B i o g r a p h y
Richard Gowers, born 1994 in Cambridge, is a British pianist, organist and conductor. His extensive schedule features performances not only around the UK, but across Europe and further afield in the USA, Far East and Australia. He has frequently appeared live on BBC Radio 3, as well as Radio 4, Classic FM, LBC and BBC Television.
In the 2021-22 season he has made numerous appearances across the UK and Europe. As soloist he has given recitals in Västerås Cathedral (Sweden), Westminster Abbey, Southwark Cathedral, Bloomsbury Baptist Church, and Queen’s and New College in Oxford, performed Poulenc’s Organ Concerto with the Orion Orchestra and Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra, and made a solo appearance with the Ulster Orchestra on BBC Radio 3. In the world of Lieder he has partnered Helen Charlston, Ashley Riches and Kieran Carrel, and performed in the Kathleen Ferrier Awards at Wigmore Hall and the final of the Helmut Deutsch Liedwettbewerb in Vienna. Across the season he has played for numerous choirs, including the BBC Singers, Armonico Consort, City of London Choir, King’s College London, Imperial College Chamber Choir, St John’s College Cambridge and abroad in Venice and Stuttgart. He also played orchestral keyboard parts for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Ulster Orchestra, and was an assistant conductor for the English Chamber Orchestra and Tenebrae. Meanwhile he has worked as a rehearsal pianist for numerous conductors, including Sir Simon Rattle, Gianandrea Noseda, Edward Gardner, Sofi Jeannin, Ryan Bancroft, Simon Halsey and David Hill.
As a pianist he specialises in song repertoire and chamber music. In 2017-19 he held a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied with Michael Dussek and Joseph Middleton and won prizes for song accompaniment and chamber music. In 2018 he participated in the International Music Students Festival in Kyoto, Japan, and in April 2019 he took part in Wigmore Hall’s first Liederabend of the works of Carl Loewe with members of the Royal Academy Song Circle. In duo partnership with tenor Kieran Carrel, he was awarded the Schubert Institute UK Prize at the 2019 Leeds Lieder Festival, and was a finalist in the 2019 Wigmore Hall International Song Competition and the 2021 Helmut Deutsch Song Competition in Vienna.
As an concert organist he has given recitals extensively across Europe at festivals in France, Iceland, Germany and Sweden, and in multiple British cathedrals and town halls. He has made three tours of the USA, as well as a series of recitals in Australia, and has performed with choirs such as the BBC Singers, CBSO Chorus, Helsinki Philharmonic Choir, Choeur de l’Opéra National de Montpellier and Tenebrae. As a pianist, organist and continuo player he has performed with orchestras including the Academy of Ancient Music, Aurora Orchestra, BBCNOW, Britten Sinfonia, CBSO, LSO, LPO, OAE, Philharmonia, RPO and Ulster Orchestra.
Richard grew up in Cambridge in a family of academics, and was a chorister in the Choir of King’s College, where he sang the famous ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ solo at the 2007 Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. He spent a year studying organ and piano at the Mendelssohn Conservatoire in Leipzig before returning to King’s as organ scholar in 2014-2017 and graduating with a starred first in Music. With King’s College Choir he performed at major venues and festivals around the world, including Aldeburgh Festival, BBC Proms 2016, Concertgebouw, MDR Musiksommer, Rheingau, Vancouver and tours of the USA and China. In 2018 he released a critically-acclaimed debut CD of Messiaen’s La Nativité du Seigneur, which was a Gramophone ‘Editor’s Choice’.
Richard is based in London, where he combines performing with teaching positions at Cambridge University, Tiffin and Westminster Schools and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. He is the Director of Music at St Saviour’s Church, Pimlico, where he conducts several choirs, curates a concert series and runs the music outreach programme Sing After School. During the Covid-19 pandemic he has made numerous recordings for the 6000-strong Self-Isolation Choir. In May 2020 he started an online harmony course aimed at levelling up disadvantaged music students from diverse backgrounds, which has since been adopted annually by Cambridge University. He is a passionate advocate of musicians’ rights in the current political climate, and has a weakness for dry humour and artisan crisps.