music of Merlin garner critical praise

The music of Grant Olding for Drew McOnie's ballet, Merlin, has been picking up critical praise on its world premiere run so far:

'Grant Olding's music, which is played with gusto by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia, shares with the choreography an imitative impulse, with sound matched to action so directly as to be almost onomatopoeic.' - The Telegraph

'The original music from the prolific theatre composer Grand Olding... soared with instant enjoyment and memorable descriptive passages... conducted with admirable pace and clarity by Jonathan Lo' - DanceTabs

'Grand Olding's original score is a great addition to the ballet music repertoire... Conductor Jonathan Lo ensured that the Northern Ballet Sinfonia played like angels throughout.' - Reviews Gate

'The Northern Ballet Sinfonia... conducted by Jonathan Lo... were simply superb' - Nottingham Live

'Grant Olding's music fits the dance perfectly... The Northern Ballet Sinfonia were as superb as always' - Seeing Dance


Jonathan garners further critical acclaim as ballet returns

Jonathan garnered further critical acclaim as he led Northern Ballet Sinfonia in Northern Ballet's programmes of Iconic Classics, 20 years of David Nixon and Dangerous Liaisons in October 2020. He was also on the podium for the Royal Ballet's November 2020 programmes, with repertoire including Within the Golden Hour, and excerpts from Le Corsaire, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux and Monotones.

'...ably supported by the playing of Northern Ballet Sinfonia under the intelligent baton of Jonathan Lo, who is swiftly developing into a truly outstanding ballet conductor.' - Mike Dixon, Dance Europe

'Jonathan Lo's conducting was a gift to the dancers: sensitive and supportive without being too obvious' - Amanda Jennings, Dance Europe


World Premiere 'Geisha' critical acclaim

'Under the baton of Jonathan Lo, the Northern Ballet Sinfonia has a crucial role in this production.'

- Yorkshire Times

'The Northern Ballet Sinfonia's musical excellence, performing live, was much appreciated'


'...a seamlessly artful score from the film composer Alexandra Harwood' - the Times

'Ambitious and accomplished' - Daily Telegraph

'a team piece... alchemises design, story, music and dance into high drama' - The Guardian


Jonathan Appointed music director of northern ballet

Northern Ballet has appointed Jonathan Lo as the Company’s new Music Director. He will replace outgoing Music Director John Pryce-Jones who has retired after 27 years with Northern Ballet. Lo will take up his permanent position this summer, joining in time to lead the music department for Northern Ballet’s 50th anniversary.

Full Press Release Here:

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New Work New Music Royal Ballet

Jonathan is thrilled to have been invited to conduct for the Royal Ballet's first appearance in the newly-refurbished Linbury Theatre, performing five premieres to contemporary music played live by the London Sinfonietta.

More details can be found here:

and here...


BBC phil debut

Jonathan recently made his debut with the BBC Philharmonic in a concert at Manchester's Stoller Hall. Entitled Scoring Fear, this concert was a part of the Manchester Gothic Festival, focusing on the relationship between music and gothic horror movies. This was recorded for BBC Radio 3's Sound of Cinema series and will be broadcast on the 18th August, 2018.

Photo by Sara Porter


recent reviews

‘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 Times, China

Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2 & Beethoven Symphony No. 1



'Fine Meeting of musical talents... the whole performance was a delight'

Lancashire Guardian, Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 with Martin Roscoe


haffner orchestra

Jonathan is thrilled to begin his tenure as Music Director of the Haffner Orchestra in Lancaster. A community event on the 14th October will be followed by the first concert on the 11th November, featuring Gina McCormack playing Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, as well as Mendelssohn's Scottish Symphony

Photo by: Roger Kempf, Haffner Orchestra


end of season at northern ballet

As music director of Northern Ballet, Jonathan was on the podium for their performances of Dangerous Liaisons and Swan Lake as the company's curtailed season comes to a close.

Dance Europe writes of Swan Lake:

'The tempi, under the baton of the estimable Jonathan Lo, are thrillingly appropriate and the Northern Ballet Sinfonia play excitingly.'

The Reviews Hub writes of Swan Lake:

'The magical symbolism at work here is truly profound and matched idyllically by Tchaikovsky's sensational and touchingly familiar score. The music is under Jonathan Lo's masterful control with the Northern Ballet Sinfonia in fine form.'

The Ilkley Gazette writes of Swan Lake:

'Jonathan Lo conducts a translucent account of Tchaikovsky's great musical score...'


Jonathan leads royal ballet back on stage

Jonathan has made a return to the podium since the start of the pandemic conducting the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden for a gala performance by the Royal Ballet. This performance marks a historic occasion when the company returned to the stage for the first time since the lockdown, and has garnered critical reviews:

'The Dancers and the orchestra under Jonathan Lo are rarely less than sublime' - The Stage

'Handsomely conducted' - The Independent

'...(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...' - Mike Dixon Dance Europe

'The orchestra - spiritedly conducted by Jonathan Lo - played some diverse music very well indeed...' - Seen and Heard International

'Throughout, the orchestra excel and hearing them is a treat... Here, Lo is a guide and translator for the dancers...' -


happy new year 2020!

Jonathan started the new decade with a Gala performance celebrating Northern Ballet's 50th anniversary, conducting the Northern Ballet Sinfonia playing live for guests including principals from the Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet & Joffrey Ballet. This was followed by the first orchestral concert of 2020 with the Haffner Orchestra. 


'Everything was expertly accompanied by Northern Ballet's in-house orchestra under the baton of Jonathan Lo. A suitably grand event.'

- Donald Hutera, The Times, Northern Ballet 50th anniversary gala

'Jonathan Lo, the fantastic passionate and supremely encouraging conductor... another excellent evening with the Haffner Orchestra'

- Siobhan Tough, Lancaster Guardian, Haffner Orchestra February Concert


main stage debut royal opera house

After a successful run of performances conducting the London Sinfonietta in Royal Ballet's first production in the Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House ('The musical resources - in the shape of the London Sinfonietta, conducted by Jonathan Lo - are fantastic' Debra Craine in The Times), Jonathan has been invited to step in to conduct Within the Golden Hour and Flight Pattern for the Royal Ballet. This programme will be live in cinemas around the world on the 16th May 2019.

More details can be found here:


season 2018-2019

Season 2018-2019 sees Jonathan returning to Birmingham Royal Ballet for La Fille mal Gardeé, The King Dances and Hobson's Choice, and to Scottish Ballet for Cinderella. He will also make his debut with Northern Ballet with the world premiere performances of Victoria.

In addition to his performances in his position as Principal Guest Conductor of the Xi'an Symphony Orcehstra and his regular schedule of concerts in the UK, Jonathan will begin his formal association with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as a Jette Parker Young Artist. He will be serving on the conducting staff primarily for the Royal Ballet in this capacity.

Photo by Amy Botly


Recent Reviews

'Conductor Jonathan Lo enabled [Yuuki Bouterey-Ishido's (cello soloist)] strong tones not to be engulfed by the orchestra, and the song-like tunes, rhythmic accompaniment by the orchestra and the swooping scales... were both moving and exhilarating.'


'The Haffner, with Jonathan Lo in charge, were up to the challenge (Schubert's 9th Symphony). It was an impressive and very enjoyable performance'


Lancashire Guardian, June 2018


updated season listing 2017-2018

As well as the normal schedule of concerts, and in addition to returning to Birmingham Royal Ballet for Nutcracker, a contemporary double bill and La Fille ma Gardee, Jonathan is looking forward to making his debut with Scottish Ballet in a revival of Matthew Bourne's Highland Fling.