John Mark Ainsley was born in Cheshire, began his musical training in Oxford and continues to study with Diane Forlano.
His concert engagements include appearances with the London Symphony under Sir Colin Davis, Rostropovich and Previn, the Concert D’Astrée under Haim, the London Philharmonic under Norrington, Les Musiciens du Louvre under Minkowski, the Cleveland Orchestra under Welser-Moest, the Berlin Philharmonic under Haitink and Rattle, the Berlin Staatskapelle under Jordan, the New York Philharmonic under Masur, the Boston Symphony under Ozawa, the San Francisco Symphony under Tate and Norrington, the Vienna Philharmonic under Norrington, Pinnock and Welser-Möst, and both the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the Orchestre de Paris under Giulini.
His discography is extensive. For Philips Classics he has recorded Handel’s ‘Saul’ with Gardiner, Britten’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ with Davis, Stravinsky’s ‘Pulcinella’ with Haitink and Bach’s ‘Mass in B minor’ and the Evangelist in the ‘St. Matthew Passion’ with Ozawa. For Decca his recordings include ‘L’Enfance du Christ’, ‘Alexander’s Feast’, ‘Acis and Galatea’, the Berlioz ‘Requiem’ and the title role in Monteverdi’s ‘Orfeo’. His E.M.I. recordings include the Britten cycles ‘Serenade for tenor, horn and strings’, ‘Les Illuminations’ and ‘Nocturne’, Charlie in ‘Brigadoon’ and Don Ottavio in ’Don Giovanni’. For Deutsche Grammophon his releases include Handel’s ‘La Resurezzione’, Rameau’s ‘Dardanus’ and Handel’s ‘Messiah’ with Minkowski, the Britten ‘Spring’ Symphony with Gardiner and ‘L’Heure Espagnole’ with Previn. For Hyperion he has made a series of recital discs of Schubert, Mozart, Purcell, Grainger, Warlock and Quilter and his recording of Vaughan Williams ‘On Wenlock Edge’ with the Nash Ensemble was nominated for a Gramophone Award.
On the operatic stage he has sung Don Ottavio at the Glyndebourne Festival under Sir Simon Rattle, directed by Deborah Warner, the Aix-en-Provence Festival under Claudio Abbado, directed by Peter Brook and for his debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, under Mackerras. His many appearances at the Munich Festival include Bajazet in ‘Tamerlano’, Jonathan in ‘Saul’, the title role in a new production of ‘Idomeneo’ at the Cuvilliestheater and as Orfeo, for which he received the Munich Festival Prize. He created the role of Der Daemon in the world premiere of Hans Werner Henze's ‘L'Upupa’ at the Salzburg Festival and Hippolyt in the world premiere of Henze’s 'Phaedra' in Berlin and Brussels. He sang Skuratov in Janacek’s ‘From the House of the Dead’ directed by Chereau and conducted by Boulez at the Amsterdam, Vienna and Aix-en-Provence Festivals and most recently at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin under Sir Simon Rattle. He also made his house debut at La Scala, Milan under Salonen singing Skuratov and a DVD of this production has been released. He sang his first Captain Vere in ‘Billy Budd’ in Frankfurt directed by Richard Jones and 2010 saw his first Captain Vere in the UK in Michael Grandage’s production of ‘Billy Budd’ for the Glyndebourne Festival. Most recently he appeared as ‘Orfeo’ at the Theater an der Wien under Ivor Bolton.
Future engagements include recitals in London, Amsterdam and Antwerp as well as concerts with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under George Benjamin, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Charles Dutoit and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle.
John Mark won the 2007 Royal Philharmonic Society Singer Award and is a Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music.