The English conductor, Robert Hollingworth, received his earliest musical education from his mother and as a chorister at Hereford Cathedral. He also studied violin and keyboard, going on to read music at New College, Oxford University, recording and touring extensively with the choir and working with distinguished conductors and orchestras. He then spent a year on the post-graduate Early Music Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
At Oxford, encouraged by Edward Higginbottom and John Milsom, Robert Hollingworth founded in 1986 the vocal ensemble I Fagiolini, and has since concentrated much of his musical life with this group. With them he has toured worldwide from the UK Proms to both ends of Africa, the Far East and the USA, releasing recordings on Erato, Chandos and Metronome. Directing this group has taken up most of his time since but he has directed other ensembles at home and abroad, most recently the BBC Singers, the Nederlands Kamerkoor and The Academy of Ancient Music.
In 2001 Robert Hollingworth directed Monteverdi's L'Orfeo for Dutch company Opera Zuid with Rufus Müller in the title role.. The highly innovative and atmospheric production was set in basement vaults, the audience following the singers and musicians from space to space. In 2003 he conducted the BBC Concert Orchestra in a project with The Full Monty composer, Anne Dudley. In 2004, with Henk Schut, he created and directed the Nederlands Kamerkoor in a ground-breaking new music-theatre project (Faust) acclaimed by the Dutch press and set in startling venues such as a Amsterdam vast ship-building yard, a disused station and Bremen Cathedral. He conducted BBC Singers in a programme of Jakob Gallus. He has also conducted the North German Radio Choir and the National Chamber Choir of Ireland.
Robert Hollingworth was conductor of the Leicester Bach Choir for four years, working on core Baroque repertoire. He has directed Florilegium and The Bach Players (period instruments) in performances of J.S. Bach, George Frideric Handel and Monteverdi and The Brook Street Band on a number of staged projects, notably G.F. Handel's Acis and Galatea and Purcell's Indian Queen.
Robert Hollingworth has directed Lacock courses in Spain, Portugal, Italy and the Netherlands as well as at the Lacock Summer School itself, and will direct a programme of Willaert and de Rore at Singing In Venice in September 2008. In addition to his Lacock appearances, he is a regular guest conductor at the Dartington International Summer School. He is increasingly involved in education work, both as a freelancer (projects funded by National Foundation for Youth Music) and I Fagiolini workshops.
Robert Hollingworth writes and presents for BBC Radio 3 and 2 on programmes such as Record Review, Music Restored and The Early Music Show. He founded and directed London's Visual and Dramatic Festival of Music, presenting amazing programmes using light and space in the Gothic interior of Islington's Union Chapel. He has also worked on a number of films including Quills, where he utterly failed to make Joaquin Phoenix look like a real conductor. Since 2006 he has been one of the four artistic advisors to the York Early Music Festival, and for 2009 to the Trigonale Festival, Austria.