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Richard Dawson

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About Richard

Professional Organist, Conductor and Teacher Director of Music at Barnard Castle School
Barnard Castle

Richard Dawson is the Director of Music at Barnard Castle School in County Durham. Prior to taking up this position, he was Deputy Director of Music & Head of Academic Music at Brighton College (England’s ‘School of the Decade’), Director of Music at St Paul’s Church, Brighton, Musical Director of the Esterhazy Chamber Choir and President of the Brighton and District Organists’ Association. Richard studied Music at the University of Oxford, where he was also the Organ Scholar of Keble College. During his time at Keble, Richard accompanied the choir for numerous tours and recordings (including Duruflé Requiem and Vierne Messe Solenelle) as well as for the College’s first live broadcast of Choral Evensong on BBC Radio 3. Richard has directed such choirs as the Keble College Chapel Choir, the Oxford University Student Chorus and The Henry Ley Singers, a chamber choir Richard founded in October 2012. With these groups, he has conducted in Ely Cathedral, the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, and for a professional CD recording on the Acclaim Label in 2014, which was reviewed as having “musical clarity ... to which many choirs should be aspiring” and that “Dawson's direction is brimming with a musical maturity rooted in a deep emotional connection with the music”. He has studied choral conducting with Paul Spicer, Edward Higginbottom and Ralph Allwood. As an organist, prizes awarded to Richard for his playing include the Michael Popkin Memorial Award for the highest marks in all organ classes at the Oxford Festival, and the Douglas May Prize for outstanding playing at the Oundle International Organ Festival. He has accompanied choral services in such venues as York Minster, Wells Cathedral and Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, and has recently accompanied the Brighton College Chapel Choir for an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. Richard has performed in a solo capacity at Birmingham Town Hall, Alexandra Palace, London, The Queens’ College, Oxford and Exeter College, Oxford. Richard is an Associate of the Royal College of Organists, and has studied the organ with Stephen Farr, Andrew Fletcher and Toby Barnard.

Performance details
I can perform outdoors
I have a car I can use to travel to gigs
I can perform with backing tracks
Encore awards
5th Encoreversary
Traditional church music, Christmas, Classical, Baroque, Classical crossover, Contemporary classical, Early music, Fanfare, Film / TV music, Medieval music, Musical theatre, Opera, Renaissance
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Event types:
Concert, Wedding, Funeral / Memorial service, Church service, Hotel / Restaurant event, Private event, Corporate event, Charity event, Recording session, Theatre / Show, Birthday party
See all event types
Other skills:
Fluent improviser, Fluent sight-reader, Instrumental teaching, Theory teaching, Musicologist, Animateur, Examiner, Repetiteur, Accompanist
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Song list

Wagner - Bridal March
Mendelssohn - Bridal Chorus
Widor - Toccata (Symphonie No. 5)
Bach - Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
Pachelbel - Canon in D
Purcell - Trumpet Tune
Handel - Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
Clarke - Trumpet Voluntary
Saint-Saens - The Swan
Charpentier - Trumpet Tune
Bach - Prelude and Fugue in G (BWV 541)
Bach - Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme
Vaughan Williams - Rhosymedre
Handel - Water Music
Schubert - Ave Maria
Bach/Gounod - Ave Maria
Elgar - Salut d'amour
Walton - Crown Imperial
Widor - Final (Symphonie No. 6)
Vierne - Final (Symphonie No. 1)
Elgar - Imperial March
Elgar - Pomp and Circumstance March No. 4
Bach - Trio Sonata No. 1
Thalben-Ball - Elegy
Bach - Gigue Fugue in G
Customer questions

What if my timings change after I've booked you?

I will always try to be flexible to help ensure your event runs as smoothly as possible. If timings change slightly in the run up to the event just let me know, and I'll see if I can make things work!

Can you provide an iPod/DJ service before and between your sets?

No, but I can suggest people that can!

How much time do you need to set up?

Usually, I will arrive around 45 minutes before your event to check the instrument and ensure everything is okay.

Can I pick the pieces you play from the set list?

Yes, certainly!

Do you bring all the equipment you need to perform?

Usually, the venue will have its own organ. We would confirm this during your consultation.

Can you learn specific pieces before the event?

Yes! I'd be happy to discuss this as part of your consultation.

What do your clients love most about your performances?

Friendly and easy correspondence | Stylish and musical playing | Supportive hymn-playing | Excellent Improvisations

Which venues have you performed at in the past?

Westminster Cathedral Notre Dame, Paris Wells Cathedral Symphony Hall, Birmingham Town Hall, Birmingham York Minster Chichester Cathedral Ely Cathedral

Which artists have you been most influenced by?

David Briggs, Olivier Latry

What is the most high profile gig you've performed?

Recital at Westminster Cathedral, Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris


Note: prices may vary based on travel distance. For an exact quote, click “Check availability”.

Standard Prices
Performance durationPrice
Short performance (up to 15 min)£50
Up to 1 hour£160
Up to 2 hours£240
Up to 3 hours£300
Wedding ceremony
This includes music before the service begins, music during the signing of the register, and music as guests leave, as well as playing for hymns during the service.


From customers:

James C, 5 years ago

Our organist [Richard] was simply outstanding – such subtlety in his accompanying the choir, and his Toccata, mind-blowing. He's an excellent player.

Ed S, 5 years ago

Deft and brilliant, that's @richardjdawson

Read all 3 reviews