Biography

RICHARD PANTCHEFF

Richard Pantcheff is internationally renowned as one of the finest contemporary British composers of Choral, Organ, Chamber and Instrumental music. He was trained in choral music and composition from an early age, starting as a chorister at Ripon Cathedral, and thereafter reading music at Christ Church, Oxford, under Simon Preston and Francis Grier. He was mentored in composition by Benjamin Britten in the last years of Britten’s life.

Since then he has been commissioned to write new works for the leading performers in their field, both in the UK and internationally, including Stephen Layton, Grayston Ives, David Hill, Jane Parker-Smith, John Scott, Stephen Darlington, Clive Driskill-Smith, and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, amongst many others.

From 2012-2019 he was Director of Music at St. George’s Anglican Church, Johannesburg, South Africa, where he remains Composer in Residence. He is a Patron of the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music.

He is currently guest conductor of the Choir of St. Michael at the Northgate, Oxford, and is occasional guest organist for Ripon College, Oxford.

His substantial output of compositions has been commissioned, performed, recorded, and broadcast all over the world.

This includes performances in at least fifteen of the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge universities in the UK, as well as in many British cathedrals (e.g. St. Paul’s in London; Salisbury; Winchester, Christ Church Oxford), colleges, churches, and concert halls (such as The Cadogan Hall, London; the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford; and the Linder Auditorium, Johannesburg). There have also been numerous performances in the USA, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, across Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, and South Africa.

Highlights include King Henry VIII’s Apologia, a festival anthem commissioned by Christ Church, Oxford, in honour of the 450th anniversary of its foundation. (which was also performed in London as part of the 80th birthday celebrations of the late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies in 2014).

His 2013 work for organ, Passacaglia on a Theme of Benjamin Britten, was premiered in Essen Cathedral by Jane Parker-Smith, as part of the Britten 100 Festival.

In 2018, he was commissioned to contribute a new work to the Orgelbuechlein Project in London. The Choral Prelude : ‘Werde Munter, mein Gemuete’ was premiered on the organ of Westminster Abbey in December 2018.

A number of his commissions for The London Festival of Contemporary Church Music have been broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

All of his music has been published (his main publisher being Composers Edition), and features in major international music festivals, including the Tanglewood Festival (USA); the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music (UK); the St. Magnus Festival (Scotland); the Cape Festival of Voices (South Africa); the National Arts Festival (South Africa); Britten 100; and the English Music Festival.

There are currently fourteen commercially-released CDs/EPs in the catalogue featuring his music, many containing only his work, which have received excellent reviews. Upon its release on the Orchid Classics label in September 2020, his most recent CD with the London Choral Sinfonia (The Music of Richard Pantcheff, Volume 1) went straight to number twelve in the Gramophone Magazine’s Classical Charts. His ground-breakingSonata for Piano (performed by its dedicatee Duncan Honeybourne) was released on EM Records.

Several new CDs are in preparation. These include further choral and orchestral pieces with the London Choral Sinfonia for Orchid Classics (The Music of Richard Pantcheff, Volume 2). Additionally, his works for violin and cello (the Introduction and Allegro No.1 and No.2, and the Fantasia on Yorkshire Folk Tunes), narrator and solo violin (‘To Autumn’) have been recorded for EM Records.

His works have been broadcast regularly on radio and TV around the world, including by the PBS (North America), Norwegian TV, the CBC (Caribbean), Classic FM (UK and South Africa), BBC Radios 3 and 4 (UK), German radio, Austrian radio (ORF), and SABC (TV and radio) in South Africa. His works are streamed on YouTube, and a large number are available on Spotify.

His compositions are noted by critics and audiences for their combining of originality and technical brilliance with intellectual and emotional depth.

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