Gerry Cornelius was born in London of Irish and Sri Lankan parentage. He read music at Durham University and went on to study conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London and then spent three years in the class of the legendary teacher Ilya Musin in St Petersburg.
Since making his debut in the UK at the Almeida Opera Festival, he has gone on to conduct for many of the country’s leading orchestras, ensembles, opera and ballet companies. These include recent appearances with Welsh National Opera, English National Ballet, BBC Concert Orchestra, Spitalfields Festival and The Opera Group. He also regularly conducts in Europe and Asia and has recently enjoyed revisiting the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Bochumer Symphoniker, RuhrTriennale Opera Festival and Klavierfestival Ruhr.
As well as mainstream opera, ballet and symphonic repertoire he is particularly in demand to conduct world premiere productions of major new works. These include award-winning new operas and ensemble pieces by George Benjamin, Colin Matthews, Errollyn Wallen, Edward Rushton, Julian Philips, and Elena Langer.
In education he has been a visiting conductor and tutor at the University of London - Goldsmiths, English National Opera Studio, The Royal College and Royal Academy of Music – the latter of which has just elected him an Associate of the Royal Academy “in recognition of significant contribution to the profession”. He is Conductor in Residence for the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and conducted the recent Music Mix concerts for children with the BBC Concert Orchestra as well as large scale community projects for WNO Max Department and Spitalfields Festival.