"Conductor Richard Brain mustered the joint forces of the choral society, a quartet of splendid soloists and the Bishop’s Stortford sinfonia with great panache and skill."
As the conductor of a diverse range of choral ensembles, Richard Brain is equally comfortable directing singers and instrumentalists on a large or small scale. Richard is Director of Chapel Music at The Peterborough School, Director of Music at Christ Church Southgate, and Musical Director of Barnet Choral Society and Bishop's Stortford Choral Society. He has also guest conducted the well respected St Albans based chamber choir Carillon, and is the previous Musical Director of the de Merc Chamber Choir and the Sine Nomine Singers. With his choirs, Richard has conducted orchestras including the London Mozart Players, Forest Philharmonic, Amadeus Orchestra, Bishop's Stortford Sinfonia, and Hertfordshire Philharmonia as well as the baroque period ensemble Musica Donum Dei.
Major works conducted (many with Barnet and Bishop's Stortford Choral Societies) include Bach Christmas Oratorio, Mass in B minor, and St John Passion, Beethoven Mass in C, Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem, Duruflé Requiem, Elgar The Music Makers, Handel Dixit Dominus, Judas Maccabaeus and Messiah, Haydn Creation and The Seasons, Mendelssohn Elijah, Mozart Mass in C minor and Requiem, Puccini Messe di Gloria, Poulenc Gloria, Rachmaninov All Night Vigil (The Vespers), Rutter Requiem, Smyth Mass in D, Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony and Dona Nobis Pacem, and Walton Belshazzar's Feast. Orchestral repertoire conducted includes Brahms Academic Festival Overture, Beethoven Fantasy in C minor, Haydn Symphony No. 82 The Bear, Holst Two Songs without Words and Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending.
Next year Richard is due to conduct a performance of Elgar The Dream of Gerontius at Saffron Hall with the combined forces of Barnet and Bishop's Stortford Choral Societies with the Forest Philharmonic. Other future programmed repertoire features Bach St Matthew Passion, Beethoven Symphony No.9, Bernstein Chichester Psalms, Haydn Nelson Mass, Todd Mass in Blue, and Verdi Requiem. Premiered works conducted include Jonathan Rathbone's new major concert commission, A Day at the Fair, with Barnet Choral Society in 2015.
Richard is passionate about the versatility of a cappella singing and has conducted a number of extended unaccompanied works including Howells Take Him Earth for Cherishing, Martin Mass for Double Choir, Tippett Five Spirituals, and Vaughan Williams Mass in G Minor. Additionally in demand as a workshop leader, Richard has led events including, And there was Light - Singing and Exploring Haydn's Creation, In Paradisum - sing Duruflé’s Requiem, Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Choruses, Lift Up Your Heads: Exploring Handel's Messiah, and A Song For All Seas: Discovering A Sea Symphony. He has also run workshops on singing technique and intonation using repertoire from the Renaissance era.
As Director of Chapel Music at The Peterborough School, Richard is responsible for directing the school's three chapel choirs (SATB senior, junior girls and treble boys choirs) and providing music for the school's weekly chapel services, in addition to other special services. He has also twice deputised as Acting Head of Music for the school. Previously Richard was the Vocal Coach for the Twyford Church of England Academies School Trust in the West London borough of Ealing, working for the Trust's schools in Acton, Ealing and Greenford. In this role, Richard was responsible for leading a versatile programme of singing for the student body of both sacred and secular songs.
Since February 2013, Richard has been Director of Music at Christ Church Southgate, home to north London's finest voluntary liturgical choir. Singing a large range of cathedral-standard repertoire from across the centuries, the choir is one of the few remaining in north London to sing two services every Sunday, including full BCP Choral Evensong. Richard has responsibility for the choral direction and vocal tuition of the 16 boy and girl choristers aged between 8 and 16, and the 25 strong adult mixed choir. In February 2019, Richard led the choir on a tour of Venice to sing in a number of prestigious churches including the Basilica di San Marco and the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. Back in the UK, Richard has led the choir to sing at some of the country's most beautiful and ancient places of worship such as Ely, Peterborough, St David's, Winchester and St Paul's Cathedrals, as well as St George's Chapel Windsor and Westminster Abbey. Richard also directed the choir for two CD recordings - Christmas at Christ Church Southgate (2019) and The Heavenly Architect (2017).
Under Richard's direction the choir have expanded their repertoire to include liturgical works by the great English Renaissance masters as well as perform an exciting series of Baroque and Classical oratorios accompanied by the church's resident orchestra, the Bach Sinfonia, including Bach Christmas Oratorio, Handel Messiah and Ode for St Cecilia's Day, Haydn Creation, and Vivaldi Gloria. Richard has also conducted the choir for a performance of Handel Chandos Anthem O Praise the Lord with one Consent with Adrian Butterfield and players from the London Handel Orchestra.
Richard studied Choral Conducting under Patrick Russill and Cathal Garvey on the MA course at the Royal Academy of Music, where he was awarded the Irene Burcher Prize upon graduation in 2013. He subsequently gained his LRAM in 2016. As an undergraduate, Richard was a Tenor Choral Scholar in the Choirs of Gloucester and Exeter Cathedral, before becoming a Layclerk in St Albans Cathedral Choir while studying at RAM.