Composer, arranger, curator and conductor, Jules Buckley has collaborated with some of the most important names in music, trailblazing his way through a staggering discography of over 70 albums. He is a Grammy winner with two No.1 albums and the go-to orchestrator for some of the hottest names in music. Through his mastery of non-classical orchestral music, he has earned himself a reputation as a pioneering genre alchemist.
Throughout his career, Jules Buckley has earned the respect of a diverse range of music makers leading to collaborations, recordings and live projects with artists including: Arctic Monkeys, Stormzy, Snarky Puppy, Basement Jaxx, Massive Attack, John Cale, Laura Mvula, José James, Henrik Schwarz, Benjamin Clementine, Skepta, George Duke, Laura Marling, Anna Calvi, Son Lux, Patrick Watson, Jessie Ware, Tori Amos, Emeli Sandé, Caro Emerald, Joshua Redman, Dizzy Rascal, Tim Minchin, Kurt Elling, Chaka Khan, Jacob Collier, Mark Ronson, Bokanté, Michael Kiwanuka, Ibeyi, Professor Green, Cinematic Orchestra, Dee Dee Bridgewater and more. In 2016, Jules led the Metropole Orkest in a stunning tribute to his idol, music giant, Quincy Jones at the BBC Proms, a collaboration that continues to this day with performances in Paris, the USA and Quincy’s 85th birthday at the O2 in 2018 which saw the legend himself perform his hits to Buckley’s brand new arrangements.
Jules has key roles in three of the world’s most high-profile orchestras. He is the co-founder and conductor of the Heritage Orchestra with Chris Wheeler, a genre-smashing ensemble dedicated to performing new music from stadium tours to two UK no.1 albums. Their latest collaboration was the release of ‘The Breaks’ on Decca in 2021 a labour of love, two years in the making with Chris Wheeler, the Heritage Orchestra, Ghost-Note and incredible featured artists including Mr Talbox, Mr Switch, Mattiel and Kamasi Washington. ‘The Breaks’ takes the sonic blueprint for the foundation of a scene that cemented Breaking as one of the four pillars of hip hop culture worldwide and reimagined it with orchestra. The project began as a BBC Prom in 2019 developed with Chris Wheeler and bringing breaking crew ‘Soul Mavericks’ to the Royal Albert Hall.
Buckley’s 12-year relationship with the Metropole Orkest included his tenure as Chief Conductor (2013 -2020) and now, as honorary Conductor. He has led the orchestra across internationally renowned tours, concerts and recording projects including Grammy wins with their collaboration with Snarky Puppy ‘Sylva’ and Jacob Collier’s award winning ‘Djesse vol 1’. Their latest collaboration Ledisi’s acclaimed album ‘Ledisi Sings Nina’, a celebration of the legendary writer, singer, pianist and activist Nina Simone is nominated for ‘Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album’ at the Grammy Awards 2022 and Jules is co-producer of the album.
In 2019, Jules became Chief Artist in Association with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Jules has led the BBCSO in a range of innovative projects from a collaboration with vocal sensation Lianne La Havas at the Barbican, to a return to the Proms with Moses Sumney who’s blend of jazz, art-pop spoken word sprawling from electronica to Orchestra to defy traditional categories was the perfect match for the evening masterminded by Jules with the BBCSO’s orchestra in full force. In 2021, Jules led the BBCSO in a deep orchestral dive with legendary songwriter Paul Weller for a BBC 2 Broadcast from the Barbican with special guests Celeste, Boy George and James Morison. The collaboration has been released as an album “Paul Weller - An Orchestrated Songbook with Jules Buckley and the BBCSO” which entered the UK charts at no. 4 in December 2021.
Jules has led international projects and collaborations with acclaimed artists and ensembles. A few highlights include Jacob Collier and Cory Henry in 2017 with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, King’s Day Eve concert with Benjamin Clementine with Royal Concertgebouworkest in 2016, Days Off Festival in Paris with Patrick Watson and l’Orchestre national d’Île-de-France and with Snarky Puppy and the Metropole Orkest at the legendary North Sea Jazz festival. Jules has orchestrated and conducted the ‘Classic House’ albums with DJ sensation Pete Tong which reached No.1 in the UK album charts, 2015’s groundbreaking ‘Ibiza Prom’ and continues to tour globally to sell-out stadiums. Other ensembles and orchestras Jules has worked with include: Rotterdam Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Umeå Chamber Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra (Washington D.C) and Seattle Symphony Orchestra to name a few.
For the past 10 years, Jules has presented some of the BBC’s most ground-breaking Proms. From a partnership with BBC Radio 1Xtra Metropole Orkest work alongside some of the UK’s hottest grime acts including Wretch 32 and Stormzy to ‘The Songs of Scott Walker’ featuring Jarvis Cocker, John Grant and Richard Hawley (which saw the project endorsed by the great man), a Late Night Prom with Kamasi Washington and the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and ‘New York: Sound Of A City’ developed with Chris Wheeler and the Heritage Orchestra which brought together special guests Serpentwithfeet, Hercules and Love Affair, Sharon Van Etten and Nitty Scott. In 2019, Jules presented Mississippi Goddam: A Homage to Nina Simone, saw The Metropole Orkest and a stellar line-up of artists including Grammy-award winning vocal sensation Lisa Fischer and R&B vocal powerhouse Ledisi, took a fresh and bold look at the music of singer, songwriter, arranger and political activist, Nina Simone. In 2020, amid the world’s Covid-19 pandemic, Jules is one of the very few conductors to be selected to perform, live, in a socially distanced setting from the Royal Albert Hall. Conducting the Britten Sinfonia with virtuoso sitarist Anoushka Shankar, electro artist, Gold Panda and hang player, Manu Delago. From jazz, disco, soul and gospel to electronica, global and avant-garde, Jules continues to bring a range of genres and acclaimed performances to the Proms.
In 2020, Jules made his presenting debut as guest-presenter, filling in for Clemency Burton-Hill on BBC Radio 3’s award-winning Classical Fix podcast, curating a set of personal classical playlists for his special guests including Nadine Shah, Cory Henry and Arlo Parks. As a tastemaker, Jules is guest curator Cheltenham Music Festival for 2023 exploring his passion for classical music and innovative orchestral collaborations.
Quite simply, by working creatively with artists and DJs, skilfully crossing genres and adding orchestral context, Jules is redefining the rulebook of orchestral music.
“It doesn’t matter if genres seemingly clash, if the concept is strong, you can make anything happen” - Jules Buckley