David Wordsworth biography


DAVID WORDSWORTH studied at Leeds University, the City University (London) and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. After a period of teaching he held senior positions at two major music publishers, Schott and OUP, developing close working relationships with a wide range of composers including Tippett, Henze, Ligeti, Penderecki, Dutilleux, Shchedrin and more recently at OUP, working closely with John Rutter, Bob Chilcott, Gerald Barry, Michael Berkeley, Gabriel Jackson and Cecilia McDowall.

David became Music Director of the Addison Singers in 1995 and under his direction the choirs have expanded their regular London concert series, singing at major venues in Edinburgh, Paris, Barcelona, Krakow, Milan and have sung on tour in Cornwall, France, Ireland and at the Carnegie Hall (New York) under the baton of Bob Chilcott. New music is a regular feature of David’s concerts with the Addison Singers – he has conducted the first performances of works written especially for him and the choir by Gavin Bryars, Cecilia McDowall, Gabriel Jackson, Bob Chilcott, David Matthews, Edwin Roxburgh, Kenneth Hesketh, Howard Skempton and William Bolcom amongst many others. Most recently the choirs worked with Howard Goodall and Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir, on performances of their works. In January 2012 David lead almost 150 singers in a highly successful singing day focusing on Howard Goodall’s work ‘Eternal Light’ given in the presence of the composer. This was followed in March 2013 by a Singing Day featuring the music of Morten Lauridsen, accompanied by the composer himself at the piano and a further events with Howard Goodall in February 2014 focusing on his recent work ‘Every Purpose under the Heaven’ and once again ‘Eternal Light’ in aid of ‘Singing for Syrians’ at St John’s Smith Square in January 2017. The Addison Chamber Choir have, under David’s direction, played important roles in both the Percy Grainger Festival and award-winning ‘Minimalism Unwrapped’ Festival King’s Place, London, sung at the a number of regional festivals, recorded the sound-track for a TV documentary and given several concerts at St Martin-in-the Fields, encompassing a wide range of repertoire, including the Mozart and Faure Requiems, as well as recent works by Toby Young and Judith Bingham. In 2014 the choir collaborated with the Vigila Singers and the Gavin Bryars Ensemble for a concert at the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music and with Voskresenjie (St Petersburg) in music by Russian and British composers for the Ealing Autumn Festival.

In addition to work with the Addison Singers, David Wordsworth was Musical Director of Horsley Choral Society in Surrey (2005-8), has conducted/adjudicated in Hungary, Norway, Mexico and Cuba and in 2007 visited the Philippines, conducting the Philippine Philharmonic in a concert of British music and teaching at the UST Conservatoire in Manila. He has appeared at festivals in many parts of the UK and spent the last three months of 2011 in the US, holding residencies at universities in New York, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina and Rhode Island, lecturing on aspects of British music and working with student choirs and conductors. In June 2012 David was Artistic Director of ‘John Ireland in Chelsea’ a major festival celebrating the music of the noted English composer and which featured David as both conductor and pianist and in February 2013 he was one of four conductors to lead a concert to celebrate the 70th birthday of the American/British -composer Stephen Montague’s 70th birthday at St John’s Smith Square. Later the same year was invited to travel to Poland to take part in a choral music conference at the Frederick Chopin University, Warsaw.

During 2016 David acted as Artistic Director of ‘Singing Shakespeare’, a major project supported by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, focusing on choirs the world over singing new and existing settings of Shakespeare texts. David conducted choirs from Stratford-upon-Avon in the launch concert at Holy Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon, in a programme that included Vaughan Williams iconic ‘Serenade to Music’, as well as a newly commissioned work from Gary Carpenter and a new arrangement of Stephen Sondheim’s song ‘Fear no More’ that David undertook with the permission of the composer. David was invited to lead a session on ‘Singing Shakespeare’ at the Association of British Choral Conductors convention in Cardiff in August 2014 and directed workshops/performances for the Brandenburg Choral Festival (London), the Cork International Choral Festival and Sound Scotland, that featured repertoire from his anthology of Shakespeare settings that was published by Novello in the summer of 2015.

David’s most recent written publications include articles on American music, the music of Gavin Bryars, a celebration of John Joubert’s 90th birthday, tributes to his friends Sir Richard Rodney Bennett and John McCabe and a two part survey of Polish and American Choral Music for ‘Choir & Organ’ magazine. 2015 saw the publication of two major choral anthologies – a collection of Christmas pieces by contemporary composers published by Cadenza Music and a Shakespeare choral anthology published by Novello that includes new works written for the book by John Joubert, Pawel Lukaszewski and Richard Sisson, alongside other well-loved and more recent settings of texts by the Bard. Boosey and Hawkes will publish David’s next anthology, a collection of choruses taken from the operas of Benjamin Britten, in their ‘Concerts for Choirs’ series in 2017 and a further collection of especially written Christmas works will be published by Cadenza Music in the summer of 2017.

In recent months performances have included the Mozart Requiem at St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna and St Martin-in –the-Fields, London; Handel’s ‘Messiah’ with the Addison Singers and the Brandenburg Sinfonia and a revival of Sir Lennox Berkeley’s ‘Stabat Mater’ with the Marian Consort and the Berkeley Ensemble (Aldeburgh Music, a BBC broadcast from the Spitalfields Festival, the Cheltenham Festival), recorded by Delphian Records to great acclaim in 2016. In July 2016, David conducted a concert at the Cadogan Hall (London), with the Addison Singers and the East London Brass Band to celebrate the 90th birthday of Joseph Horovitz, given in the presence of the composer.

Plans for the 2017 include a performance of Haydn’s ‘Nelson Mass’ at St Martin-in-the-Fields; a trip to Austria with the Addison Singers and curating a celebration of Howard Skempton’s 70th birthday at King’s Place. Looking further ahead, David’s next CD will focus on the music of John Gardner and he will curate a year-long festival of American music to be held at St John’s Smith Square, London, through 2018.

March 2017