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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Music Director Academy of Ancient Music
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 a conductor and a harpsichord player. He is currently Music Director of the Academy of Ancient Music, Musical Director of the London Handel Festival, and Music Director of Orquestra Barroca Casa da Música in Porto. A noted authority on Handel, the Guardian has written of him “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.”

Frequently praised for his stylish and compelling performances in the opera house, his career has taken him across Europe where he has conducted productions at houses including Opernhaus Zurich (Belshazzar, King Arthur), Theater an der Wien (Saul), Gothenburg Opera (Orfeo ed Euridice, Giulio Cesare, Alcina and Idomeneo). Théâtre du Châtelet (Saul) and Opera de Lyon (Messiah). In the UK he has been a regular at English National Opera (Radamisto, L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Semele, Messiah, Orfeo and The Indian Queen), Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Saul, Giulio Cesare and The Fairy Queen) and Garsington Opera (Vivaldi cycle: L’Incoronazione di Dario, L’Olympiade and La Verita in Cimento), as well as conducting at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre (Berenice and Alceste), Opera North (L’Incoronazione di Poppea), Buxton International Festival (Tamerlano and Mozart’s Lucio Silla) and for Opera GlassWorks (The Rake’s Progress). The 2020/21 season saw his last edition of the Internationale Händel-Festpiele Göttingen, where he was Artistic Director for ten years.

Equally at home on the concert platform, he is regularly invited to conduct both period and modern instrument orchestras worldwide, including Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The English Concert, Handel and Haydn Society Boston, Croatian Baroque Orchestra, La Scintilla Zurich, Juilliard 415, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Musikcollegium Winterthur, St Paul Chamber Orchestra, Basel Chamber Orchestra, Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Washington National Symphony Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony and in the UK with Royal Northern Sinfonia, Hallé Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Ulster Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

His recordings include discs with Emma Kirkby and Royal Academy of Music on BIS, Angelika Kirschlager and the Basel Chamber Orchestra for Sony BMG, Maurice Steger and The English Concert for Harmonia Mundi and Ruby Hughes and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment on Chandos, as well as a series of live opera and concert performances recorded at the Göttingen International Handel Festival and released on Accent. He has also released numerous solo harpsichord recital and chamber music recordings for Naxos.

He was an organ scholar at Christ Church Oxford where he graduated with first class honours. Until 2012 he was Head of Historical Performance at the Royal Academy of Music which led to both baroque and classical orchestras forming part of the established curriculum. He is now the William Crotch Professor of Historical Performance.

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

Handel's La Resurrezione

St-Martin-in-the-Fields, London 18th April 2022

Cummings proved an exacting judge of the sometimes tricky balance between drama and reflection, teasing out instrumental detail as he went – the woodwind that alternately grieve and console, the warmth in the strings, the gleam in the brass that eventually heralds the triumph of light over darkness.

Tim Ashley, The Guardian ****

Alcina

Opera North, Spring 2022

Laurence Cummings encourages really stylish, sensuous musicianship from the Opera North orchestra (he’s also on cracking harpsichord duty)

Neil Fisher, The Times

Laurence Cummings choosing perfect tempos and dynamic contrasts. The score is Handel at his most melodious and subtle, with many passages for small groups of instruments or even solo instruments, and under Cummings the small orchestra plays beautifully

Ron Simpson, The Reviews Hub

Cummings draws colourful, energised playing from a pared-down orchestra

Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk

Haydn's Creation

Academy of Ancient Music, September 2021

Delectable timbres and colours didn't stop leaping from Cummings's expert band, who played with such vigour

Geoff Brown, The Times

Cummings kept his temp lively (as did Haydn, it appears) and drew some thrillingly tight and fierce choruses from the choir behind. This Creation glinted and shone in a bracingly clear light

Boyd Tonkin, theartsdesk

Rodelinda

Göttingen Handel Festival, September 2021

With the Festival Orchestra, Laurence Cummings proves that Handel's music is in the best of hands here. The different moods are worked out with absolute precision, also with tempo variations, and make it possible to understand why this work was so celebrated by the audience at the premiere

Thomas Molke, Online Musik Magazin

the extraordinary interpretation by Cummings that dissects the score, enhancing every nuance of color: the palette of feelings transformed into music

Franco Soda, Giornale della musica

Handel's Messiah

April 2021

Laurence Cummings is an experienced Handel conductor, and ENO’s orchestra played neatly and stylishly

Tristram Kenton, The Times

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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