John Hancorn, conductor, singer and animateur


John Hancorn (credit: Robert Knights)

John Hancorn (photo: Richard Knights) rehearsing Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with The Baroque Collective and Baroque Collective Singers, February 2017


Short Biography

John Hancorn is music director of the BREMF Singers, Baroque Collective Singers, East Sussex Bach Choir and Eastbourne Choral Society and co-director of The Baroque Collective. Performances for the Brighton Early Music Festival include Bach's St John Passion and B Minor Mass; Monteverdi Vespers and a staged performance of Purcell The Fairy Queen. John specializes in offering solo opportunities to talented young singers, as well as working regularly with more experienced soloists such as Elin Manahan Thomas and Sir John Tomlinson.

John leads vocal workshops and masterclasses specializing in baroque repertoire including regular visits to Early Music Fora and ‘Sing and Discover' days with Richard Wigmore throughout the UK. He teaches at Trinity College of Music, the University of Chichester, East Sussex Academy of Music and Lancing College. He taught at Christ's Hospital and directed chamber choir courses at Dartington for many years and is a tutor at AIMS Summer School.

John directed the Orlando Consort in Tarik O'Regan Scattered Rhymes, and world premieres of Orlando Gough's opera The Finnish Prisoner and Dead Head. Other recent projects include Handel Acis and Galatea, Scarlatti Stabat Mater and Buxtehude Membra Jesu Nostri. He directed a critically acclaimed professional recording of Ed Hughes's Buried Flame in 2012; the world premiere of Helen Glavin's Battle of Lewes Cantata in 2014; and Purcell's King Arthur for New Sussex Opera in 2016.


Brighton Early Music Festival 2014: London: Court, Theatre and Cathedral

'...the BREMF Singers and Players who were flawless if not stunning in Purcell's Ode To St Cecilia. John Hancorn, the director, pullted togehter a sprightly and authoritative perofrmance with great momentum, perfectly suited to this music. ... the chorus was surprisingly powerful, whilst remaining light-footed, clear and crisp. ... This was an uplifting finale to the 2014 edition of the increasingly successful Brighton Early Music Festival.' 

Terry Walker, The Argus, 10 November 2014

'All seven (soloists) sang with a lovely sense of style, and a feeling of neat crispness to Purcell's ornamental writing which matched teh rhythmically enlivened approach of John Hancorn and the instrumental players. Hancorn's speeds were moderate to fast, but never rushed, and the result had a lovely involving feel with a sense of the dance rhythms underlying many of the movements and some really toe-tapping moments.... The thirty singers of the BREMF Singers acquitted themselves with commitment, vigour and not a little style.' 

Planet Hugill, 10 November 2014

Bach St John Passion: outstanding review

John Hancorn directed Bach's St John Passion with the BREMF Singers and Players and an outstanding lineup of soloists for the Brighton Early Music Festival in November 2013.

'involving and virtually flawless performance'

'There were many intense moments in this Passion but the emotional centre of the work was captured immaculately, in the alto aria with viola da gamba solo, heralding Christ's death, and in the overwhelming solemnity of the final chorus for choir and orchestra.' The Argus. Full review here.

'A Buried Flame' recording on 'Dark Formations' CD

John Hancorn's performance of Ed Hughes's a cappella 'A Buried Flame' with the New Music Vocal Ensemble has been praised in the national and international press:

'a passionately committed performance'
Paul Conway, Tempo magazine, August 2013

'The performance of A Buried Flame is simply outstanding... it remains a powerful statement and one that reverberates long after the music finishes.'
Colin Clarke, Fanfare Magazine (US), November 2012

CDs and downloads available here