Laurence Cummings


"Cummings has emerged as one of his generation's leading baroque-era specialists, at home in both opera house and concert hall"

Larry Fuchsberg, Star Tribune

"Conductor Laurence Cummings sets about every number with almost breathless enthusiasm"

Richard Fairman, Financial Times

"Laurence Cummings's conducting is witty and compassionate..."

Tim Ashley, The Guardian

"Vivaciously conducted by Laurence Cummings. The performance had the infectious advocacy of Cummings and his orchestra"

Andrew Clark, Financial Times

"Graciously conducted by Laurence Cummings, it sounds good. The London Handel festival has done this work proud"

Tim Ashley, The Guardian

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Artistic Director International Handel Festival Göttingen
Musical Director London Handel Festival
Music Director Orquestra Barroca Casa da Musica

Laurence Cummings is one of Britain’s most exciting and versatile exponents of historical performance both as conductor and harpsichord player. He has been Musical Director of the London Handel Festival since 1999 and Artistic Director of the Internationale Händel-Festpiele Göttingen since 2012, as well as acting as Music Director for Orquestra Barroca Casa da Musica Porto. He is the William Crotch Professor of Historical Performance at the Royal Academy of Music.

He has conducted productions for English National Opera, Opera North, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Buxton Festival Opera, Gothenburg Opera, Opernhaus Zurich, Opera de Lyon, Garsington Opera, English Touring Opera and at the Linbury Theatre Covent Garden. He regularly conducts the English Concert and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and has worked with the Hallé, Bournemouth Symphony, Britten Sinfonia, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Ulster Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society (Boston), St Paul Chamber Orchestra (Minnesota), National Symphony Orchestra (Washington), Kansas City Symphony, Wiener Akademie, Musikcollegium Winterthur, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony and Basel Chamber Orchestra.

His numerous recordings include the first recording of Handel’s newly discovered Gloria with Emma Kirkby, and Handel Arias with Angelika Kirschlager and the Basel Chamber Orchestra for Sony BMG.

Current engagements include Agrippina at The Juilliard School, Lucio Silla for Buxton Opera, and concerts with the Scottish and Moscow Chamber Orchestras, together with his commitments at Casa da Musica in Porto and the London and Göttingen Handel Festivals.

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

Handel’s Messiah

National Symphony Orchestra - Washington (December 2016)

he certainly showed himself to be a major Handelian in this fluid, fleet, fine-feelinged reading.

Washington Post


Göttingen Handel Festival (May 2016)

…thanks to Cummings’ perfect pacing and the infectiously catchy phrasing he draws from his excellent orchestra and cast.

Shirley Apthorp, The Financial Times ****

Laurence Cummings has spent a career with this music, and his affection, understanding and excitement radiates out through the dancing energy of his instrumentalists and the emotional pitch of his singers.

Alexandra Coghlan, The Spectator


London Handel Festival (March 2016)

As always, the strength of the festival’s opera offerings is found down in the orchestra pit, where Laurence Cummings and the London Handel Orchestra broughtAriodante to life with vitality and emotional depth.

Richard Fairman, The Financial Times

King Arthur

Opernhaus Zurich (February 2016)

The Overture had a completely different tint: led by Laurence Cummings, La Scintilla Orchestra played it with the warmth and softness that makes Purcell’s music come alive.

Susanne Kübler, Tages Anzeiger


Göttingen Handel Festival (May 2015)

Good though the singers are, they are almost eclipsed by the vivid, virtuosic Festival Orchestra. Laurence Cummings keeps rollickingly on track, with unflagging energy and musicality. Well worth the journey.

Shirley Apthorp, The Financial Times ****

Laurence Cummings, artistic director of the festival, had lot of fun with the interpretation of this material. Even in the famous overture to his FestspielOrchester did out: Both the tremolos and the unexpected pause in which Handel the dissolution of a final cadence is guilty and subsequently supply only a few bars later, took his ensemble with sensitivity and playfulness.

Jonas Rohde, Goettinger Tageblatt

Giove in Argo

London Handel Festival (March 2015)

Conducted by Laurence Cummings, it sounds terrific.

Tim Ashley, The Guardian ****

What it does have, however, are excellent musical values. In the pit Laurence Cummings presides over an orchestra that scampers stylishly through Handel’s jaw-droppingly inventive arias.

Richard Morrison, The Times ****

The Indian Queen

English National Opera (February 2015)

With outstanding soloists, with the ENO chorus in coruscating form, and with Laurence Cummings and his period instrumentalists generating transcendent beauty in the pit, this is an evening in musical heaven.

Michael Church, The Independent *****

Stylishly conducted by Laurence Cummings.

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph ****

The ENO Orchestra under Laurence Cummings delivered Purcell’s score with the ideal balance of refinement and drama.

Owen Mortimer, Opera Now

The Coronation of Poppea

Opera North (October 2014)

Opera North’s gripping new production…. The stage and musical directors, Tim Albery and Laurence Cummings, have devised a bare-essentials edition of Monteverdi’s last opera (first seen in Venice in 1643), an apotheosis of lust and lust for power that seems bang up to date… great ensemble achievements.

Hugh Canning, Sunday Times


Glyndebourne on Tour (October 2015)

The theatricality of Handel’s score knocks the wind from your lungs. The conductor Laurence Cummings has galvanised Glyndebourne’s touring orchestra into a performance as playful and soulful and stylish as that on stage: acerbic in the opening allegro of the Overture, giddy with invention in the miniature concertos for chamber organ, the musical arguments dynamically phrased and punctuated throughout.

Anna Picard, The Times *****

As artistic director both of the London Handel festival and the Internationale Händel-Festspiele Göttingen, he now ranks as one of the composer’s best advocates in the world. Self-effacing on the podium, faithful above all to the score, he matches Handel’s energy and invention with unmistakable lyricism, generosity and dignity. It’s not that others don’t or can’t; rather that Cummings makes it feel the only conceivable approach, drawing the music out, not driving it along.

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer *****

Laurence Cummings Repertoire

ALMEIDA La Guiditta
La Spinalba
BACH B Minor Mass
Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and No. 5
Cantatas 36c & 61
St John Passion
St. Matthew Passion
BRITTEN St. Nicholas
CAVERLIERI Rap. di Anima e di Corpo
ECCLES The Judgement of Paris
HANDEL Aci, Gallatea e Polifemo
Alexander Balus
Duetti amorosi
Giulio Cesare
Israel in Eqypt
Riccardo Primo
MONTEVERDI Incoronazione di Poppea
Vespers of 1610
PURCELL King Arthur
The Fairy Queen
RAMEAU Dardanus
Les Palladins (Suite)
VIVALDI L'incoronazione di Dario
La Verita in Cimento

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