Meet our conductors
Thomas Payne - Musical Director
British conductor Thomas Payne is a Jette Parker Young Artist at the Royal Opera House, working on the music staff for both ballet and opera productions at Covent Garden and abroad. This season he will also be making debuts with London City Orchestra, Scottish Ballet and Northern Ballet.
In the 2019/20 Season he returns to Covent Garden to cover Manon, Enigma Variations, Concerto, Raymonda, The Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia and Swan Lake for The Royal Ballet and conducted the premiere of Leon Haxby’s Snow White for contemporary arts group Collective 31.
For the Royal Opera he will serve as off stage conductor for Otello, alongside Antonio Pappano and in May he will conduct the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in a performance of Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony No.1.
In summer 2019 he was Assistant Conductor at Grange Park Opera for their revival of Don Carlo and from 2016-17 was Chorus Master for Longborough Festival Opera for their productions of Fidelio, Tristan and Isolde and The Flying Dutchman to critical acclaim. Payne was also Assistant Conductor for British Youth Opera, conducting Southbank Sinfonia in English Eccentrics. In contemporary opera, he has given premieres of James Oldham's Bastien and Bastienne, Off the Beaten Track as well as Ulf Diether Soyka's Ninya and Edward Lambert's The Cloak and Dagger Affair for Tête à Tête.
Payne studied violin at Birmingham Conservatoire and conducting independently with Philip Ellis, Steuart Bedford and Sian Edwards.
Christopher George - Associate Conductor
Christopher has conducted the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Rambert Dance Company.
He enjoys a wide variety of music: a recent performance of Bach Johannes-Passion as Musical Director of the Glossop Festival brought together the finest instrumentalists led by Matthew Truscott and soloists including Elin Manahan-Thomas, Alexandra Gibson, Nicholas Mulroy and Matthew Brook; while a Mozart gala evening featured Miriam Ryen, Camilla Roberts, Eamonn Mulhall and Jonathan Lemalu. This festival has programmed much of the Classical repertoire.
Christopher recently conducted Prokofiev’s magnificent 5th Symphony for a side-by-side project with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and enjoyed a tour with Rambert Dance Company of Kim Brandstrup’s Life is a Dream to Lutoslawski’s Symphony no. 4, Chain 2 and Musique Funebre.
Collaborating with artists including John Grant and Maximo Park, Christopher has toured and broadcast with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Iceland Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted for sessions at Abbey Road Studios with music by James Seymour Brett.
Exciting smaller scale work includes new operas Love Speaks by Kevan O’Reilly and Jenny Knotts and Gareth Williams’ The Sloans Project with Noise Opera, a new piece With Stolen Fire by Charlie Piper with Ensemble 360, and the not-so-new Mahler Symphony No.4 with the Fews Ensemble.
As well as professional ensembles, Christopher loves working with younger and amateur groups. Conducting regularly at the universities of St Andrews, Edinburgh and Goldsmiths, Nottingham Youth Orchestra, the Highlands Youth Orchestra and Amicus Orchestra he has chosen, rehearsed and then performed lots of extraordinary orchestral repertoire with wonderfully skilled and open-minded musicians.