Darius Battiwalla has been our music director since 1997. In addition to preparing us for concerts with visiting orchestras and conductors, he has conducted the chorus in performances of Britten’s St Nicholas, Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony, Poulenc’s Gloria and Fauré’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah (directing from the harpsichord), and Bach’s St.John Passion with the Northern Sinfonia. In 2004-05, he conducted the chorus in two performances of Rachmaninov’s unaccompanied Vespers, in Sheffield and in Lincoln, as well as a performance of Duruflé’s Requiem in Sheffield with the Manchester Camerata.
Before taking up the appointment in Sheffield, he was chorus master for Leeds Philharmonic Chorus. He has also worked with other choirs including Huddersfield Choral Society, the City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus, and the Netherlands Radio Choir, whom he helped to prepare for the premiere of Stockhausen’s Engel-Prozession. He is also a conductor and organist for the BBC Daily Service.
As an organist, he has given recitals at cathedrals and concert halls including Leeds Town Hall, Westminster Abbey, York Minster and Bath Abbey. Recent highlights include a complete performance of Messiaen’sL’Ascension at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, and the Reubke sonatas for piano and organ at St Martin-in-the-Fields, and a recital from the St Magnus Festival broadcast on Radio 3. He gave the recital at Royal College of Organists’ presentation ceremony in 2000, and has given recitals and lectures for the Incorporated Association of Organists annual congress. In May 2004, he performed the solo part of Janacek’s Glagolitic Masswith the Hallé and Mark Elder.
He is a regular organist for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and has played on many of their recordings for Chandos Records. As a pianist, he gives regular chamber concerts with members of the Manchester orchestras, and Goldberg ensemble, including BBC broadcasts. On the harpsichord, he has played continuo with many UK orchestras, performed the Gorecki concerto and broadcast the Schnittke Concerto Grosso no 4 live with the BBC Philharmonic at the Schnittke festival at the Barbican.
As an arranger, Darius has had works performed by the CBSO and CBSO Chorus, Fodens Courtois brass band, broadcast on BBC Songs of Praise, and recorded by Doyen and Naxos. He also provided some of the arrangements and played the organ for Huddersfield Choral Society’s new Hymns Album. He improvises piano accompaniments for silent film shows.
Darius teaches organ, improvisation and continuo at the Royal Northern College of Music.