Richard Emms, B.Mus., A.R.C.M., L.R.A.M.
About our Musical Director
Richard has always made music, inspite of not being offered Music at school, and only having 5 years' piano lessons as a child. He borrowed music from the local library, and must have driven his parents mad with 2 or 3 hours' practice every night in a small semi. The piano stood in the hall – you couldn't keep him down.
He quickly learned a wide concert repertoire with particular enthusiasms for Schumann, Chopin and Debussy. But by the age of 18, his musical imagination had become fired by playing the majority of Beethoven’s piano compositions. As an education student at Dudley, his gift for composition emerged in parallel with that of conducting, and he was invited to rehearse the college choir.
Richard went on to complete his formal musical training at Birmingham University and the Conservatoire. While specialising in composition and performance, he continued to conduct ad hoc choirs and orchestras. Over the years his range of conducting has included everything from prize-winning primary school choirs to forming 'scratch' choirs and orchestras, with all the joyous hurly-burly that this entails!
Richard and his family settled in Shipston in 1975, where he founded a small choir, which quickly grew to a full and flourishing choral society, the Stour Singers. He retired from school teaching in 1995, and in 1997 founded Cantamus, which allows him to indulge and share his particular love for a cappella music. He has played a large part in the founding and early years of Shipston Proms.
Much of his musical life now revolves around the choirs, and the members of Stour Singers find themselves both stretched and fulfilled in responding to his direction, as his gift for teaching and inspirational style enable them to explore the music and its context, through both the standard repertoire and moving, satisfying works which are seldom performed.
Richard has continued to compose, his works including piano sonatas, sonatinas for a variety of instruments, a clarinet quartet, two quintets and inventive arrangements for choir.