Musical Director

Nigel Wilkinson

Born locally, Nigel was educated at Nelson Grammar School, Manchester University and the RNCM, where he studied for 3 years with the legendary vocal coach Paddy McGuigan.

Until his retirement he pursued a long and fulfilling career in music education whilst simultaneously holding a number of prominent musical posts. These included Music Director of the Burnley and Dist. G & S Society for 19 years, Director of the East Lancs Youth Orchestra for almost a decade, and conductor of the Nelson Civic Ladies Choir. 

Most notably in the spring of 2019 he completed 21 years as Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Oldham Choral Society – one of the leading choirs in the region. 
For many years he ran a very successful 3 part girls’ choir at St Hilda’s RC High School, that won many awards including the BBC Christmas Carol Competition, and toured Europe on several occasions performing in some prestigious locations including the “Alhambra” at Granada, Montserrat Basilica and Barcelona Cathedral. 

He led the Youth Orchestra to the final 5 of the Sainsbury’s Youth Orchestra Competition, and conducted them in a concert at La Madeleine in Paris, in Venice and Slovenia. 
He has led many choral workshops over the years, including the Verdi Requiem in Buxton and Chester Cathedral, Elijah and the Mozart Requiem in Chester Cathedral, and Poulenc and Vivaldi “Glorias” in Preston Minster.

His extensive repertoire ranges from the Bach St Matthew Passion and Handel’s Messiah, through the great classical works of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, to large-scale performances of the big Romantic works, such as Elijah, the Brahms German Requiem, the Verdi Requiem, and Elgar works. 

Twentieth century repertoire includes Duruflé, Fauré, Poulenc, Vaughan-Williams, Britten, Bernstein, Orff, Weill, Karl Jenkins, Howard Goodall, Dan Forrest and John Rutter. 
In lighter music he has conducted theatre works ranging from Jacques Offenbach, Johann Strauss and Ivor Novello, to My Fair Lady, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Barnum.
He has a long association with the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, and has long been acknowledged as one of the leading exponents of this genre.

During his years as Director of Music the choir has developed significantly, with numbers increasing significantly in all parts, and standards improving. He has also been instrumental in helping to bring top international soloists to sing with the choir, the quality of which have not generally been heard in Burnley for several decades.

He founded the East Lancs Sinfonia over 20 years ago, to accompany choral concerts and similar events, and they have joined us on many occasions.
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