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Richard Hickox

Richard Hickox

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Richard Sidney Hickox CBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (5 March 1948 – 23 November 2008) was an English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 conductor
Conducting
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

 of choral
Choir
A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...

, orchestra
Orchestra
An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus...

l and opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

tic music.

Early life


Hickox was born in Stokenchurch
Stokenchurch
Stokenchurch is a village and civil parish within Wycombe district in Buckinghamshire England. It is in the Chiltern Hills, about south of Chinnor in Oxfordshire and west of High Wycombe. The village is a popular place to live, due to its rural location and ease of access to London and Birmingham...

 in Buckinghamshire
Buckinghamshire
Buckinghamshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan home county in South East England. The county town is Aylesbury, the largest town in the ceremonial county is Milton Keynes and largest town in the non-metropolitan county is High Wycombe....

 into a musical family. After attending the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe
Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe
See Royal Grammar School for the other schools with the name RGS.The Royal Grammar School High Wycombe is a selective grammar school situated in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. As a state school it does not charge fees for students to attend, but they must pass an entrance exam...

 from 1959 to 1966, he studied at the Royal Academy of Music
Royal Academy of Music
The Royal Academy of Music in London, England, is a conservatoire, Britain's oldest degree-granting music school and a constituent college of the University of London since 1999. The Academy was founded by Lord Burghersh in 1822 with the help and ideas of the French harpist and composer Nicolas...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 from 1966 to 1967, then was an organ scholar
Organ scholar
An organ scholar is a young musician employed as a part-time assistant organist at an institution where regular choral services are held. The idea of an organ scholarship is to provide the holder with playing, directing and administrative experience....

 at Queens' College, Cambridge
Queens' College, Cambridge
Queens' College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England.The college was founded in 1448 by Margaret of Anjou , and refounded in 1465 by Elizabeth Woodville...

 from 1967 to 1970.

Career


In 1967, while his father was Vicar of Wooburn, Buckinghamshire, Richard founded the Wooburn Festival and eventually became its President. The Festival is now in its 43rd year and featured music, drama and the visual arts. Richard also founded the Wooburn Singers and continued as conductor until succeeded by Stephen Jackson. Hickox founded the City of London Sinfonia
City of London Sinfonia
The City of London Sinfonia is an English chamber orchestra based in London. In London, the CLS performs regularly at Cadogan Hall and St Paul's Cathedral. It is also the resident orchestra at Opera Holland Park. The CLS has annual residencies in four towns in Southern England: Ipswich, King's...

 in 1971, remaining music director until his death, and also founded the Richard Hickox Singers and Orchestra in the same year. The Richard Hickox Singers feature in Kate Bush
Kate Bush
Kate Bush is an English singer-songwriter, musician and record producer. Her eclectic musical style and idiosyncratic vocal style have made her one of the United Kingdom's most successful solo female performers of the past 30 years.In 1978, at the age of 19, Bush topped the UK Singles Chart...

's album Hounds of Love
Hounds of Love
Hounds of Love is a 1985 album by the British singer Kate Bush. It was Bush's fifth studio album, and her second no. 1. It has since been certified Double Platinum in the UK...

, released in 1985. He was the director of music at the St. Endellion Music Festival from 1972 to 2008. In 1972 at the age of only 24 he was appointed Martin Neary
Martin Neary
Martin Neary LVO is an English organist and choral conductor. He was Organist and Director of Music at Winchester Cathedral from 1972 to 1988, and Organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey from 1988 to 1998...

's successor as organist and master of music at St. Margaret's, Westminster
St. Margaret's, Westminster
The Anglican church of St. Margaret, Westminster Abbey is situated in the grounds of Westminster Abbey on Parliament Square, and is the parish church of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom in London...

 (the church of the Houses of Parliament
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom—the House of Lords and the House of Commons...

), subsequently adding the directorships of the London Symphony Chorus
London Symphony Chorus
The London Symphony Chorus is a large symphonic concert choir based in London, England, consisting of over 150 amateur singers, and is one of the major symphony choruses of the United Kingdom. It was formed in 1966 as the LSO Chorus to complement the work of the London Symphony Orchestra...

 (1976) and Bradford Festival Choral Society
Bradford Festival Choral Society
Bradford Festival Choral Society was founded as a direct result of the opening of St George’s Hall in 1853. A massed choir of over 200 singers from far and wide was formed for the first Bradford Musical Festival which took place that year...

 (1978). From 1982 to 1990, he served as Artistic Director of the Northern Sinfonia
Northern Sinfonia
The Northern Sinfonia is a British chamber orchestra, based initially in Newcastle upon Tyne, and currently in Gateshead. For the first 46 years of its history, the orchestra gave the bulk of its concerts at the City Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne. Since 2004, the orchestra has been resident at The...

. He was Associate Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra
London Symphony Orchestra
The London Symphony Orchestra is a major orchestra of the United Kingdom, as well as one of the best-known orchestras in the world. Since 1982, the LSO has been based in London's Barbican Centre.-History:...

 from 1985 until his death. He was also Chorus Director of the London Symphony Chorus
London Symphony Chorus
The London Symphony Chorus is a large symphonic concert choir based in London, England, consisting of over 150 amateur singers, and is one of the major symphony choruses of the United Kingdom. It was formed in 1966 as the LSO Chorus to complement the work of the London Symphony Orchestra...

 from 1976 to 1991, with whom he premiered The Three Kings by Peter Maxwell Davies
Peter Maxwell Davies
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, CBE is an English composer and conductor and is currently Master of the Queen's Music.-Biography:...

 in 1995. He also premiered A Dance on the Hill in 2005, by the same composer. His repertoire included over 100 first performances.

In 1990, he co-founded the baroque orchestra
Baroque orchestra
The Baroque orchestra is the type of orchestra that existed during the Baroque period, commonly identified as 1600-1750. Its origins were in France where Jean-Baptiste Lully added the newly re-designed hautboy and transverse flutes to his vingt-quatre violons du Roy...

 Collegium Musicum 90
Collegium Musicum 90
Collegium Musicum 90 is an English baroque orchestra playing on period instruments. It was founded by violinist Simon Standage and conductor Richard Hickox in 1990 and was jointly directed by them until the death of Hickox in November 2008.Collegium Musicum means something like musical guild and...

 with Simon Standage
Simon Standage
Simon Andrew Thomas Standage is an English violinist and conductor best known for playing and conducting music of the baroque and classical eras on original instruments.- Biography and career :...

. For five years, Hickox was Music Director of the Spoleto Festival
Festival dei Due Mondi
The Festival dei Due Mondi ' is an annual summer music and opera festival held each June to early July in Spoleto, Italy, since its founding by composer Gian Carlo Menotti in 1958...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. From 2000 to 2006, he was Principal Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
The BBC National Orchestra of Wales is a Welsh symphony orchestra and one of the BBC's five professional orchestras. The BBC NOW is the only professional symphony orchestra organisation in Wales, occupying a dual role as both a broadcasting orchestra and national orchestra.The BBC NOW has its...

, thereafter becoming its Conductor Emeritus. He became the Music Director of Opera Australia
Opera Australia
Opera Australia is the principal opera company in Australia. Based in Sydney, its performance season at the Sydney Opera House runs for approximately eight months of the year, with the remainder of its time spent in the The Arts Centre in Melbourne...

 in 2005, and in this role he conducted the Australian premieres of The Love for Three Oranges, Rusalka
Rusalka (opera)
Rusalka is an opera by Antonín Dvořák. The Czech libretto was written by the poet Jaroslav Kvapil based on the fairy tales of Karel Jaromír Erben and Božena Němcová. Rusalka is one of the most successful Czech operas, and represents a cornerstone of the repertoire of Czech opera houses...

, and Arabella
Arabella
Arabella is a lyric comedy or opera in 3 acts by Richard Strauss to a German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, their sixth and last operatic collaboration. It was first performed on 1 July 1933, at the Dresden Sächsisches Staatstheater....

 
(which won 2008's prestigious Helpmann Award
Helpmann Award
The Helpmann Awards recognize distinguished artistic achievement and excellence in Australia's live performing arts sectors. The recognized disciplines include musical and physical theatre, contemporary and classical music, opera, and dance, with a comedy category introduced in 2006...

 for Best Opera). He also collaborated on new productions of The Tales of Hoffmann and Alcina
Alcina
Alcina is an opera seria by George Frideric Handel. Handel used the libretto of L'isola di Alcina, an opera that was set in 1728 in Rome by Riccardo Broschi, which he acquired the year after, during his travels in Italy...

. CD recordings of The Love for Three Oranges and Rusalka have been released by Chandos and received very positive reviews in the international and local press. Hickox also led major revivals, including Tannhäuser
Tannhäuser (opera)
Tannhäuser is an opera in three acts, music and text by Richard Wagner, based on the two German legends of Tannhäuser and the song contest at Wartburg...

, Death in Venice
Death in Venice (opera)
Death in Venice is an opera in two acts by Benjamin Britten, his last. The opera is based on the novella Death in Venice by Thomas Mann. Myfanwy Piper wrote the English libretto. It was first performed at Snape Maltings near Aldeburgh, England on 16 June 1973.The astringent score is marked by some...

, Giulio Cesare
Giulio Cesare
Giulio Cesare in Egitto , commonly known simply as Giulio Cesare, is an Italian opera in three acts written for the Royal Academy of Music by George Frideric Handel in 1724...

, Billy Budd
Billy Budd (opera)
Billy Budd is an opera by Benjamin Britten, from a libretto by E. M. Forster and Eric Crozier, was first performed at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London on 1 December 1951. It is based on the short novel Billy Budd by Herman Melville....

, and Janáček
Leoš Janácek
Leoš Janáček was a Czech composer, musical theorist, folklorist, publicist and teacher. He was inspired by Moravian and all Slavic folk music to create an original, modern musical style. Until 1895 he devoted himself mainly to folkloristic research and his early musical output was influenced by...

’s The Makropulos Affair. In recent years, the Australian opera singers Fiona Janes and Bruce Martin, formerly featured with Opera Australia, had left the organisation and criticised Hickox and Opera Australia for perceived declines in artistic standards since the start of Hickox's tenure. Hickox was contracted as Opera Australia's music director through 2012 at the time of his death in November 2008.

Hickox was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (CBE) in the 2002 Queen's Birthday Honours
Queen's Birthday Honours
The Queen's Birthday Honours is a part of the British honours system, being a civic occasion on the celebration of the Queen's Official Birthday in which new members of most Commonwealth Realms honours are named. The awards are presented by the reigning monarch or head of state, currently Queen...

. His recording repertoire concentrated on British music, in which he made a number of recording premieres for Chandos Records
Chandos Records
Chandos Records is an independent classical music recording company based in Colchester, Essex, in the United Kingdom, founded in 1979 by Brian Couzens.- Background :...

 (he made over 280 recordings for this company). In 1997 he won the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording
Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording
The Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording has been awarded since 1961. The award was originally titled Best Classical Opera Production. The current title has been used since 1962....

 for his recording of Britten
Benjamin Britten
Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He showed talent from an early age, and first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born in 1934. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to...

's Peter Grimes
Peter Grimes
Peter Grimes is an opera by Benjamin Britten, with a libretto adapted by Montagu Slater from the Peter Grimes section of George Crabbe's poem The Borough...

. He won five Gramophone Award
Gramophone Award
The Gramophone Awards are one of the most significant honours bestowed on recordings in the classical record industry, often referred to as the Oscars for classical music. The winners are selected annually by critics for the Gramophone magazine and various members of the industry, including...

s: for recordings of Benjamin Britten
Benjamin Britten
Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He showed talent from an early age, and first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born in 1934. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to...

's War Requiem
War Requiem
The War Requiem, Op. 66 is a large-scale, non-liturgical setting of the Requiem Mass composed by Benjamin Britten mostly in 1961 and completed January 1962. Interspersed with the traditional Latin texts, in telling juxtaposition, are settings of Wilfred Owen poems...

(1992); Frederick Delius
Frederick Delius
Frederick Theodore Albert Delius, CH was an English composer. Born in the north of England to a prosperous mercantile family of German extraction, he resisted attempts to recruit him to commerce...

's Sea Drift
Sea Drift (Delius)
Sea Drift is among the larger-scale musical works by the composer Frederick Delius. Completed in 1903-1904 and first performed in 1906, it is a setting for baritone, chorus and orchestra of words by Walt Whitman.- The poem adaptation :...

(1994); William Walton
William Walton
Sir William Turner Walton OM was an English composer. During a sixty-year career, he wrote music in several classical genres and styles, from film scores to opera...

's Troilus and Cressida
Troilus and Cressida (opera)
Troilus and Cressida is the first of the two operas by William Walton. The libretto was by Christopher Hassall, his own first opera libretto, based on Chaucer's poem Troilus and Criseyde...

(1995); Ralph Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams OM was an English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. He was also a collector of English folk music and song: this activity both influenced his editorial approach to the English Hymnal, beginning in 1904, in which he included many...

' A London Symphony
A London Symphony
A London Symphony is the second symphony composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The work is sometimes referred to as the Symphony No. 2, though it was not designated as such by the composer...

(2001 Record of the Year and Best Orchestral Disc); and Charles Villiers Stanford
Charles Villiers Stanford
Sir Charles Villiers Stanford was an Irish composer who was particularly notable for his choral music. He was professor at the Royal College of Music and University of Cambridge.- Life :...

's Songs of the Sea (2006 Editor’s Choice).

He was awarded a Doctorate of Music at Durham University
Durham University
The University of Durham, commonly known as Durham University, is a university in Durham, England. It was founded by Act of Parliament in 1832 and granted a Royal Charter in 1837...

 in 2003; and was an Honorary Fellow of Queens' College, Cambridge
Queens' College, Cambridge
Queens' College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England.The college was founded in 1448 by Margaret of Anjou , and refounded in 1465 by Elizabeth Woodville...

. He received two Royal Philharmonic Society
Royal Philharmonic Society
The Royal Philharmonic Society is a British music society, formed in 1813. It was originally formed in London to promote performances of instrumental music there. Many distinguished composers and performers have taken part in its concerts...

 Music Awards, the first Sir Charles Groves
Charles Groves
Sir Charles Barnard Groves CBE was an English conductor. He was known for the breadth of his repertoire and for encouraging contemporary composers and young conductors....

 Award, the Evening Standard
Evening Standard
The Evening Standard, now styled the London Evening Standard, is a free local daily newspaper, published Monday–Friday in tabloid format in London. It is the dominant regional evening paper for London and the surrounding area, with coverage of national and international news and City of London...

 Opera Award, and the Association of British Orchestras Award. He was also President of the Elgar Society.

Death


On 23 November 2008, after a recording session of Holst
Gustav Holst
Gustav Theodore Holst was an English composer. He is most famous for his orchestral suite The Planets....

's Choral Symphony
First Choral Symphony
British composer Gustav Holst wrote his First Choral Symphony in 1923–24. It was premiered in Leeds Town Hall on October 7, 1925, conducted by Albert Coates and with Dorothy Silk as soloist...

for Chandos, Hickox died in Swansea
Swansea
Swansea is a coastal city and county in Wales. Swansea is in the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands...

 from a dissecting
Dissection (medical)
In medical pathology, dissection refers to a tear within the wall of a blood vessel, which allows blood to separate the wall layers, creating a pseudoaneurysm.- Types :Examples include:*Aortic dissection...

 thoracic
Chest
The chest is a part of the anatomy of humans and various other animals. It is sometimes referred to as the thorax or the bosom.-Chest anatomy - Humans and other hominids:...

 aneurysm
Aneurysm
An aneurysm or aneurism is a localized, blood-filled balloon-like bulge in the wall of a blood vessel. Aneurysms can commonly occur in arteries at the base of the brain and an aortic aneurysm occurs in the main artery carrying blood from the left ventricle of the heart...

. He had been scheduled to conduct a new production of Vaughan Williams' Riders to the Sea
Riders to the Sea (opera)
Riders to the Sea is a short one-act opera by Ralph Vaughan Williams, based on the eponymous play by the Irish author John Millington Synge. The composer completed the score in 1927, but it was not premiered until 1 December 1937, at the Royal College of Music, London...

at English National Opera
English National Opera
English National Opera is an opera company based in London, resident at the London Coliseum in St. Martin's Lane. It is one of the two principal opera companies in London, along with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden...

 in November 2008.

A memorial service was held at Queens' College, Cambridge
Queens' College, Cambridge
Queens' College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England.The college was founded in 1448 by Margaret of Anjou , and refounded in 1465 by Elizabeth Woodville...

, on 26 November 2008, with music conducted by Sir David Willcocks. A service of thanksgiving took place in St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral, London, is a Church of England cathedral and seat of the Bishop of London. Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604. St Paul's sits at the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London, and is the mother...

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 on 12 March 2009.

Personal life


Hickox was married three times. In 1970 he married Julia Smith and they divorced in 1976. His second marriage to Frances Sheldon-Williams produced a son, Tom, and also ended in divorce. His third marriage was to the contralto Pamela Helen Stephen, and produced two children, Adam and Abigail. His widow and three children survive him.

External links