Laurence Cummings

Conductor

"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

"Laurence Cummings turns even the rawest musical material into gold"

Berta Joncus, BBC Music Magazine

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

Andrew Clark, Financial Times

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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, Theater an der Wien, 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, Scottish Chamber 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, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, 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.

Recent highlights include Berenice for the Royal Opera House Linbury Theatre in collaboration with the London Handel Festival, Monteverdi Vespers at Garsington Opera; a new production of Belshazzar at Zürich Opera, Saul at the Théâtre du Châtelet Paris; along with appearances with the Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, English Concert and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

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

Saul

Théâtre du Châtelet, Jan 2020

Conducted by the British Laurence Cummings, who also seizes a pivoting organ in the middle of the stage at the opening of the second part, the musicians excel, whether in the clarity of the tutti or in the intimacy of a speech between lutes or theorbos.

Guillaume Tion, Libération

In the pit, we are surprised to find the Talens Lyriques without Christophe Rousset. Baroque orchestras so embody the figure of their founder that the culture of the guest conductor is little developed. However, the alchemy with the English Laurence Cummings has visibly taken a quarter turn: under its galvanized direction, the orchestra with the plethoric workforce sounds of the fire of God, with a very British majesty, but also a magnitude, a brilliant and a tone that we are not always used to hearing from a baroque orchestra. Electrifying evening for a delirious room: it feels good.

Christian Merlin, Le Figaro

Added to this is the expert and skilled management (with a few additions here and there in the score) of Laurence Cummings, a renowned Haendelian who, for the occasion, happily takes over Lyric Talents from Christophe Rousset.

Nicolas Blanmont, La Libre Belgique

The choir, composed for the occasion, displays flamboyant energy, as does the Les Talens Lyriques orchestra, to which Haendel has reserved one of his most sumptuous scores, under the enthusiastic direction of Laurence Cummings.

Philippe Venturini, Les Echos

We felt a similar fear for Les Talens Lyriques whose last Haendelian interpretations poured into a precious meticulousness to which we are allergic. Led by a lion-like Laurence Cummings, the 42 musicians in the pit make this music roar with a consummate sense of grandiose, a fleshy continuous bass and a remarkable synchronization with the scene.

Guillaume Saintagne, Forum Opera

Director of the Handel Festival in Göttigen, specialist in ancient instruments and at the desk of the most prestigious operas, Laurence Cummings is undoubtedly at home in the Handelian universe. Under the expert baton, the ample gestures and the motivating looks of the British conductor, the orchestra pushes the excitement to its peak while delicately supporting the poetry of lamentations. Cummings provides the organ part, which requires a lot of virtuosity.

Claire de Oliveira, Olyrix

Belshazzar

Zürich Opera, November 2019

All the more pleasing is what comes out of the raised orchestra pit. Under Laurence Cummings La Scintilla makes expressive and colorful music. The proven Baroque specialist lets the orchestra speak, sing, dance, flare individual lines, others sound brittle and pale. Always in line with the text.

Bruno Rauch, ch-intercultur

Baumgarten has strong allies. Above all, the conductor Laurence Cummings, who creates a highly emotional, highly concentrated performance with the Orchestra La Scintilla.

Susanne Kübler, Tages Anzeiger

Laurence Cummings on the podium of the orchestra La Scintilla moves with flowing tempos and clear articulation at the height of today's Handel interpretation

Christian Wildhagen, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

“Orchestra La Scintilla”, conducted by Handel specialist Laurence Cummings, captivates the late Baroque affect rhetoric and sends a multitude of colours into the sound space

Torbjörn Bergflödt, Südkurier

Berenice

Linbury Theatre Royal Opera House Covent Garden / London Handel Festival (March 2019)

And the staging also incorporates the instrumentalists, with three continuo players on stage and occasionally drawn into the merry pranks. That makes Laurence Cummings’s achievement in holding together the music from the pit all the more impressive. His pacing of Handel’s ear-tickling tunes is impeccable.

Richard Morrison, The Times

the London Handel Orchestra under Cummings's direction plays with quintessential Baroque grace and verve

Michael Church, Independent

the performance here was first-rate, benefitting from the ideally intimate dimensions of the Linbury Theatre and its generous acoustic, as well as the crisp playing of the London Handel Orchestra sparkly conducted by Laurence Cummings

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

Laurence Cummings conducts a whistle-stop, light-touch performance.

Erica Jeal, The Guardian

the London Handel Orchestra, conducted with flair by Laurence Cummings, sounds ideal in the Baroque-sized Linbury Theatre.

Richard Fairman, Financial Times

Saul

Glyndebourne Festival Opera (July 2018)

it has a brilliant precision, and a largely new cast brings fresh energy to it, galvanised from the pit by Laurence Cummings and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

there is also the bustling Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment to enjoy, conducted again by Laurence Cummings, so devoted to the composer of Saul that Handel might be his middle name.

Geoff Brown, The Times

the thrilling playing of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under the focused baton of conductor Laurence Cummings.

George Hall, The Stage

the chorus is predictably excellent and Laurence Cummings and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment play the music with plenty of zest.

Richard Fairman, Financial Times

Saul

Theater an der Wien (February 2018)

Yet again the Arnold Schoenberg Chor and the Freiburger Barockorchester gave excellent performances, with Laurence Cummings drawing out the miraculous colours of this wonderful score with as much sensuality and intensity as possible.

Gerhard Persché, Opera Magazine

Musically, the evening was in the hands of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra under Laurence Cummings, who impressively and passionately translated the extraordinarily colorful score with the utmost precision and absolute eloquence, thus laying the foundation for a fine ensemble of singers.

Michael Wruss, öö Nachrichten

Laurence Cummings drives the flexible instrumentalists through bouncy rhythms without curtailing their freedom of phrasing. They breathe beautifully in the pit, with smooth, infinitely-variable dynamics. A Handel for intelligently sharpened ears, but also for enjoyment. "Saul" with soul.

Klassiker Welt

The Rake's Progress

OperaGlass Works, Wilton's Music Hall (November 2017)

Laurence Cummings at the harpsichord, costumed as an arresting combination of Handel and Hogarth … led the players of the Southbank Sinfonia in a finely nuanced and detailed performance.

Henrietta Bredin, Opera Magazine

The Southbank Sinfonia is small – only one player to each string part – but stylish. The conductor is the baroque-music specialist Laurence Cummings, directing from the harpsichord and dressed in jacked and squishy velvet cap to look alarmingly like Handel. He paces things snappily and, as the evening progresses, increasingly gets in on the action.

Erica Jeal, The Guardian

Imeneo

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

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

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

Laurence Cummings Repertoire

ALMEIDA

La Guiditta
La Spinalba

BACH

B Minor Mass
Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and No. 5
Cantatas 36c & 61
Magnificat
St John Passion
St. Matthew Passion

BRITTEN

St. Nicholas

CAVERLIERI

Rap. di Anima e di Corpo

ECCLES

The Judgement of Paris

GLUCK

Iphigénie en Tauride
Orfeo ed Euridice

HANDEL

Aci, Gallatea e Polifemo
Acis and Galatea
Agrippina
Alceste
Alexander Balus
Arianna
Ariodante
Arminio
Atalanta
Athalia
Belshazzar
Berenice
Brockes Passion
Deborah
Duetti amorosi
Esther
Ezio
Faramondo
Giulio Cesare
Giove in Argo
Gloria
Hercules
Imeneo
Israel in Eqypt
Jephtha
Joshua
Joseph and his Brethren
Judas Maccabaeus
Lotario
Messiah
Occasional Oratorio
Ottone
Poro
Riccardo Primo
Rinaldo
Rodelinda
Rodrigo
Samson
Saul
Semele
Siroe
Solomon
Sorsame
Susanna
Tamerlano
Theodora
Tolomeo

MONTEVERDI

Incoronazione di Poppea
Orfeo
Vespers of 1610

MOZART

Lucio Silla
Idomeneo

PURCELL

King Arthur
The Fairy Queen
The Indian Queen

RAMEAU

Dardanus
Les Palladins (Suite)

STRAVINSKY

The Rake's Progress

VIVALDI

L'incoronazione di Dario
L'Olimpiade
La Verita in Cimento

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