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Patrick Russill (Choral Conductor, Organ)

Born: 1953 - Somerset, England

Patrick Russill is Director of Music at the London Oratory and Head of Choral Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where he is also a professor of organ.

Patrick Russill was organ scholar at New College, Oxford, 1972-1975, under Sir David Lumsden and furthered his organ studies there with Nicholas Danby. In 1977 he was appointed Organist of the London (Brompton) Oratory in succession to the great Ralph Downes on Downes’ nomination. In addition he was director of the London Oratory Junior Choir 1984-2001, during which time they appeared on prize-winning recordings of Bach's St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) and Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir. In 1999 he was appointed Director of Music at the London Oratory, assuming full responsibility for its choral tradition and especially for its famous professional choir, which under his direction has recently been described as ‘London’s finest mixed-voice church choir’ (The Organ) and ‘a Rolls-Royce of its kind’ (Church Music Quarterly). He is now (2004) the longest-serving musician in a major central London church.

In 1987 Patrick Russill was invited by the Royal Academy of Music to found Britain’s first conservatoire church music department. This was further developed in 1997 to provide the UK’s first specialist postgraduate choral direction course, which now attracts students from around the world. He is in demand as a visiting teacher at majopr European conservatoires and has been Visiting Professor of Choral Direction at the Leipzig Hochschule für Musik und Theater since 2000.

Patrick Russill made his Royal Festival Hall organ recital debut in 1986 and has since played in Europe, Asia and all over the UK.

Patrick Russill’s scholarly writing includes important articles on early Tudor liturgical organ music, Howells’s Latin church music, and Dupré’s Vespers of the Blessed Virgin of 1920. He was Musical Editor of the acclaimed Catholic Hymn Book (1998) and contributed the chapter on Catholic Germany to The Cambridge Companion to the Organ (1999).

In 1993 Patrick Russill was made an Honorary Patron of the Herbert Howells Society in recognition of his research and rediscovery of the early Latin music of Herbert Howells written for Westminster Cathedral. He is an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music and an Honorary Fellow of both the Guild of Church Musicians and the Royal College of Organists – the highest accolade of each institution.

Source: Patrick Russill (November 2004, April 2007)
Contributed by:
Patrick Russill (November 2004, April 2007)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




John Eliot Gardiner

Chorus Master

BWV 244

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