Biography

RICHARD PANTCHEFF

 

Richard Pantcheff is internationally renowned as a composer in many genres, and has established a prominent reputation as a composer of Choral, Organ, Chamber and instrumental music of the highest quality. His musical career commenced as Head Chorister at Ripon Cathedral, in England. During his five years as a Music Scholar at senior school, he corresponded regularly with Benjamin Britten, who acted as occasional mentor to him in composition. Thereafter, he graduated with Honours in Music at Christ Church, Oxford University, under Simon Preston and Francis Grier.

His choral music has been performed in at least ten of the college chapels of Cambridge and Oxford Universities, including Magdalen College Oxford, Trinity College Cambridge, Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, and Jesus College, Cambridge. His work has also been commissioned and performed in numerous cathedrals and churches in the United Kingdom (including St Paul’s Cathedral, London; Salisbury, and Winchester Cathedrals), Germany (the Berliner Dom), and the USA. His work has appeared at many international music festivals, including the National Arts Festival Grahamstown (South Africa), the Southern Cathedrals Festival (UK), and the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music.

His festival anthem King Henry VIII’s Apologia was specially commissioned in 1996 by the Choir of Christ Church, Oxford, in celebration of the 450th Anniversary of the college’s foundation. The same work was performed in London as part of the 80th birthday celebrations of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies in 2014. Richard Pantcheff’s anthem Spirit of Mercy was performed at the official inauguration of the President of South Africa in 2009. He has recently completed a setting of the Jubilate Deo, in the Zulu language (Ihubo Ikhulu), for the 750th anniversary celebrations of the foundation of Merton College, Oxford.

His instrumental and chamber music has been performed all over the world, including major works in the USA, the Caribbean, the UK, Europe, and, lately, South Africa. His recent work for organ, Passacaglia on a Theme of Benjamin Britten was premiered by Jane Parker-Smith in Essen Cathedral in 2013 as part of the celebrations of the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten.

Richard’s work is broadcast frequently on radio and TV, notably in the USA, Germany, the UK, South Africa, the Caribbean, Norway, and Canada.

A large proportion of his work is published, distributed, and performed around the world, and much of it has been released on CD, to wide critical acclaim. There are nine CDs currently in the catalogue featuring his work, three of which are devoted to his music exclusively.

His most recent choral work is the anthem Domine Exaudi for choir and organ, premiered in March 2016 by the St. George’s Chamber Choir, at the Anglican Church of St. George, Johannesburg, South Africa, where he was appointed Director of Music and Composer in Residence in 2013, and where a new two-manual Rieger organ was installed in 2012.

In 2015 he was appointed a Patron of the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, for which he has been commissioned to write a new work for each of the last four years, including, in 2016, a striking new unaccompanied setting of the Mass (Missa Brevis – St. Pancras). His commission for the 2015 Festival, Rex Gloriae, was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

His most recent instrumental works include the Sonata for Violin and Organ, which was recorded by Rupert Marshall-Luck (Violin) and Duncan Honeybourne (Organ) in the Chapel of Jesus College, Cambridge, England, has just been released on CD to wide critical acclaim on the EM Records label. This disc was Classic FM’s disc of the week in September 2015.

The English Music Festival recently commissioned his Suite – King Richard III for solo violin, the premiere of which took place at the English Music Festival in Yorkshire, England. Following this bravura premiere by Rupert Marshall-Luck (Violin), Richard Pantcheff has been described as “…one of the UK’s foremost composers”.

His latest chamber music work,  Introduction and Allegro for solo Violin and solo Violoncello, was commissioned and premiered in November 2016 by two of South Africa’s top instrumentalists, Miro Chakaryan and Wessel Beukes.

For 2017, he completed a work for solo organ (Fantasia on ‘Haec Dies) commissioned by the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, which was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. He will also be Composer in Association at the Kimberley Festival of Voices, at St. Cyprian’s Cathedral, Kimberley, South Africa. His specially-commissioned new Responses – St. Cyprian will be premiered at this Festival in October 2017.

He has also just completed his latest commission, the Sonata for Piano, for the English pianist, Duncan Honeybourne.

Projects for 2018 include a new work for two solo violins, for the South African violinists Zanta Hofmeyr and Miro Chakaryan, and a new set of Evening Canticles and Responses for the English Choir, Berlin.

Five new CDs are currently in production, of which two feature his works exclusively.

Richard Pantcheff divides his time between Johannesburg and London. He can be contacted at richardpantcheff@hotmail.com.

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