Blue Rider Ensemble while still a student, giving several premieres including works by Walton, MacMillan, Tavener and Takemitsu. He also worked with composer Dominic Muldowney and the BBC Symphony Orchestra on the premiere of Three Pieces for Orchestra, devising the electronic cueing system for this work. With the Opera24 company, he conducted Così fan Tutte for the 2013 Grimeborn festival, as well as its 2014 revival. Forthcoming opera engagements include La Bohème, Wozzeck and the world première of Marc Blitzstein’s No For An Answer.
He is the artistic director of the London Jazz Sinfonia, a virtuoso ensemble of the finest jazz and classical musicians currently working in the UK. He has worked with Cleo Laine, Guy Barker, Stacey Kent, Jacqui Dankworth, Tina May and the late John Dankworth, has arranged for the trumpeters Digby Fairweather, Alan Barnes, and Julian Stringle’s Dream Band. He has also performed cabaret with Sue Casson in the UK and New York.
His arrangements have featured on Tina May’s latest album “My Kinda Love”, and his arrangement of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” is shortly being published, as well as his composition “Fires on the Beach”. He and his music have appeared many times on radio, mpst recently on BBC Radio 3’s “In Tune”, and his TV appearances include The Late Show and Omnibus. John Jansson’s credits also include two CDs: The Isles of Greece, an orchestral song cycle arranged from the serious songs of Donald Swann, and a disc of Hoagy Carmichael songs (arrangements for Digby Fairweather). He has also edited a number of collections of Donald Swann’s songs for Lengnick and Thames, and is currently editing the piano works of Marc Blitzstein. His educational work has included lecturing and performing posts at Goldsmith’s College, London University.