Roderick Williams

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Roderick Williams

Born1965 (age 57–58)
London, England
EducationChrist Church Cathedral School; Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School
Alma materMagdalen College, Oxford; Guildhall School of Music
Occupation(s)Baritone singer and composer

Roderick Gregory Coleman Williams OBE (born 1965) is a British baritone and composer.


Williams was born in North London to a Welsh father and a Jamaican mother.[1] He attended Christ Church Cathedral School in Oxford and Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School, a public school in Hertfordshire.[2] He was a choral scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, and then became a music teacher and led the Tiffin Boys Choir.[3] At the age of 28, he resumed music studies at the Guildhall School of Music in London. At Guildhall, he made his operatic debut as Tarquinius in Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia.

Williams first appeared at The Proms in 1996 as the Royal Herald in Verdi's Don Carlos. He was a soloist at the 2013 Proms production of Ralph Vaughan Williams' ‘A Sea Symphony’,[4] and again in 2014 Last Night of the Proms, which included performances of his own arrangements of two songs.[5] His commercial recordings include albums for Naxos and for Signum.[6][7][8] In 2006, Williams and the Sacconi Quartet made the premiere recording of Gerald Finzi's 1921-22 song cycle By Footpath and Stile.[9]

Williams is the president of Junior Saint James Singers and has been the president of Malvern Concert Club since July 2014 and of the Three Choirs Festival Society since December 2016.[10] He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to music.[11] In 2019 he was announced as Patron of Birmingham Bach Choir.[12] In 2020 he was appointed President of the London concert series Thames Concerts.[13] In 2022, he was appointed a Vice-President of The Bach Choir.

Williams and his wife, Miranda, have two daughters and a son.[1] His sister-in-law is the stage director Orpha Phelan.[14]

In 2022, Williams became a Patron of Opera Brava, "Britain's leading outdoor touring Opera Company." In 2023, he was announced as one of the composers who would each create a brand new piece for the Coronation of Charles III and Camilla.[15]

Operatic repertoire[edit]


Song with piano or chamber accompaniment

Complete Cantatas Rameau With Rachel Elliott, soprano, James Gilchrist, tenor, and Thomas Guthrie, bass. New Chamber Opera Ensemble Cond. Gary Cooper 1998 ASV Ltd CD GAX 234/1 and /2

The Songs of Percy Turnbull Turnbull With Nancy Argenta, soprano and Robin Bowman, piano. 2000 Somme SOMMCD 020

Blood-red Carnations Songs by Schoenberg With Sarah Connolly, mezzo-soprano, Iain Burnside, piano. 2002 Black Box

I said to Love - Let Us Garlands Bring - Before and After Summer Finzi With Iain Burnside, piano 2004 Naxos 8.557644

Songs of Travel - The House of Life - Four poems by Fredegond Shove Vaughan Williams With Iain Burnside, piano. 2004 Naxos 8.557643

Beastly Tales Panufnik With Patrizia Rozario, sopranon, Yvonne Howard, mezzo-soprano, City of London Sinfonia cond. Sian Edwards 2005 EMI Classics 0946 3 56692 2 0

Earth and Air and Rain - By Footpath and Stile - To a Poet Finzi With Iain Burnside, piano and the Sacconi Quartet. 2005/6 Naxos 8.557963

Severn & Somme Howells, Sanders, Wilson, Venables With Susie Allan, piano. 2006 Somm SOMMCD 057

The Sky Shall Be Our Roof Songs from the operas of Vaughan Williams With Sarah Fox, soprano, Juliette Pochin, mezzo-soprano, Andrew Staples, Iain Burnside, piano. 2007 Albion Records ALB001

Complete Solo Songs Moeran With Geraldine McGreevy, soprano, Adrian Thompson, Tenor, John Talbot, piano. 2008/9 Chandos CHAN 10596(2)

Songs before Sleep Richard Rodney Bennett With Sophie Daneman, soprano, Susan Bickley, Mezzo-soprano, Benjamin Hulett, tenor, Oliver Coates, cello and Iain Burnside, piano. 2009 NMC Recordings NMC D155

Songs Michael Head With Ailish Tynan, soprano, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, mezzo-soprano, Christopher Glynn, piano. 2009 Hyperion CDA67899

Songs from A Shropshire Lad - Folk Songs from Sussex Butterworth With Iain Burnside, piano. 2010 Naxos 8.572426

Songs and Proverbs of Williams Blake - Tit for Tat - Folk-songs Britten With Iain Burnside, piano. 2011 Naxos 8.572600

Songs - The Airmen Shaw With Sophie Bevan, soprano, Andrew Kennedy, tenor, Iain Burnside, piano. 2012 Delphian DCD 33105

Italienisches Liederbuch Wolf With Joan Rodgers, soprano, Roger Vignoles, piano. 2012 Champs Hill Records CHRCD054

The Isles of Greece (from the CD 'Wild Cyclamen') Hugh Wood With Iain Burnside, piano. 2014 NMC Recordings

Dylan - The Drowning of Capel Celyn Stimpson With Sioned Williams, harp. 2006/2015 Stone Records

Twelve Sets of English Lyrics - Volume 1 Parry With Susan Gritton, soprano, James Gilchrist, tenor, Andrew West, piano. 2015 Somm SOMMCD 257

The Songs of Donald Swann With Dame Felicity Lott, soprano, Kathryn Rudge, mezzo-soprano, John Mark Ainsley, tenor, Christopher Glynn, piano. 2015/2016 Hyperion CDA68172

Twelve Sets of English Lyrics - Volume 2 Parry With Sarah Fox, soprano, James Gilchrist, tenor, Andrew West, piano. 2017 Somm SOMMCD 270

Twelve Sets of English Lyrics - Volume 3 Parry With Sarah Fox, soprano, Andrew West, piano. 2017 Somm SOMMCD 272

Man and Bat Skempton Ensemble 360 2017 First Hand Records FHR90

Winter Journey Schubert's Winterreise in an English version by Jeremy Sams With Christopher Glynn, piano. 2017 Signum SIGCD531

Those Blue Remembered Hills Songs by Gurney, Howells With the Bridge Quartet, Michael Dussek, piano 2018 EM Records

Die Schöne Müllerin Schubert With Iain Burbside, piano. 2018 Chandos CHAN 20113

The Song of Love songs by Vaughan Williams With Kitty Whately, mezzo-soprano, Williams Vann, piano 2018 Albion ALBCD037

Time and Space songs by Holst and Vaughan Williams With Mary Bevan, soprano, Williams Vann, Jack Liebeck, violin. 2018 Albion ALBCD038

Schwanengesang/ An die ferne Geliebte Schubert/Beethoven With Iain Burnside, piano. 2019 Chandos CHAN 20126

Maud - A Shropshire Lad Somervell With Susie Allan, piano. 2019 Somm SOMMCD 0615

Schwanengesang Schubert An die ferne Geliebte Beethoven With Iain Burnside, piano. 2020 Chandos 20126

Birdsong Songs by Brahms, Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann, Beamish With Andrew West, piano. 2020 Somm SOMMCD 0633

Folk Songs Volume 1 Vaughan Williams With Mary Bevan, soprano, Nicky Spence, tenor, Jack Liebeck, violin, William Vann, piano. 2020 Albion Records ALBCD042

Folk Songs Volume 2 Vaughan Williams With Mary Bevan, soprano, Nicky Spence, tenor, Thomas Gould, violin, Williams Vann, piano. 2020 Albion Records ALBCD043

Folk Songs Volume 3 Vaughan Williams With Mary Bevan, soprano, Nicky Spence. tenor, Williams Vann, piano 2020 Albion Records ALBCD044

Folk Songs Volume 4 Vaughan Williams With Mary Bevan, soprano, Nicky Spence, tenor, William Vann, piano 2020 Albion Records ALBCD045

Winterreise Schubert With Iain Burnside, piano. 2021 Chandos CHAN 20163

Mirages: The Art of French Song With Roger Vignoles, piano. 2021 Champs Hill Records CHRCD159

Façade Walton With Tamsin Dalley, The Orchestra of The Swan cond. Bruce O'Neil 2021 Somm SOMMCD 277

On This Shining Night Warlock, Barber, Beamish, Delius With Sophie Bevan, soprano, James Gilchrist, tenor, the Coull Quartet 2021 Somm SOMMCD 0654

Songs of William Busch Busch and others With Diana Moore, mezzo-sorano, Robin Tritschler, tenor, John Reid, piano. 2021 Lyrita SRCD.409

Oratorio, cantata and other orchestral and choral works

Shield of Faith Bliss Finzi Singers dir. Paul Spicer 1991 Chandos CHAN 8980

In terra pax Frank Martin London Philharmonic, Brighton Festival Chorus cond Matthias Bamert 1995 Chandos CHAN 9465

The Hag/Two songs of Robert Bridges Frank Bridge BBC National Orchestra of Wales cond. Richard Hickox 2003 Chandos CHAN 10246

Mass of the Children Rutter The Cambridge Singers, Cantate Youth Choir, City of London Sinfonia cond. John Rutter 2003 Collegium Records COLCD 129

The Crucifixion Stainer Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra, Guildford Camerata cond. Barry Rose 2003 Lammas Records LAMM 154D

Christopher Columbus - A Musical Journey Walton BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales cond. Richard Hickox 2004 Chandos CHSA 5034

The Apostles Elgar Canterbury Choral Society, Philharmonia Orchestra cond. Richard Cooke 2005 Quartz QTZ 2017

Fantasia on Christmas Carols/The First Nowell/On Christmas Night Vaugan Williams City of London Sinfonia cond Richard Hickox 2005 Chandos CHAN 10385

Symphony No.1 - 'Oliver Cromwell' Rutland Boughton BBC Concert Orchestra cond. Handley 2006 Dutton CDLX 7185

Sir Patrick Spens Howells Katy Butler, soprano, James Gilchrist, tenor, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra cond. David Hill 2006 Naxos 8.570352

Five Poems of the Spirit Bairstow With The Choir of St John's College, Cambridge, Britten Sinfonia cond. David Hill 2007 Hyperion CDA67497

Omar Khayyam Bantock With Catherine Wyn-Rogers, mezzo-soprano, Toby Spence, tenor, BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC Symphony Orchestra cond. Vernon Handley 2005/2007 Chandos CHSA 5051(3)

Vespers Mozart Requiem Fauré The Sixteen & Academy of St Martin in the Fields cond. Harry Christophers 2007 Coro CORI6057

In terra pax/ A spotless rose Finzi/Howells With City of London Choir, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra con. Hilary Davan Wetton 2009 Vaxos 8.572102

Pageant of Empire/Sea Pictures Elgar, Lights Out Gurney Shore Leave Hurd BBC Concert Orchewstra cond. Martin Yates 2009 Epoch CDLX 7243

Sea Drift/Cynara Delius Hallé Orchestra, Choir and Youth Choir cond. Sir Mark Elder 2011/12 CD HLL 7535

Ring Dance of the Nazarene/The Moth Requiem Birtwistle BBC Singers, The Nash Ensemble cond. Nicholas Kok 2013 Signum Classoc SIGCD368

Falling Nan/Movie House/Songs of Innocence Kenneth Fuchs London Symphony Orchestra cond JoAnn Falletta 2013 Naxos 8.559753

Aftertones/No Man's Land Colin Matthews Hallé Choir and Orchestra cond. Nicholas Collon 2014 CD HLL 7538

Requiem da Camera Finzi London Mozart Players cond. Hilary Davan Wetton 2014 Naxos 8.573426

Israel in Egypt Handel Nederlands Kamerkoor Le Concert Lorrain cond. Roy Goodman 2014 ET'CETERA

Three Nocturnes Vaughan Williams BBC Symphony Orchestra cond. Martyn Brabbins 2015 Albion Records

Israel in Agypten Handel/Mendelssohn With Choir of the King's Consort, The King's Consort, cond. Robert King 2015 VIVAT 111

Fantasia on Christmas Carols Vaughan Williams With the Choir of Magdalen College Oxford, cond. Daniel Hyde 2016 Opus Arte OA CD9022

Songs Elgar BBC Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Sir Andrew Davis 2017 Chandos CHSA 5188

Choral Symphony Dyson Bach Choir, Bournmouth Symphony Orchestra dir. David Hill 2017 Naxos 8.573770

Four Last Songs Vaughan Williams Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra cond Sir Andrew Davis 2017 Chandos CHSA 5186

Dream Song Daniel Kidane Chineke! Orchestra and Chorus cond. Anthony Parnther 2018 NMC Recordings NMC D250

L'Enfance du Christ Berlioz Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Chorus cond. Sir Andrew Davis 2018 Chandos CHSA 5228(2)

Songs of Travel Vaughan Williams Royal Scottish National Orchestra cond. Martin Yates 2018 Dutton Epoch CDLX 7359

Messiah Handel Rias Kammerchor Berlin Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin cond. Justin Doyle 2020 PENTATONE


Ned Keene: Peter Grimes Britten City of London Sinfonia cond. Richard Hickox 1995 Chandos CHAN 94477/8

Obstinate, Watchful, First Shepherd: The Pilgrim's Progress Vaughan Williams Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal House cond. Richard Hickox 1997 Chandos CH 9625(2)

Prince Andrey Bolkonsky: War and Peace Prokofiev Spoleto Festival Orchestra cond. Richard Hickox 1999 Chandos 9855

Gallanthus: The Poisoned Kiss Vaughan Williams BBC National Orchestra of Wales cond. Richard Hickox 2003 Chandos CHAN 10120(2)

Rôle uncredited: A Hand of Bridge Barber Royal Scottish National Orchestra cond. Marin Alsop 2003 Naxos 8.559135

Head Reaper: Ruth Lennox Berkeley City of London Sinfonia cond. Richard Hickox 2003 Chandos CHAN 10301

The Earl of Dunmow: A Dinner Engagement Lennox Berkeley City of London Sinfonia cond. Richard Hickox 2003 Chandos CHAN 10219

Mercury: The Judgment of Paris Eccles Early Opera Company cond. Christian Curnyn 2008 Chandos CHAN 0759

Wandering Jew: The Wandering Jew Saxton BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Singers cond André de Ridder 2008/09 NMC Recordings NMC D170

Harlequin Ariadne on Naxos Richard Strauss Scottish Chamber Orchestra cond Sir Richard Armstrong 2010 Chandos CHAN 3168(2)

Captain Balstrode: Peter Grimes Britten Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Choirs cond. Edward Gardner 2019 Chandos CHSA 5250(2)


Williams was commissioned by the Financial Times in 2014 to compose a Christmas carol, 'Christmas Bells', a setting of a poem by Longfellow. It was premiered by the Godwine Choir at St George the Martyr church in Southwark, London.[17] His choral orchestral setting of Keats' To Autumn was commissioned by the Waynflete Singers in 2019 and was premiered in Winchester Cathedral on 16 October 2021.[18]


  1. ^ a b Hannah Nepil (22 November 2013). "Interview with baritone Roderick Williams before Albert Herring at the Barbican". Financial Times. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  2. ^ Team, i (30 May 2016). "'I count the ethnic minorities in the audience… It doesn't take long.' Roderick Williams on opera's diversity problem".
  3. ^ "Facing the music: Roderick Williams". The Guardian. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Vaughan Williams: A Sea Symphony (BBC Proms 2013 - Sakari Oramo: Conducts)". YouTube. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  5. ^ Imogen Tilden (10 September 2014). "Roderick Williams on the Last Night of the Proms: 'Maybe I should dress as Britannia and wave a Jamaican flag'". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  6. ^ Andrew Clements (6 May 2005). "Finzi: I Said to Love; Let Us Garlands Bring; Before and After Summer: Williams/ Burnside". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  7. ^ Andrew Clements (4 November 2005). "Vaughan Williams: Songs of Travel; The House of Life; Four Poems by Fredegond Shove, Williams/ Burnside". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  8. ^ Andrew Clements (16 July 2015). "Venables: Song of the Severn, Pine Boughs CD review – convincing and yearning". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  9. ^ Clements, Andrew (14 July 2006). "Finzi: Earth and Air and Rain; by Footpath and Stile; To a Poet, Williams/ Burnside/ Sacconi Quartet". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
  10. ^ "Roderick Williams to be President of Three Choirs Festival Society" (Press release). Three Choirs Festival Society. December 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  11. ^ "No. 61962". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 June 2017. p. B14.
  12. ^ Unknown (3 April 2019). "'Roderick Williams OBE announced as new Patron of Birmingham Bach Choir.' Choir continue centenary celebrations with special recital and new appointment". What's On (Birmingham). Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Thames Concerts - About us". Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  14. ^ Claudia Pritchard (30 May 2016). "'I count the ethnic minorities in the audience...It doesn't take long.' Roderick Williams on opera's diversity problem". iNews. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber piece among new coronation music". BBC News. 18 February 2023. Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  16. ^ Roderick Williams (14 October 2016). "How to be good? Getting to grips with Billy Budd". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  17. ^ "The FT's Christmas carol by Roderick Williams". 5 December 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  18. ^ Waynflete Singers

External links[edit]