The English basritone and choral conductor, William Dawes, stated his musical career as a chorister at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and as a member of the Berkshire Young Musicians Trust. He studied music at the University of Edinburgh and then Choral Conducting and Voice at the Royal Academy of Music in London under the direction of Patrick Russill, Paul Brough and David Lowe. There, he frequently conducted in the opera department and took part in master-classes with conductors such as David Hill, Timo Nuorane and Stephen Layton. On graduating, he was awarded the Thomas Armstrong Prize for Choral Direction.
William Dawes is the Conductor of Bath Choral Society, Conductor of the Orlando Chamber Choir, Director of Ensemble 45, Chorus Master for Ludus Baroque, Director of Music at the church of St Mary Magdalen, Oxford, Director of Frideswide Voices (since September 2014), and a member of Stile Antico ((since March 2008)).
William Dawes' work with his various choirs has seen performances of works ranging from J.S. Bach's St John Passion (BWV 245), Alessandro Scarlatti's Stabat Mater and J. Haydn's The Seasons to Benjamin Britten's The Company of Heaven, M.Tippett's A Child of our Time, and MacMillan's Seven last words from the Cross, the latter being hailed as “A quite remarkable musical experience which had emotional intensity and depth of feeling”. As Chorus Master to Ludus Baroque, he prepares the choir for their biannual performances of the great works by George Frideric Handel and J.S. Bach, as well as for their recordings on the Delphian label. His work with Ensemble 45 has included national premieres of works by Arvo Pärt, Penderecki, Rautavaara and Whitacre alongside music by Johannes Brahms, Carver, B. Britten and Gabriel Jackson. A recent highlight was directing the Eric Whitacre Singers in a recording of Fly to Paradise – the track for Virtual Choir 4, which reached no.1 in the iTunes classical chart in the UK, USA, and Canada.
Aside from his career as a conductor, William Dawes is active as a consort singer and is a member of the internationally acclaimed and multiple-Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Stile Antico. The group performs all over the globe, so far including concerts at the Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall (BBC Proms), 30 different venues in the USA, as well as Mexico, Portugal, Estonia and Canada. He is a former Lay Clerk of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, and has also appeared as part of the BBC Singers, Collegium Vocale Gent (Director: Philippe Herreweghe) and Polyphony (Director: Stephen Layton), Eric Whitacre Singers. He was also a member of the vocal ensembles Cambridge Singers (Director: John Rutter).
As a soloist, William Dawes has sung works such as C. Orff's Carmina Burana, Gustav Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, and Adams' The Wound Dresser, as well as more canonic works by J.S. Bach and G.F. Handel. His one and only operatic role to date is that of Mr Gedge in B. Britten's Albert Herring. He studies with Giles Underwood. He lives in Oxford, loves most unhealthy foodstuffs, and will definitely talk to you after a concert if you buy him a pint.