The Canadian conductor, organist and teacher, Wayne (Kerr) Riddell, is a graduate of McGill University (B. Mus., 1960), where he studied with Juliette Rodrigue and Kenneth Gilbert, and also served for a number of years as Director of Choral Music Activities. He also studied in West Germany as a guest of that country's government.
Wayne Riddell served as organist-choirmaster at several Montreal churches, including Westmount Park United 1958-1965, Erskine and American United 1965-1972. He taught at Marianopolis College and 1961-1964 in the protestant schools. He was active as the Director of Music of the prestigious Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul in Montreal for over fourteen years (1972-1986), and has released several long-playing recordings with this choir. In 1980 the choir was awarded the first Healey Willan Prize by the Canada Council. He was chorus master of the Montreal Symphony and has been invited as guest conductor of that and other orchestras. In 1969 he was made director of choirs and vice-chairman of the department of school music at McGill University.
The founder and former director of the Tudor Singers of Montreal in 1962, Wayne Riddell has established a reputation as one of Canada's distinguished musicians who instills in those who sing under his direction a consistent sense of ensemble and musicality which have been hailed by the most demanding of audiences and charmed the most difficult critics. His drive, personal discipline and sense of humour are reflected in the respect and devotion of all who have worked with him, whether artist or support staff. Wayne Riddell and the Tudor Singers of Montreal have toured from coast to coast in Canada many times, as well as concertizing extensively in Europe and the USA. The choir has been frequently broadcast on the C.B.C. and has several recordings to its credit. In 1988 he was conductor of both the National Youth Choir, organized by the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors, and of the Ontario Youth Choir.
The choir of the Church of St Andrew and St Paul made 4 LPs under Wayne Riddell, including Jubilate (1978, St Andrew & St Paul), Noël Nouvelet (1979, London), Te Deum (1980, St Andrew & St Paul) and Magnificat (1984, Savvy). This choir for many years presented an oratorio series, performing major works of J.S. Bach, George Frideric Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Felix Mendelssohn, Johannes Brahms, Fauré, and Maurice Duruflé. It was also the first recipient of the Canada Council's Healey Willan Prize as the best choir in its annual choral competition.
Wayne Riddell is in constant demand as an adjudicator, workshop leader and guest conductor with many of Canada's leading choirs and orchestras. In addition, he maintains an active performing and conducting career abroad. In 1991 he continued to pursue an active career as a freelance choral conductor. He has travelled extensively, guest conducting choirs and orchestras, and acting as adjudicator and choral workshop clinician. He was a guest conductorat the Glasgow International Festival in Scotland in October 1990, and led a five-day choral workshop at the Elora Festival in 1991.
In July 1988, Wayne Riddell was named a member of the "Order of Canada" in recognition of this outstanding contribution to choral music. In May 1992 he was honoured with the "Distinguished Service Award" from the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors. In March 1995, he was honoured by The Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul and awarded the title Director of Music Emeritus for his outstanding contribution to the music programme of the church. He is also a contributor to EMC. Wayne Riddell has been described by music critics as "a choral trainer of genius".