David Wordsworth biography


After postgraduate studies at the City University and the Guildhall Hall School of Music & Drama and a period of teaching, David held senior positions with two major music publishers, Schott and OUP. Here he developed close working relationships with some of the most important composers of our time, including Tippett, Ligeti, Dutilleux, Penderecki, Shchedrin and Henze. After moving to OUP in 2008, David worked with John Rutter, Bob Chilcott, Michael Berkeley, Cecilia McDowall, Howard Skempton and Gabriel Jackson, whose music he has continued to champion as a performer.

David became Music Director of the Addison Singers in 1995 and has led the choir in almost all of their London performances since then, as well as taking them on tours to the US, France, Spain, Poland, Ireland, Cornwall, Scotland and Italy, giving concerts in such iconic venues as the Church of the Madeleine (Paris), Monserrat Basilica (Barcelona), the Cathedral Churches of Cork, Kilkenny, Truro, Krakow and, most recently. conducting the Mozart ‘Requiem’ in St Stephen’s Cathedral (Vienna) and the Dvorak ‘Mass’ in Salzburg Cathedral. The Addison Chamber Choir travelled to the Isle of Man to give two concerts in July 2018 and the Oratorio Choir will visit Budapest in May 2019. Aside from conducting most of the standard choral repertoire, Handel’s ‘Messiah’ and ‘Coronation Anthems’, the Requiems and Masses of Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Faure, Verdi, as well as twentieth century classics by Britten, Bernstein, Vaughan Williams, Orff and many others, contemporary music is an important part of David’s programmes. A whole range of composers have written works especially for David and the Addison Singers, including William Bolcom, Cecilia McDowall, Jill Jarman, Bob Chilcott, Kenneth Hesketh, Gavin Bryars, Howard Skempton, Gabriel Jackson, Edwin Roxburgh and David Matthews. Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir was ‘Featured Composer’ for the 17/18 season. New works for 2019 have been commissioned from Michael Berkeley (‘Featured Composer’ for 18/19), Howard Goodall and one of the choir’s own singers, Zillah Myers.

In January 2012 David lead almost 150 singers in a highly successful singing day focusing on Howard Goodall’s ‘Eternal Light’, given in the presence of the composer. This was followed by a Singing Day featuring the music of Morten Lauridsen (with the composer himself at the piano) and more recently ‘Come & Sing Events’ based around ‘Eternal Light’ and the Mozart Requiem for ‘Singing for Syrians’ in London and at Dorchester Abbey. David’s most recent ‘Come & Sing’ events focused on American music (for St John’s Smith Square) and he will lead a ‘Come and Sing Parry’ to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of the great English composer in October 2018.

David has had a much-valued association with King’s Place, London – in 2011 he played an important part in the celebration of Percy Grainger, following this with a concert with the Gavin Bryars Ensemble (part of the award-winning ‘Minimalism Unwrapped’ series) in 2014 and a celebration of Howard Skempton’s 70th birthday in 2017. In January 2018 he was invited to become Associate Musical Director of the Brandenburg Choral Festival, following a long period of collaboration with both the Festival and the Brandenburg Sinfonia, that has included many concerts at King’s College Chapel (London), St Martin-in-the Fields, as well as the Addison Singers own concerts.

David has conducted and adjudicated in Hungary, Cuba, Mexico and throughout the US, holding residencies at the Universities of Syracuse, Iowa, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Michigan, Michigan State and Queen’s, New York, and has lead pre-concert lectures/interviews for the Kennedy Centre, the Lincoln Center, the Juilliard School and Opera Theatre St Louis. He has addressed conferences and given workshops at the University of Aberdeen, the UST Conservatoire in Manilla (where he also conducted a concert with the Philippine Philharmonic) and the Chopin University in Warsaw.

David acted as Artistic Director of ‘Singing Shakespeare’, a major project focusing on choirs the world over singing new and existing settings of the Bard. The launch concert was at Holy Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon and David lead further Shakespeare related workshops for the Brandenburg Choral Festival (London), the Association of British Choral Directors, the Cork International Choral Festival and Sound Scotland, that featured repertoire from his Shakespeare Anthology that was published by Novello in 2015. David’s other publications include articles on American and Polish music, a celebration of John Joubert’s 90th and Howard Skempton’s 70th birthdays and memorial tributes to his friends Sir Richard Rodney Bennett and John McCabe, for ‘Choir & Organ’, as well as two anthologies of new Christmas Carols by over thirty leading composers (published by Chester-Novello), and several arrangements of pieces by composers as diverse as John Ireland and Stephen Sondheim. His new two pianos and percussion arrangement of Judith Weir’s ‘Stars, Night, Music and Light’ was premiered in July 2018 and published by Chester Music.

In 2016 David conducted the Marian Consort and the Berkeley Ensemble in a revival of Sir Lennox Berkeley’s ‘Stabat Mater’ – performing the work at the Aldeburgh Easter Festival, the Spitalfields Festival (for a BBC broadcast) and the Cheltenham International Festival, also recording the work for Delphian Records, a CD that was critically acclaimed and was short-listed for a Gramophone Award. 2016 also saw a 90th birthday concert for Joseph Horovitz with the Addison Singers and East London Brass (Cadogan Hall), at which David conducted Horovitz’s dramatic Cantata for chorus and brass band, ‘Samson’

2018 sees the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein and to celebrate this occasion, David has curated a year-long festival of American music at St John’s Smith Square, London – the year included some 80 concerts between January-December 2018, a day of performances on July 4th and over a week of concerts in mid-October, featuring amateur choirs and orchestras, alongside a great many soloists of international standing. In July 2018 David led a performance of the iconic ‘Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet’ by Gavin Bryars at the Three Choirs Festival, involving amateur singers and players from the Hereford area. Further plans for the second half of 2018 include concerts with the Moonlight Symphony Orchestra at the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam) and Muiskverein (Vienna).

David was appointed Director of the John Ireland Trust in November 2017.

JULY 2018