Richard Laing enjoys the rare distinction of having been invited back to conduct again every orchestra, choir and opera company with whom he has ever performed, without exception. He was awarded the sinfonia ViVA Conducting Scholarship in 2001, and is now Music Director of The Midland Sinfonia, Bach Camerata, Nottingham Harmonic Choir, Lancashire Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Leicester Bach Choir, Artistic Director of the Leamington Chamber Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the virtuoso young ensemble Sinfonia Cymru, Associate Conductor of Chandos Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra, Patron of Operamus, and a guest conductor with Ballet Cymru, sinfonia ViVA, Queen’s Park Sinfonia, Hallam Sinfonia, Oxford Sinfonia, Birmingham Schools Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia of Birmingham. He is a guest conductor and coach in the Department of Vocal and Operatic Studies and on the Orchestral Programme at Birmingham Conservatoire, and Visiting Lecturer in Conducting at the University of Wolverhampton.
Richard’s operatic work has included performances with Operamus, Dartington Festival Opera, Birmingham Conservatoire Opera, Kent Opera and Pigotts. He has accompanied many distinguished artists including principal players many of Europe and America’s greatest orchestras, and has recently been conducting Alfie Boe’s national tour. He has premiered dozens of new works including music by Paul Patterson and Bernd Redmann, and is in demand as an adjudicator and coach at festivals and summer schools and as a leader of orchestral and choral workshops around the UK. Richard has given several performances with Radio 1 DJ Bobby Friction, who has hailed him as “the Iggy Pop of classical music.” As a Chorus Master, Richard has prepared choirs for the Hallé, the Rinaldo Consort and the National Children’s Orchestra, for conductors such as Sir Mark Elder and Cristian Mandeal.
In his limited spare time Richard pursues a wide range of academic interests. His undergraduate work in Manchester on John F. Kennedy’s policy in Vietnam won him the Kaiser Award for American History. He he has presented papers on subjects as diverse as apocalyptic cinema, M.C. Escher and reality TV at the International Conferences on Film and Literature at Florida State University, and on Wagner’s Ring cycle at the International Wagner Symposium at the University of Adelaide. Among his proudest achievements are being appointed Vice President of the University of Illinois Triathlon Club and having articles published in the iconic games magazine White Dwarf.
Richard is married to the singer and psychologist Karen Wise, a post-doctoral Research Associate in the Faculty of Music and at St John’s College, Cambridge. They live in Huntingdon with their three year-old daughter Elsa.