Youth Choir Music Director

Richard Cooke conducting at Canterbury Cathedral

Richard Cooke at Canterbury Cathedral

Richard Cooke is Music Director of Canterbury Choral Society Youth Choir.

A significant recent addition to Richard Cooke’s work in Canterbury has been the creation of the Youth Choir. The Youth Choir have distinguished themselves over the past five years in performances of Britten St. Nicolas, Bach St. Matthew Passion, Elgar The Dream of Gerontius and The Kingdom, Rachmaninov The Bells, Prokofiev Alexander Nevsky and Mozart Requiem and Coronation Mass.

The Youth Choir constitutes an important development in the Society’s aim to reach out and include young singers in pursuit of high-quality music making.

He has also been Music Director of the Royal Choral Society for 16 years, and The University of Essex Choir for 31 years. He was a boy chorister of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and later sang as a Choral Scholar in the choir of King’s College, Cambridge. He was Conductor of the London Philharmonic Choir for ten years from 1982, working with the world’s leading conductors including Haitink, Muti, Mehta, Solti and Klaus Tennstedt.

He has appeared many times in the concert halls of London and conducted with many of the country’s leading orchestras in the cathedrals of Peterborough, Winchester, Salisbury, Norwich, St. Edmundsbury and Rochester, and in the concert halls of Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Snape Maltings (conducting the first ever performance there of Britten’s War Requiem), Belfast and Dublin.

Born in Cornwall, he returns there each summer for his favourite outdoor activity, body-surfing off the North Cornish coast. He also enjoys cycling and hill walking (climbing Munros and their equivalents) in Scotland and Wales.

Richard Cooke had an Honorary Doctor of Music at the University of Kent conferred on him in Canterbury Cathedral in November 2010. He was similarly honoured in 1996 by the University of Essex in recognition of his work for the musical life of the University.