Catz Alumnus Appointed Garsington Opera’s Head of Music

Alumnus Jonathon Swinard (2008, Music) has been appointed the new Head of Music at Garsington Opera, due to take up the position from the end of the 2018 season.

After leaving St Catz, the conductor and pianist took up postgraduate study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, then began his career as the Emerging Artist répétiteur at Scottish Opera. He went on to hold the Alexander Gibson choral conducting fellowship with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus before becoming Chorus Master and répétiteur at Scottish Opera.

Garsington Opera is an annual summer opera festival, founded in 1989 and held at the Wormsley Estate. As Head of Music, Jonathon will be the Opera’s Chorus Master and Music Director of the Alvarez Young Artists’ Programme, a programme that provides training and performance opportunities to young Garsington Opera performers.

Of the appointment, Jonathon said: “I am delighted to be working at Garsington Opera as their new Head of Music and Artistic Director of the Alvarez Young Artist Programme. A main feature of my role is the recruitment and training of our young artists, most of whom understudy main roles in our season as well as sing in the Garsington Opera Chorus. It is a huge privilege to be able to find and select the best young singers from across Europe – this year we received 580 applications and auditioned 270 singers for just 36 places, which gives some indication as to how competitive the programme is!

“I’m also looking forward to conducting Garsington’s Youth Opera The Happy Princess next August which complements my role as Artistic Director of the Scottish Opera Young Company, for whom I conduct Orfeo and Euridice this Spring. It is essential for the opera industry to engage and inspire young singers, as they will become the artists and audiences of tomorrow. It is exciting to be involved in training the next generation, both north and south of the Scottish Border.”