Born in Lancaster, Justin was a chorister at Westminster Cathedral and studied at King’s College, Cambridge. He won second prize in the prestigious Cadaqués Orchestra Conducting Competition and was awarded the first Conductor Fellowship with the BBC Singers.
Recent engagements have included concerts with the Orchestra of Opera North, Northern Sinfonia, The Hallé, King’s Camerata, Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, New London Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, Sinfonia of Leeds, Haffner Orchestra, Essex Symphony Orchestra, Jersey Chamber Orchestra, regular broadcasts for BBC Radio and a cover CD for BBC Music magazine.
Justin has recently been appointed Artistic Director of the period-instrument Retrospect Ensemble; their first collaboration was Haydn’s chamber opera Lo Speziale in November 2013. Justin is also currently Principal Conductor of Manchester Chamber Choir and of Manchester University Chorus, and is actively involved in music education as Musical Director of Opera North Children’s Chorus; previous posts have included Artistic Director of both Ryedale Festival and Swaledale Festival. His broad musical tastes have led him to work with period instrument ensembles such as Da Chiesa baroque ensemble and the Harmony of Nations, collaborate with African musicians and arrange folk music from all over the world, conduct live orchestral film scores (such as Olé Schmidt’s Jeanne d’Arc and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf with Orchestra of Opera North) and undertake research on Haydn and the music of Hungary.
Justin is particularly known for his conducting of opera; productions include Carmen, The Elixir of Love, Hansel and Gretel, The Marriage of Figaro, Dido and Aeneas, Die Fledermaus (Eastern Opera), L’infedeltà delusa (English Touring Opera), Orpheus and Eurydice, Orlando, Die Zauberflöte, Philemon und Baucis, Háry János (Ryedale Festival Opera), Così fan tutte, The Abduction from the Seraglio and La clemenza di Tito (Opera North). Recent engagements include Albert Herring for Opera North, which met with critical acclaim.