MONKEY: JOURNEY TO THE WEST

John conducted Damon Albarn’s spectacular first opera, for its 6 week residency at the O2 in Greenwich in 2008-09.

“Damon is, to me, an artist who happens to use music as his medium. He’s always thinking in big ideas, but loves nurturing the project with unusual details – like using a musical saw, rare synthesisers, and a choir making extraordinary sounds.

For me, the main challenge was communicating notes to the Chinese cast – I wasn’t always sure the interpreter really understood the technical points I was making! But I have really happy memories of that season in the tent.”