Born in Lincoln, Egarr received his early musical training as a choirboy at York Minster and at Chetham's School of Music. He was an organ scholar at Clare College, Cambridge and studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Study with Gustav Leonhardt further inspired his work in the field of historically informed performance.
Egarr is widely known as a specialist in the baroque repertoire, but has performed repertoire over a wide historical era, from fifteenth-century organ intabulations to Dussek and Chopin on early pianos, to Berg and Maxwell Davies on modern piano. He has recorded commercially several albums of solo keyboard music for such labels as Harmonia Mundi, as well as chamber repertoire for such labels as Hyperion.
In 2006, Egarr became music director of the Academy of Ancient Music (AAM). With the AAM, Egarr has made commercial recordings for such labels as Harmonia Mundi, and the AAM's own label. He is scheduled to conclude his tenure as AAM music director at the close of the 2020-2021 season.
In 2012, Egarr first guest-conducted the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (PBO). Following two additional guest appearances with the PBO, the PBO announced, in January 2019, the appointment of Egarr as its next music director, with an initial contract of 5 years. The original intention was for Egarr to serve as PBO music director-designate for the 2020-2021 season, and then to take the title of music director with the 2021-2022 season. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PBO reconfigured its 2020-2021 season into a virtual season, and announced the advent of Egarr as its music director effective 1 July 2020, one season earlier than originally planned.
Egarr and his family reside in Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, Egarr has served as director of the Academy of the Begijnhof. Since 2019, he is Principal Guest Conductor of the Residentie Orchestra in The Hague.
- Richard Egarr and Imogen Tilden (26 June 2013). "Vermeer and Music: recreating the music of his time". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
- Andrew Clements (28 July 2011). "Couperin: Complete Harpsichord Works/Richard Egarr – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
- Kate Molleson (2 June 2016). "Bach: The French Suites CD review – harpsichordist of expressive heft". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
- Erica Jeal (17 September 2015). "Bach/Handel/Scarlatti: Gamba Sonatas CD review – an eloquent and energetic match". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
- Andrew Clements (5 March 2009). "Bach: Brandenburg Concertos: Academy of Ancient Music/Egarr". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
- Stephen Pritchard (27 October 2014). "Bach: Orchestral Suites review – Egarr's chamber approach reaps rewards". The Observer. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
- "AAM launches search for new Music Director" (Press release). Academy of Ancient Music. 26 July 2018. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
- Erica Jeal (2 July 2007). "St Matthew Passion (Glyndebourne)". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
- Michael Cooper (17 January 2019). "Passing the Baton (and Harpsichord) at Philharmonia Baroque". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
- "2020/VIRTUAL series led by Music Director Richard Egarr, scholars, guest artists" (Press release). Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. 7 July 2020. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
- Janos Gereben (17 January 2019). "Richard Egarr Named Next Leader of Philharmonia Baroque". San Francisco Classical Review. Retrieved 26 November 2020.