The English conductor, Stephen Wilkinson, was trained as a boy chorister at Christ Church, Oxford, and studied music at Cambridge on an organ scholarship. After war service in the Navy he was director of the Hertfordshire Rural Music School before joining the music staff of the BBC. For many years he was conductor of the BBC Northern Singers.
Many contemporary composers have written especially for Stephen Wilkinson, and he has himself written much choral music, including Dover Beach, Betjeman's Bells and Some Psalms, all premiered by the William Byrd Singers whom he has conducted from the outset. Manchester University has recognized his work with an honorary degree and he was awarded an MBE for his services to choral music in the 1992 New Year's Honours.
Stephen Wilkinson regularly conducts courses for Canford Summer School of Music, for Benslow Music Trust in Hitchin, and for Chorale in Chester. 2003 saw publication of his choral collections The Other Carol Book and Grass Roots, 12 studies in folk song (both available from Musunge). Some of the folk songs appear on our CD The Best of the Byrds. Many of his compositions and arrangements are also available for hire from the William Byrd Singers' library.