Richard Egarr brings a joyful sense of adventure and a keen, enquiring mind to all his music-making — whether conducting, directing from the keyboard, giving recitals, playing chamber music, and indeed talking about music at every opportunity.
Music Director of the Academy of Ancient Music since 2006, in September 2019 he adds two new responsibilities as Principal Guest Conductor of the Residentie Orkest in The Hague and Artistic Partner of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in Minnesota. He becomes Music Director Designate of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale in 2020/21 and assumes the Music Directorship in 2021/22.
Associate Artist of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra 2011-2017, Egarr conducted many symphony orchestras such as London Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw and Philadelphia Orchestra, and guested with leading baroque ensembles such as Philharmonia Baroque and the Handel & Haydn Society. He regularly gives solo harpsichord recitals at the Wigmore Hall and Carnegie Hall.
In 2019/20 Egarr conducts Elgar, Mendelssohn and Beethoven in The Hague; Schumann’s 2nd Symphony in Tokyo’s Kioi Hall; Rossini and Mozart with the Luxembourg Philharmonic; Berlioz with the Orquesta da Galicia; and Schubert in St Paul. Not neglecting the baroque repertoire, he leads the City of Birmingham Symphony through their first Handel Messiah in many years, conducts the Matthew Passion in Antwerp, debuts in St Louis with a Handel/Bach programme, and joins the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale for an all-Bach programme in his first concerts since being announced future Music Director. Plans with the AAM this season include the first performance for over 100 years of the Mass by Beethoven’s Czech contemporary, Jan Ladislav Dussek.
Early in his tenure with AAM Egarr established the Choir of the AAM; operas and particularly Handel’s oratorios lie at the heart of his repertoire. He made his Glyndebourne debut in 2007 conducting a staged version of St Matthew Passion. With AAM at the Barbican he has conducted Monteverdi and Purcell cycles, La Finta Giardiniera and (in 2019) Nozze di Figaro – the latter also at the Grange Festival. He has also conducted productions of Figaro, La clemenza di Tito and Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino with the Netherlands Opera Academy; he has a long-standing teaching position at the Amsterdam Conservatoire and is Visiting Professor at the Juilliard School.
Egarr’s extensive discography on Harmonia Mundi includes solo keyboard works by JS Bach, Handel, Mozart and Louis Couperin. His long list of recordings with the Academy of Ancient Music includes seven Handel discs (2007 Gramophone Award, 2009 MIDEM and Edison awards), and JS Bach's St John and Matthew Passions on the AAM's own label. His latest recital disc of Byrd and Sweelinck appeared in May 2018 on Linn Records, who have also released his performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore live from the 2015 Edinburgh International Festival.
Egarr trained as a choirboy at York Minster, at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, and as organ scholar at Clare College Cambridge. His studies with Gustav and Marie Leonhardt further inspired his work in the field of historical performance