A most versatile conductor, JOHN BARIL has led critically acclaimed performances of symphonic and choral music, ballet, opera, operetta and musical theater. He has collaborated with such artists as conductor Stephen Lord, soprano/director Catherine Malfitano, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, director Paul Curran, the late director Colin Graham, conductor Marin Alsop, dramatic mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick and pop chanteuse Toni Tennille. For the past 20-plus seasons, he has worked closely with the apprentice and studio artists in the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program at the Central City Opera Festival, leading them in mainstage performances of Manon, Pique Dame, The Barber of Seville, Rigoletto, Madame Butterfly, Tosca, La fanciulla del West, Candide, La traviata, Little Women and Carmen. In 1996, he was Chorus Master for the Newport Classics recording of The Ballad of Baby Doe, an opera he has conducted with Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. During his tenure at Yale University, where he was the Managing Coordinator and assistant to the Artistic Director, he again worked closely with developing artists in repertoire, language, style, performance traditions, and led them in performances of La cenerentola and Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta as well as numerous scenes programs.
At Central City Opera, he began as production coordinator and assistant conductor in 1992, progressing to associate conductor and music administrator in 1996, and, as of the 2000 season, resident conductor, a post created for him. During the 2001 season, Mr. Baril conducted the regional premiere of Adamo’s Little Women, marking his tenth anniversary with the company. Several seasons ago, he conducted to standing ovations a sold-out revival of Carmen, marking the first opera to be sung in French at Central City, while 2003 found him leading performances of the unusual double-bill of I Pagliacci and Goyescas. In 2002, he conducted Street Scene at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and also made his debut with Opera Colorado, as chorus master for their productions of Lucia di Lammermoor, Don Giovanni, Sweeney Todd, and in subsequent productions of La Traviata, La bohème, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Giulio Cesare, Le nozze di Figaro, Rigoletto, Carmen, Norma, Die Entfuehrung aus dem Serail, Magic Flute, L’elisir d’amore. Un ballo in maschera, Florencia en el Amazonas, Il trovatore, Les pecheurs des perles as well as the premiere of Lori Laitman's The Scarlet Letter. In the summer of 2004, Mr. Baril led 14 performances of Central City’s highly-praised production of Les contes d’Hoffmann, directed by Paul Curran, while in 2005, he conducted sold-out performances of Madama Butterfly, to standing ovations, and which marked the directorial debut of Catherine Malfitano. As newly-promoted Music Director, the first in the company’s history, he led Don Giovanni in 2006, Massenet’s Cendrillon for the company’s 75th anniversary season in 2007, sold-out performances of Bernstein’s West Side Story for its 50th anniversary celebratory performances in 2008 and teamed up again with Malfitano for a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor in 2009. John made his Nashville Opera debut in 2008 in Don Giovanni as well as his Opera Delaware debut in 2010 with Tosca. He conducted a performance of Il barbiere di Siviglia for Opera Colorado in 2010, followed in Central City by Heggie’s Three Decembers (2010), a triple bill of Gianni Schicchi, Die Sieben Todsünden and Les Mamelles di Tiresias (2011), and La bohème (2012). In February 2012 he lead Opera Colorado’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro as well as a new production of Il barbiere di Siviglia for Central City in summer 2013. He returned to Opera Delaware to conduct Cavalleria Rusticana and I pagliacci in fall of 2012 while September 2013 found him in Reno for Carmen with Nevada Opera. John completed a run of Dead Man Walking for Central City as well as performances of Così fan tutte at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2014. In 2015, he was at the helm for La traviata; in summer 2016, he led Tosca. John was invited back to the University of Missouri-Kansas City to conduct The Turn of the Screw in March, 2016. Last season, he made his debut with Virginia Opera in Romeo et Juliette and returned later that fall for a triumphant Il barbiere di Siviglia. He recently made his debut at Toledo Opera in Les pecheurs des perles following a highly-praised Cosi fan tutte in Central City. Last summer, John was at the helm for Il trovatore in Central City and returns for Billy Budd in summer 2019. In 2020, he will lead the first new production of Rigoletto at Central City since 1996. This winter, he joins the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University conducting their 2020 production of Die Fledermaus.
Since its inception in 2000, the Associate Conductor position at Central City Opera under Baril's guidance has played an important role in the early careers of several young conductors including Andrew Altenbach, Aaron Breid, Jeffrey Eckstein, Levi Hammer, Timothy Myers, Stefano Sarzani, Adam Turner and Christopher Zemliauskas.
A native of Stagecoach, Nevada, JOHN BARIL attended the University of Nevada—Reno, where he was awarded full scholarships in tuba, conducting as well as in music education and, later, vocal performance, and from which he graduated cum laude. This led to a fourteen-year relationship with the Nevada Opera Association, where he began as a chorister at age 17, soon thereafter studying under the late, famed vocal pedagogue Ted Puffer (and teacher of Dolora Zajick), and sang numerous comprimario roles including Dancaire, Spalanzani, Normanno, Goro, Monostatos, Gastone, Parpignol, Don Basilio, St. Brioche, Harry, and the Magician in The Consul as well as conducting L’elisir d’amore, Hänsel und Gretel, Mame and Il trovatore, and several productions of The Nutcracker with the Nevada Festival Ballet. He has judged Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions in Phoenix, San Diego, Kansas City, Los Angeles, San Antonio and Mississippi, and, recently, the Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year competition in Shreveport.
At Fernley High School, John was an All-Conference, All-State and All-American offensive guard and co-captain of the Fernley Vaqueros varsity football team. John is an endurance runner; he’s completed many half marathons, eight marathons and finished his first ultramarathon in 2013. He is a member of Iron Clad Fitness, Denver's premier Russian Kettlebell gym, where he recently attained HKC (Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification) and now teaches an occasional class. He was also a long-time member of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America and a new member of the Rolls-Royce Owners Club, though not yet an owner. He is married to Brian Cook and is daddy to two miniature dachshunds: Lois Lane and Zadie.