Press Room

EMI Classics signs John Wilson and John Wilson Orchestra

EMI Classics is thrilled to announce that it has signed conductor and arranger John Wilson and the John Wilson Orchestra to an exclusive contract.  The first recording in this innovative global joint venture, capturing their popular and enchanting performances of classic film scores, will be released in August 2011.
Award-winning conductor and arranger John Wilson formed the John Wilson Orchestra in 1994.  This unique ensemble, handpicked from some of the world’s finest musicians, is loved for its jubilant, modern take on the most romantic and glamorous era of cinema.
A lifelong interest in film music led John Wilson to restore a number of classic film scores.  He accepted an enormous challenge from MGM: reconstructing the lost orchestrations of all its major musicals including The Wizard of Oz, High Society, Singin’ in the Rain, The Band Wagon, and An American in Paris.  These new scores became the cornerstone of the John Wilson Orchestra concerts.  The orchestra’s wildly successful, sold-out appearances at London’s BBC Proms have been praised as “Technicolor for your ears” by the UK’s Independent, and viewed on BBC TV by millions of fans of all generations.
Commenting on his new partnership with EMI Classics, Wilson said:
“The players of the John Wilson Orchestra and I are incredibly excited about our new association with EMI.  When the orchestra was first formed, little did we dream that we might one day join the label that gave us some of the greatest popular music of the 20th century.  It is an incredible honor to be part of such a wonderful organization.”
EMI Classics President Eric Dingman notes:
“John Wilson and his phenomenal orchestra have given a new life to beautiful repertoire, and have enthralled multi-generational audiences with their joyous, crowd-pleasing performances.  The John Wilson Orchestra and its management team, under Tom Croxon, have vision, energy, and a contagious passion.  We couldn’t be more thrilled about the opportunity to work with them, and to bring their recordings, and other John Wilson Orchestra products, to audiences in the UK, USA, Europe, and the rest of the world.”
Tom Croxon, manager of John Wilson and the John Wilson Orchestra, adds, “It is an honor to be entering into a partnership with EMI.  John and I would like to thank Eric Dingman, Andrew Cornall, Lorna Aizlewood, and all the creative team at EMI for their tremendous enthusiasm for our work.  We value all the fans of the John Wilson Orchestra who are in touch with us, come to our shows, and give us such wonderful support.  We are delighted to be recording with EMI.”
Andrew Cornall, Vice President of A&R for EMI Classics, said:
“John Wilson is an outstanding musician by any standards.  He has brought back to life a whole musical genre that includes some of the most popular music of all time.  Through John’s musicianship and through the virtuoso performances of his orchestra, we are able to listen to this music with fresh ears and renewed enjoyment.  I am delighted to welcome John to EMI and delighted to be able to explore this music with him.”
The new venture represents Cornall’s first signing to the label since joining EMI from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra this past January.
John Wilson signed his contract on Wednesday, March 2, at EMI’s London headquarters.  He was joined by Andria Vidler (President of EMI UK & Ireland); EMI Classics’ executives Lorna Aizlewood (Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs), Andrew Cornall (Vice President of A&R), Catherine Fairlamb (Director of Finance), and Azhar Malik (Vice President of Global Marketing); his manager Tom Croxon, his lawyer David Gentle, and members of the EMI Classics and UK teams.
John Wilson and the John Wilson Orchestra
Shortlisted for the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society’s Conductor Award, and still in his 30s, John Wilson has established an enviable reputation as a conductor, arranger, and scholar.  He is recognized internationally as an expert in the specialist fields of light music, jazz, and film music, as well as being a passionate advocate for British music.
As a conductor, John Wilson works on a regular basis with the Hallé, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC Scottish Symphony, and BBC Concert orchestras.  He has also conducted many other leading British orchestras, including the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, and the BBC Symphony.  He is the Principal Guest Conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in Dublin and has conducted many top orchestras throughout Europe.
The John Wilson Orchestra’s BBC Proms program, celebrating 75 years of MGM musicals, was televised live on Britain’s BBC Two and watched by over 3.5 million people.  The orchestra also lent its unique, spectacular style to holiday favorites on the 2010 BBC Two Christmas night special, Swingin’ Christmas.
Wilson arranged and conducted the Grammy-nominated score for Kevin Spacey’s film Beyond the Sea and enjoys a close working relationship with Paul McCartney, having orchestrated and conducted several of his compositions with the London Symphony Orchestra.  In the USA, Wilson’s arrangements and orchestrations have been played by the Chicago Symphony, Boston Pops, National Symphony of Washington DC, and Cleveland orchestras.
Born in Gateshead in the North East of England in 1972, John Wilson studied composition and conducting at the Royal College of Music where his teachers were Joseph Horovitz and Neil Thomson.  He graduated from the Royal College in 1995, winning all the major conducting prizes as well as the coveted Tagore Gold Medal for the most outstanding student.
EMI Classics
EMI Classics is one of the top global classical music companies.  Its two labels, the London-based EMI Classics and Paris-based Virgin Classics, record exclusively with the finest musicians around the world, including Sir Simon Rattle, Antonio Pappano, Angela Gheorghiu, Joyce DiDonato, Emmanuel Pahud, and Natalie Dessay, and with distinguished organizations including the Berliner Philharmoniker.  The company has an unrivaled catalog of recordings with international superstars, including Plácido Domingo, Kiri Te Kanawa, Itzhak Perlman, André Previn, Daniel Barenboim, and Riccardo Muti, and the historic recordings of Maria Callas, Mstislav Rostropovich, Victoria de los Ángeles, Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Jacqueline du Pré, Herbert von Karajan, Otto Klemperer, Sir Adrian Boult, and Sir John Barbirolli, as well as the longest-serving artist in the history of the record industry, the violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin.

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