St Bride's: Music

Richard Wilberforce

Richard Wilberforce

Richard Wilberforce juggles an active career as a countertenor and a composer, whilst emerging as one of the country's busiest young choral directors. He received his training as a Choral Scholar at St John's College, Cambridge under David Hill, and at the Royal College of Music under Ashley Stafford.

He made his operatic debut at ENO in 1996, singing Mustardseed in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream with the Trinity Boys Choir. As a countertenor, he has performed solo roles by Handel, Purcell and Blow, on many of Europe's most prestigious opera platforms, such as the Staadtsoper Unter den Linden, the Grand Theatre de Provence, the Theatre du Capitole de Toulouse and the Innsbrucker Landestheatre; under as illustrious batons as René Jacobs, Christian Curnyn and Giulio Prandi. His role in Handel's Belshazzar, which has recently been released on BluRay by Harmonia Mundi, was praised for its 'warm and delicate sound [...], whose incursions, while never excessive, made a resounding impact' (Anaclase). Recent appearances on the concert platform include St John Passion with the English Baroque Choir, cantatas by Bach and Buxtehude in Jerusalem, Handel's Saul in Penzance, Schütz's Musikalische Exequien at the Aldeburgh Festival, and Britten's Abraham and Isaac at the Chelsea Schubert Festival. Future solo engagements include Messiah at Snape Maltings and Israel in Egypt in the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

As a composer, predominantly of choral music, Richard has had his works broadcast by the BBC and recorded. Recent commissions include a choral work for the British Art Music Series, and a chamber suite in commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the foundation of St John's College, Cambridge. He is currently working on his first opera, which tells the story of Gyges's accession to the Throne of Lydia.

Richard is the Conductor and Artistic Director of the Exon Singers, who are recognised as one of the UK's leading chamber choirs. He is also the Hallé Youth Choir Director, where he works with Sir Mark Elder in preparing the 65-strong choir for its busy schedule of performances in the Bridgewater Hall, as well as its Gramophone Award winning recordings. His debut was critically lauded , with The Times commenting that 'the [HYC] sang with fresh radiance from a heavenly height' and The Telegraph suggesting that 'Under its new director, Richard Wilberforce, the [HYC] was especially impressive'. He also directs the London-based Orlando Chamber Choir, who specialise in Renaissance and Baroque music.