Richard Wilberforce, who was appointed director of Orlando Chamber Choir in January 2012, is emerging as one of the country's most exciting young choral directors whilst juggling active careers as countertenor and composer. He received his training as a Choral Scholar at St John's College, Cambridge, under The Exon Singers' president David Hill, and at the Royal College of Music under Ashley Stafford.
Richard became passionate about conducting at an early age when he was the occasional conductor of Croydon Parish Choir under the instruction of Martin How, and Nigel McClintock. After a stint at the helm of the Trinity Male Voice Choir he took up directorship of The Gentlemen of St John's College, Cambridge, enjoying their busy touring and recording schedule.
In more recent years Richard directed the Choir of the American Cathedral in Paris and the Paris Choral Society. He also founded the French vocal ensemble Les Voix Filigranes which performs contemporary and Renaissance repertoire in atypical and thought-provoking venues. In January 2012 Richard was appointed director of the Hallé Youth Choir. He works with Sir Mark Elder to prepare the choir for its performances at The Bridgewater Hall and for its Gramophone Award winning recordings. He is also musical director and conductor of The Exon Singers, recognised as one of the country's leading chamber choirs.
Future conducting plans include Handel's Flavio and Verdi's Falstaff (assistant conductor/chorus master) at Pigotts Farm, Sibelius part songs with the Hallé Youth Choir at The Bridgewater Hall, and a BBC Radio 3 Choral Evensong with The Exon Singers during the Olympics.
As a singer Richard performed solo roles on many of Europe's most prestigious opera platforms. Under the direction of such illustrious batons as René Jacobs, Christian Curnyn and Giulio Prandi he performed at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden (Berlin), the Grand Théâtre de Provence (Aix-en-Provence), the Théâtre du Capitole (Toulouse) and the Tiroler Landestheater (Innsbruck). His role in Handel's Belshazzar, recently released on BluRay by Harmonia Mundi, was praised for its 'warm and delicate sound [...], whose incursions, while never excessive, made a resounding impact' (Anaclase).
Richard is also greatly in demand as a consort singer. He works regularly with La Nuova Musica (signed to Harmonia Mundi USA), The Dmitri Ensemble (Naxos), English Voices and others. He is a member of the St Bride's Choir, Fleet Street, and also sings in The Choir of Westminster Abbey and in the Westminster Cathedral Choir.
Richard's compositions, predominantly of choral music, were 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. In March 2012 the Trinity Boys Choir performed and recorded his Sweep thy faint strings.
Further information is available on Richard's website richardwilberforce.com.