Conductor Ian Page is a leading figure in the historically oriented performance of Mozart's music. To this end, he has founded his own opera company, Classical Opera, and an instrumental offshoot, The Mozartists, and is beginning a large project to perform Mozart's works on the 250th anniversaries of their original appearance.
Page was born on December 10, 1963. His first musical experiences came as a chorister at Westminster Abbey. He went on to study English literature at the University of York and conducting at the Royal Academy of Music. It was actually at the former institution that he was steered toward the growing historical performance movement: he heard Roger Norrington conduct the Beethoven Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 ("Eroica"), with the school's chamber orchestra. After graduating from the RAM's conducting program, he joined the Scottish Opera as an assistant to Nicholas McGegan, working with him on a new production of Mozart's La clemenza di Tito. "I was astonished by how wide the gulf generally was between a good and a bad performance of works like Tito or Idomeneo," he told MozartCircle. Page followed McGegan to Sweden's Drottningholm Palace Theater, and also gained apprenticeships with such other conductors as Charles Mackerras, Ivor Bolton, and Mark Wigglesworth. At England's Glyndebourne Festival Opera, he gained a reputation as a Mozart specialist, and he has also conducted the Royal Opera, the English National Opera, and the Opera Factory. Becoming more and more interested in Mozart's early and less often performed operas, he founded the company Classical Opera in 1997 and has since served as its conductor. Under his leadership, the company has branched out into operas by composers other than Mozart, including Gluck, Telemann, and Johann Christian Bach, whose opera Adriano in Siria the group performed for the first time in 250 years. In 2015, Page launched "Mozart 250," a performance project planned to offer works by Mozart and his contemporaries exactly 250 years since they were first performed. To this end, he formed the instrumental ensemble, The Mozartists.
In 2012, Page launched a complete cycle of Mozart recordings; these have been released on the Signum Classics label. By 2018, the cycle had reached Bastien und Bastienne, Op. 50, which Page coupled with the even rarer Grabmusik, K. 42, a funeral cantata by the child Mozart. The Mozartists also began to record, releasing the album Sturm und Drang, Vol. 1, containing the music by several little-known composers who wrote in the style, on the Linn label in 2020.
© James Manheim /TiVo