Biography

RICHARD PANTCHEFF

Richard Pantcheff is internationally renowned 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 thirteen 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 (e.g. the Berliner Dom), the USA, South Africa, and all over Eastern Europe.

His work has appeared at many international music festivals, including the Tanglewood Festival (USA), National Arts Festival Grahamstown (South Africa), the Southern Cathedrals Festival (UK), London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, the English Music Festival, the St. Magnus Festival Orkney, and the Britten 100 celebrations in 2013.

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. 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 the late 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.

His entire ouvre is published, distributed, and performed around the world, and much of it has been released on CD, to wide critical acclaim. He is published by Composers Edition, MusicaNeo, EM Publishing, and Kevin Mayhew Ltd. There are twelve CDs currently in the catalogue featuring his work (on labels such as Orchid Classics, SOMM, Herald, and Quilisma), four of which are devoted to his music exclusively.

His Service of Holy Communion (1662) for choir and chamber organ, was premiered in November 2018 by the St. George’s Chamber Choir, at the Anglican Church of St. George, Johannesburg, South Africa, where he was Director of Music from 2013-2019, and remains as Composer in Residence since 2010, 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 six years. His commission for the 2017 Festival, an organ voluntary entitled Fantasia on ‘Haec Dies’, was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

In 2018 he was invited to contribute to The Orgelbuechlein Project, for which his Chorale Prelude ‘Werde munter, mein Gemuete’ was sponsored by St. George’s Anglican Church, Johannesburg, and premiered in Westminster Abbey, London, by Jem Stephenson.

On 6th November 2019, his Sonata for Piano was premiered by its dedicatee, Duncan Honeybourne. In the same year, his Introduction and Allegro No.3, for Piano Trio was commissioned and premiered by The Lee Trio in Leipzig as part of the Beethoven 250 anniversary celebrations.

2020 highlights include the premiere of the only specially-commissioned work for the inaugural English Music Festival in South Africa, The Gardens of Love, for solo violin and narrator, at Brenthurst Gardens, Johannesburg, by Rupert Marshall-Luck (Violin) and Em Marshall-Luck (Narrator).

He has recently completed a work for solo cello entitled “…the field long-slept in pastoral green…” specially for performance during the pandemic lock-down. It was commissioned by Mickey Katz, cellist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the USA, and was posted on Facebook on 31st May 2020. It received its public premiere at the Tanglewood Festival, USA, on 7th August 2020.

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

He performs periodically as Guest Conductor for the Church of St. Michael at the Northgate, Oxford, and as Guest Organist for Ripon College, Oxford.

Richard Pantcheff lives in Oxford, England. He can be contacted at richardpantcheff@hotmail.com.

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