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Todd was born in County Durham, attended Durham School and joined the choir of St Oswald's Church, Durham under its choirmaster David Higgins. He went on to study music at the University of Bristol. He is an accomplished jazz pianist and regularly performs with his trio, and this played a large role in one of his most famous works, his Mass in Blue.
Mass in Blue (originally entitled Jazz Mass) was commissioned by Hertfordshire Chorus and first performed at the Cambridge Corn Exchange in July 2003 with Will Todd at the piano. Todd's wife, Bethany Halliday, performed the soprano solo alongside the Blue Planet Orchestra and Hertfordshire Chorus, conducted by David Temple.
His The Blackened Man won second prize in the International Verdi Opera Competition in 2002 and was later staged at the 2004 Buxton Festival. The Screams of Kitty Genovese, a music theatre work, has been produced at the Boston Conservatory and New York Musical Theatre Festival. His oratorio Saint Cuthbert, with a libretto by Ben Dunwell based on the life of the saint, has been performed and recorded by the Hallé Orchestra and Choir under Christopher Austin.
Among Angels was commissioned by the Genesis Foundation and was premiered by The Sixteen in Salzburg. Written for WNO Max, Sweetness and Badness was performed in a tour during autumn 2006, and Whirlwind, commissioned by Streetwise Opera, was first performed at The Sage Gateshead.
- Winter Dances – orchestra (1989)
- Midwinter – Cantata for soprano and baritone, chorus and orchestra (1992)
- Saint Cuthbert – Oratorio for soprano, tenor and baritone, chorus, organ and orchestra (1995)
- The Burning Road – Cantata for soprano and baritone, chorus and orchestra (1996)
- The Screams of Kitty Genovese – 12 actor-singers and pit ensemble (1999)
- A Song of Creation – Cantata for choir, chamber choir, children's choir, soprano, tenor and bass soloists, organ and orchestra (2000)
- The Blackened Man – Opera with 7 roles, chorus and full orchestra or chamber ensemble (2001)
- Mass in Blue – soprano, chorus and jazz ensemble or trio (2003)
- Gala and Gloria – soprano, mezzo and baritone soloists, chorus, orchestra and brass band (2004)
- Among Angels – 16 part SATB with 2 harps (2006)
- Sweetness and Badness – Opera with 5 actor singers and small ensemble (2006)
- Whirlwind – Opera with 4 actor singers, mixed chorus, small ensemble and live sound score (2006)
- Before Action – SATB, ?full orchestra. Commissioned by the BBC Singers. A setting of "Before Action" by W.N. Hodgson (2006)
- Let us be True – SATB, solo violin, piano, organ, percussion & strings. A setting of "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold (2006)
- You have seen the House Built – SATB choir and organ, commissioned by Chichester Cathedral for their 900th anniversary (2008)
- Requiem – soprano, electric guitar and chorus, commissioned by the Fairhaven Singers (2009)
- Te Deum – solo soprano, young people's choir (up to 3 parts), SATB chorus and instrumental ensemble. Latin text with additional words by Ben Dunwell (2009)
- Clarinet Concerto – Jazz clarinet and orchestra, premiered by Emma Johnson (2009)
- The Call of Wisdom – SATB choir and organ, commissioned as part of the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II to be sung by the Diamond Choir (2012)
- Songs of Love – SATB choir and Jazz trio, commissioned by Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale for their Silver Anniversary concert (2012)
- Will Todd's homepage
- press release: Oxford University Press: Diamond Jubilee anthem by Will Todd published with links to purchase the score of The Call of Wisdom piece.