"What an extraordinary contribution to our nation's musical life he has made."
"David Hill’s impressive new recording with his Bach Choir (in the original German) boasts confident, ardent choral singing and orchestral playing, and a strong solo team…"
BBC Music Magazine
"The BBC Singers gave no fewer than four premieres, each in their way extraordinary, in a towering performance directed by David Hill..."
"Conductor David Hill creates a beautiful nostalgic-numinous atmosphere, but he also has a keen sense of drama and whips up some thrilling climaxes"
"These performances under David Hill are fine, responsive to the beauty and the terror...[they] impress as more impassioned than Hickox's and the recorded sound has a keener range and depth of perspective."
Musical Director The Bach Choir
Principal Conductor Yale Schola Cantorum
Musical Director Leeds Philharmonic Society
Associate Guest Conductor Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Renowned for his fine musicianship, David Hill is widely respected as both a choral and orchestral conductor. His talent has been recognised by his appointments as Musical Director of The Bach Choir, Music Director of Leeds Philharmonic Society, Associate Guest conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Principal Conductor of Yale Schola Cantorum, and International Chair in Choral Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music. He was Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers from September 2007 to September 2017 and is a former Music Director of Southern Sinfonia.
Born in Carlisle and educated at Chetham’s School of Music, of which he is now a Governor, he was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists at the remarkably young age of 17. Having been Organ Scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge, David Hill returned to hold the post of Director of Music from 2004-2007. His other appointments have included Master of the Music at Winchester Cathedral, Master of the Music at Westminster Cathedral and Artistic Director of the Philharmonia Chorus. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Southampton for Services to Music, and in March 2018, he was honoured with the prestigious Royal College of Organists medal, in recognition of distinguished achievement in choral conducting and organ playing.
David Hill has a broad-ranging discography covering repertoire from Thomas Tallis to a number of world premiere recordings. As well as achieving prestigious Grammy and Gramophone Awards, many of his discs have been recommended as Critic’s Choices, with his ongoing series of English choral music for Naxos, and discs for Hyperion with the Yale Schola Cantorum receiving particular acclaim.
Hill has appeared with the BBC Symphony and BBC Philharmonic orchestras, London Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, English Chamber Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Orchestra and Chorus of Welsh National Opera, the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North, Ulster Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Réal Filharmonia de Galicia, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Omaha Symphony, and Portland Baroque Orchestras as well as the Netherlands Radio Choir, the National Youth Choir of Australia, and RIAS Chamber Choir, Berlin.
His commitment to new music has led to him premiering works from leading composers including Judith Bingham, Carl Rütti, Francis Pott, Bob Chilcott, Gabriel Jackson, James Macmillan, Philip Moore, Naji Hakim, Sir John Tavener, Philip Wilby and Jonathan Dove. Recent highlights include the world premiere of Gabriel Jackson’s The World Imagined with the Philharmonia at Three Choirs Festival.
In January 2019 David Hill was awarded an MBE for services to music.
This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.
CD: Blackford, Mirror of Perfection/Vision of a Garden
Bach Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra (Lyrita SRCD406)
“David Hill kicks things off with a breezy and bouncing performance of Stanford’s evergreen Magnificat in B flat. The sense of energy and brightness spills over into Stanford’s motet Eternal Father of 1915. Scored for six-part choir, this is a masterly renewing freshness of texture.”
Malcolm Riley, Gramophone
From the Ground Up
Regent Records, November 2020
David Hill’s gorgeously coherent programme from Peterborough showcases some of the best of the genre by a septet of English-born composers, starting with Walter Alcock’s cornerstone Introduction and Passacaglia of 1933. He captures the work’s nobility with authority and grace...Needless to say that David Hill’s enthusiasm for this generous programme shines through.
Malcolm Riley, Gramophone Magazine *Editor's Choice*
brilliantly played by David Hill... The masterwork on this CD is Willan’s splendid Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue, [which] remains one of the great organ works of the 20th century and is given a superlative performance here.
John France, Music-Web International
Bach, Ives, Mahler and Beethoven
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / Opening Night 2020
The longest break in the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra's 127-year history has ended in heartwarming fashion...David Hill conducted with meticulous attention to detail...Britten's chamber orchestra arrangement of What the Wild Flowers Tell Me was perfectly paced...and Beethoven's Symphony No 7 was played with tremendous vigour, a joyous statement from a band that sounded thrilled to be back in business
Richard Morrison, The Times *****
David Hill, a hugely respected guest conductor whose appointments include musical director of the Bach choir, led off the program fittingly with the J S Bach ‘Eine feste Burg is unser Gott’...Smooth, soothing, comforting, it brought forth a wealth of sound from the orchestra...This, their first night back playing for us after this long break was a truly wonderful and emotional evening with our BSO.
Lesley Dedman, Bournemouth Echo
The Bach Choir / Howells: Missa Sabrinensis
Hyperion; CDA68294 / release date May 2020
Hill’s uplifting performance, magnificently sung by the choir and the soloists Helena Dix, Christine Rice, Benjamin Hulett and Roderick Williams, proves a complete vindication
Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times
This new recording perfectly captures the radiance of the writing, the grandeur of the vision—just wait for the Gloria that comes after [the Kyrie] when you listen to this—and the connection with landscape and tradition. A perfect way to hear Howells at his most expansive
Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review
A texturally high-definition performance from David Hill and the superbly trained amateurs of The Bach Choir...It’s an electrifying performance: one of those you never knew you were waiting for but can’t imagine now ever doing without
Alexandra Coghlan, Gramophone Magazine
The combined forces certainly make a glorious noise, at its most impressive with the extensive Gloria section
BBC Music Magazine, performance **** recording *****
The Bach Choir are fitting performers, along with the BBC Concert Orchestra, of this challenging, rhapsodic piece in a new recording (Hyperion) conducted by David Hill. The quartet of soloists – Helena Dix, Christine Rice, Benjamin Hulett and Roderick Williams – is well-matched and fearless.
Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian
This may be one of this year’s most significant choral recordings, and it is a performance not to be missed
David Smith, Presto Classical *Recording of the Week*
This is a highly impressive account of Missa Sabrinensis. It’s one that does full justice to the stature of the work… David Hill reveals the work’s stature more compellingly and convincingly… David Hill has certainly increased my appreciation of this neglected important score very significantly
Howells’ Missa Sabrinensis is a masterpiece, its true genius revealed in this exceptionally sensitive performance, recorded so lucidly that it defies its reputation for being difficult to perform. This is essential listening for anyone into Howells and the true greatness of his work
The redoubtable David Hill has seen to all hurdles; preparing his Bach Choir with meticulous attention to detail and editing the score and parts in conjunction with Howells scholar, Paul Spicer...The resulting recording is nothing short of extraordinary. It is hard not to be moved by this music...Missa Sabrinensis has been a hidden masterpiece that has now come to light, thanks to this landmark performance. It undoubtedly puts Howells in a different light. Be borne away on its powerful tide.
Tony Way, Limelight
By any standards, this recording of Howell’s Missa Sabriensis (Mass of the Severn) is a major event and superior in every way to the work’s previous account on disc...Led by conductor David Hill, who clearly believes in every note of this piece, the Bach Choir, BBC Concert Orchestra and the fine quartet of soloists offer an exhilarating performance, which reveals this work to be a forgotten British masterpiece from the middle of 20th century.
Philip Reed, Choir & Organ
Bach B minor Mass with The Bach Choir and the OAE
Royal Festival Hall, February 2020
All the big thrills belong to the choir’s 220 black-clad figures as they negotiate the work’s vast and variegated landscape, with moments of heart-stopping beauty along the way. I have to keep reminding myself that these people are amateurs: I can’t imagine a professional choir giving a more perfect and passionate performance
Michael Church, The Independent *****
Yale Schola Cantorum / New England choirworks
Hyperion CDA68314 / release date December 2019
[A] richly rewarding recording of choral works sung by Yale Schola Cantorum under David Hill
Tawnie Olson's Magnificat immediately grabs attention with its pungent evocations of Bulgarian women's choirs, conveyed convincingly by Elm City Girls' Choir, which then combine and interleave with the Yale voices to reimagine medieval organum for the 21st century … David Hill's affecting God be in my head and Daniel Kellogg's high-spirited Shout joy! make an effective contrasting pair at the heart of this rewarding disc
Christopher Dingle, BBC Music Magazine, performance ****, recording ****
David Hill has devised a most interesting and varied programme for this CD and his highly accomplished choir sings it with tremendous skill.
John Quinn, MusicWeb-International
Yale Schola Cantorum / Schütz: The Christmas Story & other works
Hyperion; CDA68315 / release date December 2019
Venturing outside the British sound world, the Yale Schola Cantorum, under David Hill, give a refreshingly clean and athletic American account of Schütz’s 17th-century Christmas Story and assorted motets
The Times ****
The American choir Yale Schola Cantorum, conducted by David Hill, gives an ample and well-honed account of Heinrich Schütz’s The Christmas Story (Hyperion)
The Yale Schola Cantorum comprises roughly 30 singers and a dozen instrumentalists, but they sound light and bright nonetheless...David Hill's sense of shaping and narrative sweep is equally positive
Fabrice Fitch, Gramophone
Schütz’s Italianate oratorio is one of the masterpieces of the early Baroque and is performed beautifully here. Voices and instruments are superbly balanced within the rich recorded texture
BBC Music Magazine ****
Yale University's Schola Cantorum sing and play like seasoned professionals, and Hyperion’s documentation is excellent
Dvorak's Stabat Mater with Leeds Philharmonic Chorus & RLPO
Leeds Town Hall, 2019
A fine performance...David Hill’s pacing and dynamic shading allowed this epic work to unfold in luminous orchestral and vocal detail... a performance of powerful emotional impact
Geoffrey Mogridge, Ilkley Gazette
Yale Schola Cantorum / Brahms ‘Ein Deutsches Requiem’
Hyperion; CDA68242 / release date 31 August 2018
The 32-member Yale Schola Cantorum is full of young, vibrant voices, and they respond with alacrity and sensitivity to David Hill’s vastly experienced direction.
Terry Blain, BBC Music Magazine - performance ****, recording ****
Shaped by Hill’s sensitive pacing and dynamics, the music rises and falls with the meaning of the words in just the way the composer intended... This recording beautifully conveys [the work's] human feeling and its pure aesthetic magic. There’s a striking warmth to the performance overall – a sense of intimacy founded in the immersive work of the singers and instrumentalists, aided by Farrington’s sparkling new chamber arrangement, and richly informed by conductor Hill’s deep understanding of the Brahms Requiem.
John Sobel, Blogcritics.org
David Hill's instincts are sound, especially in the Requiem's outer pillars and its keystone, 'How lovely are thy dwellings'.
Peter Quantrill, Gramophone Magazine
Yale Schola Cantorum / Palestrina; Missa Confitebor tibi Domine
David Hill produces a marvellous sound from his choir, beautifully tuned, beautifully balanced and with many truly exciting moments... These tracks are an unalloyed pleasure.
David Fallows, Gramophone
Under the masterly direction of David Hill, this crack student choir produces a clean yet luxuriant sound, reflecting the sumptuous vocal resources that might have been used on a major feast day in one of the Roman churches.
Kate Bolton-Porciatti, BBC Music Magazine - Recording ****, performance ****
Palestrina’s Missa Confitebor tibi Domine (1572) is a real find, a glorious work...This stylish, immersed-in, performance is characterised by David Hill’s directness, underpinned by forward momentum.
David Truslove, Classical Source ****
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