John Tomlinson (bass)

Sir John Rowland Tomlinson CBE (born 22 September 1946) is an English bass.

Tomlinson was born in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, England. He trained as a civil engineer at Manchester University before deciding on a career in opera at age 21.[1] He studied with Patrick McGuigan at the Royal Northern College of Music and with Otakar Kraus. Whilst studying at the RNCM, he was a member of the Manchester Universities Gilbert and Sullivan Society (MUGSS). He sings regularly with the Royal Opera and English National Opera, and has appeared with all the major British opera companies. He has sung at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany every year from 1988 to 2006, as Wotan, the Wanderer, King Marke, Titurel, Gurnemanz, Hagen and the Dutchman. In 2008, he created the title role in Harrison Birtwistle's opera The Minotaur at the Royal Opera House.

Tomlinson was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1997 for his services to music and was created a Knight Bachelor in the 2005 Queen's Birthday Honours List.

In 2014 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society.[2]


  1. Tomlinson in conversation with Sean Rafferty on BBC Radio 3's In Tune program, 24 November 2014
  2. "BBC News - Opera star Sir John Tomlinson awarded medal". BBC Online. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014.

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