The Brazilian-born conductor John Neschling is a grand-nephew both of the composer Arnold Schoenberg and of the conductor Arthur Bodanzky. He studied in Vienna under Hans Swarowsky and attended classes with Leonard Bernstein and Bruno Maderna in Europe and in the USA. Orchestras he has conducted include the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of Santa Cecilia in Rome and the Residentie Orchestra in The Hague. As an opera conductor he has appeared all over the world with, for example, the Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Teatro San Carlo di Napoli, Arena di Verona, Opernhaus Zürich and Washington Opera.
He has been music director at the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon, the St Gallen Opera in Switzerland, the Teatro Massimo in Palermo and the Orchestre National Bordeaux-Aquitaine in France; in Brazil he has conducted the opera companies in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. In 1997 he became principal conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, a position he retained until 2009. During these years he transformed the orchestra into the leading symphony orchestra of Latin America, touring the USA and Europe three times, and recording more than 30 acclaimed discs. Since 2011 he has conducted concerts and opera productions in Italy, France, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium and Poland, and in the period 2013–16 he was artistic and musical director of the Theatro Municipal in São Paulo.