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Harry Bicket (Conductor, Harpsichord, Organ)

Born: 1961 - Liverpool, England

The English conductor and harpsichordist and organist, Harry Bicket, was educated at Radley College, Christ Church, Oxford, where he was organ scholar, and the Royal College of Music. Before Oxford he was organ scholar at St George's Chapel, Windsor, and afterwards he was sub-organist at Westminster Abbey, during which time he performed at the wedding of Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew. He also studied at the Oxford University.

Harry Bicket was organist and harpsichordist with The Academy of Ancient Music, The English Concert, Monteverdi Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

As a conductor, Harry Bicket became known when he stood in as a replacement to conduct Peter Sellars’ production of George Frideric Handel's opera Theodora with Dawn Upshaw, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and David Daniels, at the Glyndebourne Festival in 1996. He has since conducted in many other opera houses and concert halls. He has become especially associated with the Baroque and classical repertoire. He conducted Monteverdi's Orfeo and Combattimento di Tanvredi e Clorinda and G.F. Handel's Ariodante, for English National Opera; Other productions include Gluck's Orfeo for Scottish Opera, Magic Flute for Opera North, The Return of Ulysses at Busxton Festival, and for Opera North, and Werther for English Touring Opera; He conducted Storace's No Song, No Supper with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Season 1997-1998 included Figaro at New York City Opera, Giulio Cesare for Australian Opera; Season 1998-1999 with Rodelinda on Glyndebourne Tour, Orfeo with Royal Danish Opera, and Semele with English National Opera. Further engaements include new opera productions for New York City Opera with La Clemenza di Tito and Rinaldo, and Opera North with Radamiato. He conducted Los Angeles Opera with Giulio Cesare in 2001-2002. Further productions include La Clemenza di Tito for WNO in 2002, Xerxes for English National Opera in 2002, and Messiah with WNO and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 2002.

In 2003, Harry Bicket was conductor for the revival of Theodora at Glyndebourne. In 2003 he also made his Covent Garden debut conducting G.F. Handel's Orlando with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, a production that was nominated for "Best New Opera Production" in the 2004 Laurence Olivier Awards. His engagements with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment have also included G.F. Handel's Theodora and Rodelinda for the Glyndebourne Festival Opera. His debut with the Bayerische Staatsoper (Bavarian State Opera) in 2000 with Rinaldo resulted in return engagements every year through to 2007. In 2001 his first Barcelona production, Giulio Cesare, earned him the Opera Critics Prize for best conductor. 2003 saw debuts with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden where he conducted Orlando, which received an Olivier Award nomination for Best New Opera Production. He made his Metropolitan Opera New York debut in December 2004 in Rodelinda with Renée Fleming and David Daniels, and was immediately re-engaged for Giulio Cesare in 2006-2007.

Harry Bicket's symphonic repertoire extends from the Baroque to the contemporary, with a particular accent on choral works. He appears widely with period orchestras and enjoys great success with symphony orchestras in Europe and North America. He has conducted many British orchestras, including the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, Hallé Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He made his New York Philharmonic Orchestra debut in 2006 and in recent seasons has conducted the St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Messiah and Missa Solemnis with the Minnesota Orchestra and made warmly received debuts with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester, and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

In October 2006, Harry Bicket was named the next director of The English Concert, effective as of September 2007. He first worked with the ensemble as a harpsichordist in 1984. This position is his first orchestral directorship. Last season (2007-2008) saw his debut with The English Concert at Wigmore Hall, and extensive plans for 2008 and beyond include concerts with them in the UK, Europe and the USA, in addition to recordings. Forthcoming seasons also include his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and return visits to the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Forthcoming opera engagements include Croesus with Opera North, La Clemenza di Tito at the Metropolitan Opera New York, and three further productions at the Liceu, Barcelona. He lives in London.

Harry Bicket's discography includes a collection of G.F. Handel opera arias with Renée Fleming (Decca), and selections from G.F. Handel’s Theodora, Serse, and the cantata La Lucrezia with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Avie), which was nominated for a Grammy Award. His Gramophone Award-nominated CDs include Sento Amor with David Daniels and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, featuring arias by Gluck, G.F. Handel and Mozart (Virgin Veritas), and Il tenero momento with Susan Graham and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, featuring arias by Mozart and Gluck (Erato). His latest recording, G.F. Handel arias with Ian Bostridge, was released this summer to outstanding reviews. Television work includes My Night with Handel for Channel 4 in 1996.

Source: The English Concert Website; Wikipedia Website; International Who's Who in Music & International Directory (2003)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (July 2008)

Harry Bicket: Short Biography | The English Concert | Recordings of Vocal Works

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works (under other conductors)




Francis Grier


Chorafrom BWV 147; BWV 225, 227, 228, 230; BWV 493

Links to other Sites

Askonas Holt: Harry Bicket
Harry Bicket (English Concert)
Harry Bicket (Wikipedia)

Saint Louis Symphony: Harry Bicket
LA Phil Presents About the Conductor: Harry Bicket
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: Harry Bicket
New York Philharmonic: brief biography on Harry Bicket
Harry Bicket (LA Opera)

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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