Youth Choir Music Director

Richard Cooke conducting at Canterbury Cathedral

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

Creating the Youth Choir is a significant addition to Richard Cooke’s work in Canterbury. The Youth Choir have distinguished themselves over the past five years. Performances have included 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 is an important development in the Society’s aim to reach and include young singers seeking high-quality music making.

Richard Cooke has been Music Director of the Royal Choral Society for 16 years. He has also been Music Director of the University of Essex Choir for 31 years. He was a boy chorister of St. Paul’s Cathedral. He 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 London concert halls. He has conducted 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, Belfast, Dublin and Snape Maltings. Richard conducted the first ever performance of Britten’s War Requiem at Snape Maltings.

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

Richard Cooke is an Honorary Doctor of Music at University of Kent. This was 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.