Resident Conductor to Lorin Maazel and Zubin Mehta at the new Palau de les Arts “Reina Sofia”, Valencia, Spain (2006-2010), Maestro Johns has established an enviable reputation throughout Europe, Australia, Israel and America. Major prize winner in the prestigious Dmitris Mitropoulos International Conducting Competition, finalist in the Maazel/ Vilar International conducting competition and semi-finalist in the 49th Besanҫon International Conducting competition, Johns has conducted orchestras and opera companies throughout the world including amongst others the Israel Philharmonic, Israel Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, Philharmonica della Scala, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Dortmunder Philharmoniker, Sydney Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, New Zealand Symphony and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and is deservedly regarded as a leading conductor of the younger generation.
At Italy’s famed Teatro alla Scala, Johns conducted Maazel’s opera 1984, having previously assisted at Covent Garden for the world premiere. In Valencia, he conducted numerous symphonic and opera performances including acclaimed performances of Das Lied von der Erde, Luisa Miller, Madama Butterfly, Don Giovanni, Don Carlos and Faust. Major soloists Johns has worked with include violinists Julian Rachlin, Vadim Repin, Philippe Quint, Lara St. John and Clara Jumi Kang; pianists Peter Donohoe, Inon Bartanan & Aldo Ciccolini; trumpeter Maurice Andrè and singers Placido Domingo, Olga Peretyatko, Marina Poplovskaya, Marcello Alvarez and Barbara Frittoli.
Johns first swept to prominence in 2004 when he replaced an indisposed Wolfgang Sawallisch, conducting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in performances of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, earning much critical acclaim with many comparing him to Kubelik.
Having served as principal conductor of the Ashdod Chamber Orchestra, Resident-Assistant Conductor for the Chinese National Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Northern Symphony and Resident Associate conductor to the Symphony Australia network, Johns made his debut back in 1997 with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (Australia) and conducts regularly all major symphony orchestras throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Following his European debut, conducting Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony with the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra in the famed Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Johns developed an ongoing relationship with the Limburgs Sinfonie Orkest, with whom as a frequent guest he has conducted Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem and symphonies of Sibelius, Shostakovich, Schumann, Tchaikovsky & Walton. More recently, he has developed on ongoing relationship with the Orquesta Clásica Santa Cecilia, Madrid, where he has conducted Brahms’ Symphony No.4, Mahler’s Symphony No.5, Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 and 5, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique. With OSPA, the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias he has conducted Mahler’s Symphony No.4, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration as well as Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony.
Other Recent highlights have included Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique with the New West Symphony Orchestra, Strauss’s Der Zigeunerbaron with MSMOpera Theatre, Gounod’s Faust with the State Opera of South Australia and Turn of the Screw with Opéra de Rouen Haute-Normandie (France).
Holding a BM (composition) and a MM (conducting), Johns studied with Maestros Lorin Maazel, David Porcelijn, Kurt Masur, Eri Klas, Peter Eötvos, Ton Koopman, and Noam Sheriff. He has been a recipient of numerous awards including the inaugural Australian Centenary Medal – conferred by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queens Trust Award, ‘Emerging Artist of the Year’ and Young Australian of the Year.
Upcoming engagements include Beethoven’s Ninth and Eight Symphonies, Verdi’s Requiem as well as opera galas in Madrid and Barcelona, as well as his annual Strauss Feliz Año Ňuevo concerts at the Teatro Real. Madrid and Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony with the New West Symphony.
Since 2003, Maestro Johns has also served as Director of Orchestras at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.