David Lloyd-Jones is one of the most prominent English conductors of his generation. He initially became associated with Russian operatic works not least because of his fluency in the Russian language. He led notable performances of Boris Godunov in 1971 at Covent Garden and gave the British premiere of Prokofiev's War and Peace in 1972 at Sadler's Wells. Lloyd-Jones gradually became identified with British orchestral music, however, often championing lesser-known composers in his lengthy discography, which now runs to more than 50 discs. He has recorded all the symphonies of Alwyn and Bax and has explored whole chunks of the orchestral outputs of Bliss, Holst, Rawsthorne, and others. Lloyd-Jones has recorded for Hyperion and Naxos.
Lloyd-Jones was born in London on November 19, 1934. Musically, he was a late bloomer, not landing his first important post until 1959, and that as a Russian language coach at Covent Garden. This appointment was awarded largely because of earlier studies in Russian and German at Oxford University. His first advanced studies in music did not come until the mid-'50s when Lloyd-Jones took private instruction with composer Iain Hamilton.
In 1960 Lloyd-Jones served as an assistant to John Pritchard at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. He soon began to freelance as a conductor throughout England and also started making his own translations of Russian-language operas, presenting his own version of Boris Godunov at the Scottish Opera in 1967. Though he had become identified with the Russian repertory, Lloyd-Jones was also doing other operatic works, including Haydn's rarely heard La fedeltà premiata (1971).
Lloyd-Jones was instrumental in the founding of Opera North (and its orchestra the English Northern Philharmonia) in 1978, for which he served as musical director and later as artistic director, until 1990. During this period he oversaw the production of 50 operas, including Krenek's Jonny spielt auf in 1984 (a British premiere) and Prokofiev's The Love for Three Oranges (1989).
Throughout the 1980s and '90s, as well as in the new century, Lloyd-Jones was also busy compiling a huge discography, mainly of British orchestral music. His Bax symphony and orchestral works series for Naxos, running to eight discs, was completed in 2003 and had received consistently high praise. Among his more recent recordings is the 2006 CD of pianos concertos by Delius and John Ireland, with pianist Piers Lane, part of Hyperion Records' Romantic Piano Concerto series.