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Richard Laing: a profile

Updated: Feb 5, 2022

Richard Laing is an artist of remarkable versatility. In an age of increasing

specialisation he is a true polymath, bringing a wide variety of influences to his music-


As an orchestral conductor he is Principal Guest Conductor of Birmingham

Philharmonic Orchestra, Associate Conductor of Chandos Symphony Orchestra, and Music Director of Leamington Chamber Orchestra.

He began his career as Sinfonia ViVA Conducting Scholar at Birmingham Conservatoire, where after nine months of study he was awarded his Masters Degree, a postgraduate Diploma, and the postgraduate Prize for the most outstanding contribution to the musical life of the

college. Shortly thereafter he was appointed to the post of Associate Conductor with

the virtuoso young ensemble Sinfonia Cymru.

As one of the nation’s foremost choral directors, Richard frequently undertakes choral

preparation, off-stage conducting and pre-concert talks for Britain’s top orchestras.

For the Hallé he has prepared Belshazzar’s Feast, Alexander Nevsky, The Music

Makers, The Planets and Poulenc’s Gloria. For the BBC Symphony Orchestra he has

prepared Carmina Burana.

As a violinist Richard is a core player with the Orchestra of the Swan, a guest Principal with the English Symphony Orchestra, and a guest leader for several of the finest amateur orchestras in London and the Midlands. As a pianist he has worked as a répétiteur and coach at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, where he is now a competition adjudicator and external examiner in orchestral conducting.

In his limited spare time Richard writes on a wide range of subjects. While still an

undergraduate, his work on John F. Kennedy’s policy in Vietnam won the Kaiser

Award for American History. 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.

Richard is an expert on the work of Wagner, and as a student was the youngest of the sixteen authorities from around the world invited to present his research at the International Wagner Symposium at the University of Adelaide. His work is regularly published in The Wagner Journal and Wagner News. Richard has recently been awarded the Open University’s Certificate in Astronomy and Planetary Science, achieving a distinction in every examination,

though his proudest achievement is having articles published in the iconic games

magazine White Dwarf while he was still at school.



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