The English conductor (and former bass singer), Errol Girdlestone, studied music at Oxford University, after which he received a British Council grant to study conducting in Warsaw.
Errol Girdlestone began his professional musical career as a bass singer however, in some of the most prestigious vocal ensembles in London: the Monteverdi Choir (Director: John Eliot Gardiner), Cantores in Ecclesia, and in particular with the Hilliard Ensemble, of which he was a founder member.
Errol Girdlestone was later to join the music staff of the English National Opera, where he assisted Reginald Goodall on Wagner's Ring Cycle, before becoming a conductor himself - at the Cape Town Opera in South Africa. After a period working as a répétiteur at the English National Opera, he spent four years in South Africa with the Cape Town Opera where he conducted a number of operas and began to build up a symphonic repertoire. Upon his return to England, he conducted at the English National Opera (W.A. Mozart's Cosi fan tutte) and worked on contract at the Amsterdam, Oslo and Nice Opera companies.
For some years Errol Girdlestone has been resident in France, where he divides his time equally between opera, symphonic, and choral conducting. From 1995 to 2010 he was the permanent conductor and artistic director of the Orchestre des Concerts Syrinx, the Ensemble Vocal Syrinx (amateur choir), and its professional counterpart Cantores in Vencia, all of whom performed in the south of France, and were reputed for exemplary artistic standards and enterprising programmes, ranging from Josquin des Prés, J.S. Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, W.A. Mozart, L.v. Beethoven, through Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn and Sibelius, to John Adams and Arvo Pärt.
Errol Girdlestone also guest-conducts operas regularly in the region of Nice and Monte Carlo: recent seasons have included Madama Butterfly, The cunning little vixen, La Traviata, Gianni Schicchi, Suor Angelica, Il barbiere di Siviglia and W.A. Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. Locally conducted oratorios have included J.S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) and B minor Mass (BWV 232), Haydn's Schöpfung, W.A. Mozart's C minor Mass K427, Berlioz' l'Enfance du Christ, Haydn's Nelson and Harmoniemessen, Maurice Duruflé's Requiem, Larsson's Förklädd Gud, George Frideric Handel's Dixit Dominus and Messiah. Elsewhere in France he conducts at summer festivals, including the Georges Auric festival of contemporary music at Montpellier, Musique Cordiale in Provence, and the festival of Pontlevoy in the Loire.
Errol Girdlestone travels abroad, conducting in Germany, Austria, the USA, and England, as well as in the USA, Uruguay and South Africa.. Engagements have taken him to conduct Johannes Brahms' German Requiem in Leipzig, Semele by G.F. Handel in Chicago and J.S. Bach's B minor Mass (BWV 232) at the Canterbury Festival in England. Since 2006 he has appeared regularly as guest conductor with the Wiener Concert-Verein, chamber orchestra of the Wiener Symphoniker. Recent concerts with them have included the Bregenz festival and appearances in the Musikverein in Vienna, and on tour in France. His association with the Wiener Concert-Verein continued in 2010, when he was invited to conduct them twice at the Yehudi Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, with soloists Giuliano Carmignola (violin) and Alison Balsom (trumpet).
Errol Girdlestone is also a composer, and has written several symphonic and choral works, and has had symphonic works premiered in France and Monaco. In the former category are works premiered by eminent French artists – for example the flautist Jean Ferrandis and the pianist François-René Duchâble, both of whom are regular collaborators. His Pièce de concert, a concerto for two flutes and orchestra, was premiered to public acclaim at Les Invalides, Paris in November 2010 (with flautists Jean Ferrandis and Pierre Marcoul). He stepped down after 20 years as artistic director of the Ensemble Vocal Syrinx in March 2013.