'his instinctive understanding of dance tempi is a deeply satisfying aspect of BRB and Northern Ballet performances. Here, with the Royal Ballet, he raises the bar... the players sounding better and more alert than they have in years.'
- Mike Dixon, Dance Europe
Hong Kong-born Briton Jonathan Lo is Music Director of Northern Ballet, Staff Conductor for the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and Principal Conductor of the New Bristol Sinfonia. He was Principal Guest Conductor of the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra from 2015-2019. He was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House and a conducting fellow with Birmingham Royal Ballet. He was Senior Lecturer in conducting at Leeds College of Music and continues to mentor young conductors privately.
Born in 1987, Jonathan read music at the University of Oxford, before going on to study conducting at Royal Northern College of Music on a major scholarship, graduating with distinction and winning the Mortimer Furber Prize in conducting contemporary music. Jonathan was appointed to his first music directorship aged 18 with the Oxford University Philharmonia after winning the University’s conducting competition. Since then, Jonathan has conducted orchestras internationally and nationally, most notably the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Ballet Sinfonia, London Sinfonietta, Manchester Camerata, Northern Chamber Orchestra, Gabrieli Consort, Cyprus Symphony Orchestra, Fairey Band and Orquestra do Algarve. He has studied and/or worked with conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Sir Antonio Pappano, Ed Gardner, Barry Wordsworth, Nicholas Kraemer & Paul McCreesh.
‘Jonathan Lo and the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra brought the invention and the concept of the music clearly to life with such transparency... music making that is both technically impressive and passionately expressive.’
Musical Weekly, China
Hailed by Dance Europe as 'an exemplary ballet conductor who gets the best from the musicians without overriding the needs of the stage production and the dancers', Jonathan is increasingly sought after by ballet companies around the world. He was the conductor for the Royal Ballet's critically acclaimed 'Back on Stage' gala, the company's first performance after months of lockdown due to the pandemic in 2020. He made his Royal Opera House main stage debut with the Royal Ballet with Christopher Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hour and Crystal Pite’s Flight Pattern, which was broadcast live to cinemas around the world and made for commercial DVD release. He was then immediately invited to return in the following season before being appointed staff conductor. Recent credits include The Nutcracker, Romeo & Juliet, which was also broadcast in cinemas globally and DGV.
Jonathan was appointed Music Director of Northern Ballet after making his debut as guest music director for Cathy Marston’s Victoria. A BBC Performing Arts Fellow in 2015 with Birmingham Royal Ballet and Rambert Dance Company, he has since been invited to guest conduct for both companies regularly, as well as Dutch National Ballet and Scottish Ballet in works ranging from Giselle, Cinderella (Bintley, Hampton), Nutcracker (Wright, Eagling & Van Schayk), La Fille mal Gardee (Ashton), Highland Fling (Matthew Bourne) to Transfigured Night (Kim Brandstrup), Ghost Dances (Christopher Bruce) and The 3 Dancers (Diddy Veldman).
Jonathan was Music Director of the Manchester Chamber Choir from 2015-2020, and in this role worked as chorus master for the BBC Philharmonic both at the BBC Proms and in the recording studio. In addition to the choir’s series of concerts, Jonathan also conducts them regularly for broadcasts on BBC Radios. In addition to his duties with Northern and the Royal Ballet, future highlights include a national tour Amsterdam festival of the Hans van Manen celebration with Dutch National Ballet, The Australian Ballet & Zurich Ballet.