Will Todd

Will Todd taught himself the piano from an early age and grew up in County Durham, North East England where his grandfather was a coal miner and his parents were teachers. His love of improvising has been the central force in a wide ranging career of composing and playing.

His love of choral music is reflected in a large output including masses, anthems and larger sacred concert works including Mass in Blue, which has been performed hundreds of times around the world since its 2003 premiere. His carol My Lord Has Come has become a worldwide favorite since it was included in Oxford University Press’s Carols for Choirs Five in 2012.

Will has worked with many of the UK’s leading music companies including Welsh National Opera, Opera North, The Halle Orchestra, Opera Holland Park, The Sixteen, The BBC Singers and the BBC Concert Orchestra,  He has had a fruitful collaboration with the award-winning chamber choir Tenebrae with whom he has made the two highly acclaimed albums The Call of Wisdom and Lux et Veritas; the latter was voted one of the top 20 albums of 2014 by Classic FM.

Will Todd also has an impressive list of theatre works including The Screams of Kitty Genovese, produced most recently by Tête à Tête Opera in London and Edinburgh, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for Opera Holland Park, Migrations for Welsh National Opera and The Blackened Man, a prizewinner in the International Verdi Opera Competition.

He has been honoured to work with a wide range of choirs in Europe, the US and worldwide. He strongly believes in music making for all, and his personal motto when directing choirs is ‘find the passion’. Outside music his interests include supporting the environmental movement in any way he can, and he is planning to phase out his use of flying during the next few years. He lives with his family near London.

Will frequently performs as a jazz pianist, leading the Will Todd Ensemble, and is in high demand as a workshop leader and conductor of his own music. His music is published by Oxford University Press, Boosey and Hawkes and Tyalgum Press.

  • Hertfordshire Chorus continue to build on their reputation for commissioning and performing some of the very best in contemporary choral music. In their first recording with Signum they are joined by the BBC Concert Orchestra for a 2CD set featuring James McCarthy’s Codebreaker (an exploration of the life of the pioneering computer scientist and mathematician Alan Turing) and Will Todd’s Ode to a Nightingale (setting the famous poem by John Keats). The BBC Concert Orchestra offer superb support to both composers and the engineering is up to Signum’s customary excellence. This important release should be in every keen choral singer’s Christmas stockingGramophone Splendidly recorded and performed… I give a thorough recommendation to this issueMusic Web International For me, this is undoubtedly the choral album of the yearThe High Arts
  • English composer Will Todd is well known for his beautiful and exciting music. His work encompasses choral works large and small, opera, musical theatre and orchestral pieces, as well as jazz compositions and chamber works. His anthem, The Call of Wisdom, was performed at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations with a TV audience of 45 million people. His breakthrough work, Mass in Blue (originally titled Jazz Mass), has been performed hundreds of times all over the world. His arrangement of Amazing Grace was performed at President Obama’s Inauguration Day prayer service in 2013 and as part of the BBC’s Nelson Mandela Thanksgiving Service. This CD celebrates the work of the Bach Choir’s amazing outreach project with local schools, which culminated in 2016 with the new commission Lights, Stories, Noise, Dreams, Love and Noodles with words celebrated poet Michael Rosen. Other works on the disc include Will Todd’s vibrant settings of Shakespeare for choir and orchestra Songs of Magical Creatures, and a work in memory of Mark Blanco Kites, Cards and Constellations.   All downloads include booklets.
  • Will Todd is one of the UKs most popular and performed modern choral composers. His output includes works for choir, stage works, and orchestral works, and his music has been featured on BBC Radio 2, 3 and 4 and Classic FM, and performed all over the UK, Europe and the USA. On this disc, Nigel Short conducts superlative performances of his works by his BBC Music Magazine Award-winning choir Tenebrae and the English Chamber Orchestra. This compilation of his works includes the premiere recording of a new comission 'The Call of Wisdom', which on June 5th 2012 will be presented on the occasion of a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral for the Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II. [A] disc of miniature but perfectly formed musical marvelsGramophone
  • 11-year-old Alice lives in the not terribly exciting town of Grimthorpe. On a boring Wednesday in the summer holidays Alice’s family, wandering around town, gets caught in a downpour. They rush into the nearest shelter, which turns out to be a pet shop – much to Alice’s parents’ delight. Alice is lost in a daydream of exotic holidays... Suddenly she is jolted out of her reverie by one of the animals – a white rabbit – who starts talking to her... Opera Holland Park’s production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a family opera by composer Will Todd and librettist Maggie Gottlieb, comes to CD for the first time after two critically praised runs in 2013 and 2014.
    The cast sing with impeccable diction, the players never drowning out the voicesArts Desk The cast, headed by Fflur Wun as Alice, and orchestra, conducted by Matthew Waldren, put on a good show - Gramophone Will Todd's Lewis Carroll-inspired opera has proved a huge success both on stage and on disc - BBC Music Magazine The recorded sound is excellent...a release of many pleasures - Opera Magazine
  • Lux et Veritas (Light and Truth) is the new album from Will Todd with the professional chamber choir Tenebrae. Todd’s music has a universal appeal and he has been hailed as “one of the UK’s most sought-after, versatile composers” (Tempo Magazine). For this collection of sumptuous new choral works Tenebrae are accompanied by the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by the choir’s director Nigel Short. This new release follows Will Todd’s last choral album The Call of Wisdom, featuring music commissioned for HRH The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee service in St Paul’s Cathedral in 2012. Throughout, the excellent Tenebrae under Nigel Short's sensitive direction deliver the sequence of 14 short pieces with commitment and great beauty of tone - Choir & Organ One of this year's finest releases - Classic FM Don't miss this movingly accessible and genuinely sensitive choral collection - MusicWeb International Sumptuous, soothing and reflective music for all occasions - Northern Echo
  • Mass in Blue, performed by ‘one of the most accomplished small choral groups of our time’ (Gramophone), is a brilliant blend of driving jazz grooves and clear, strong, choral writing against which the solo piano and solo soprano voice weave and blend in a delightful aural tapestry. Leading young composer Will Todd performs a unique fusion of sacred choral music and jazz in his Mass in Blue. This central work is complemented by beautiful musical settings of religious texts, infused with a highly individual and melodic style, bringing the composer’s lifelong love of traditional choral music into the 21st century with spiritual sensitivity and a contemporary edge. The performances are excellent, as is the recording - Musical Opinion  The Vasari Singers deliver the irregular rhythms with great punch ... Will Todd’s music receives the strongest possible advocacy on this CD - MusicWeb International  
  • Will Todd has established himself as one of the UK’s most popular choral composers. His anthem, The Call of Wisdom, was performed at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations with a TV audience of 45 million people. His breakthrough work, Mass in Blue, has been performed hundreds of times all over the world. Passion Music was commissioned for the choirs of St Martin-in-the-Fields and continues the fusion of jazz and choral music so successfully blended in Mass in Blue. The structure highlights different points in the Passion story, beginning with a new setting of ‘Greater love has no man’ and including an evocative Stabat Mater, a movement focusing on the seven last words of Christ, and a setting of ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’. The Jazz Missa Brevis gives new life to the sung Latin Mass texts in an accessible, short setting which embraces a variety of jazz styles, from the swinging jazz waltz Kyrie to the up-beat Latin-groove Gloria. The smooth jazz ballad Sanctus, 7/8 Benedictus and soulful Agnus Dei complete this inspiring Mass setting.
    Shaneeka Simon would sound just as confident singing Broadway material and the St. Martins Voices [perform] with what can only be described as relaxed reverence - Choir & Organ Sensitively, often rapturously written and immaculately performed - BBC Music Magazine A stimulating release, beautifully recorded and produced - Gramophone There is a great deal to admire in this release from an important and gifted British choral composer - Church Times A must for devotees - The Northern Echo