Richard Walmsley BA(Hons) MA(Dunelm)
Richard’s musical education began in Leeds where he learned the piano and sang enthusiastically in the church choir. After a brief period as a chorister at St James’ Parish Church, Grimsby, he was awarded a choral scholarship to Wells Cathedral School, where he latterly served as Head Chorister (Decani) of Wells Cathedral Choir.
As a Specialist Musician at Wells, Richard studied piano with Fali Pavri, organ with Andrew Nethsingha and Rupert Gough, and French horn with Simon de Souza and Julian Baker. He was fortunate enough also to receive horn masterclasses with the late Ifor James, Derek Taylor, John Wilbraham and Michael Laird and organ masterclasses with international recitalists Gordon Strange and Margaret Phillips. In conjunction with his musical and academic work at Wells Richard was appointed principal horn with the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain (1992-94), and in 1995 was both a regional finalist in the BBC ‘Young Musician of the Year’ competition and an award winner at the Oundle International Organ School.
In 1996 Richard was appointed Organ Scholar of University College, University of Durham, where he studied organ with James Lancelot. Whilst at Durham, Richard became heavily involved in the musical life of both the college and the University. He served initially as Principal Horn and subsequently became Musical Director of both the University Symphony and Chamber Orchestras and directed the University production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. He was also a founder member of the Durham Cathedral Consort of Singers and sang with Palatinate Voices. He continued his Horn studies with Hugh Seenan at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and also studied conducting with George Hurst, Denise Ham, Rodolfo Saglimbeni and Robert Houlihan. Upon graduation he read for an MA in Musicology at Durham; his thesis was titled ‘Stylistic issues in Gustav Mahler’s Tenth Symphony’.
In 2000, Richard took up the position of Assistant Director of Music at Strathallan School, Perth, and was promoted to Director of Music in 2008. In 2005 Richard was appointed to the position of Organist and Master of the Choristers at St Ninian’s Cathedral, Perth, and has been instrumental in establishing the Choral Scholarship Scheme between the Cathedral and Strathallan School.
As a freelance musician Richard enjoys a varied career. As well as being Assistant Director and Organist of RSCM Scottish Voices, he has given organ recitals in St Stephen’s, Bournemouth, St James’, Louth, Grimsby Minster, Oriel College, Oxford, St Ninian’s Cathedral, Perth, Wells Cathedral, and most recently as part of the Summer recital series in Dundee’s Caird Hall. He has also featured as organ soloist with the Orchestra of the Canongait at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He has been actively involved with various orchestras including the Perth Symphony Orchestra, Meadows Chamber Orchestra, Edinburgh Grand Opera Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Canongait. As a singer, organist and conductor he has made several commercial recordings, most recently ‘Drop down ye heavens: Music for Advent’ with the Choral Scholars on the Priory Records label, as well as BBC radio and TV broadcasts, most recently with the Cathedral Choir for BBC Radio 4.
When time allows Richard and his wife enjoy militaria, museums, galleries, live performance, theatre and countryside walks, nearly always accompanied by real ale and good food!