Our Conductors

Michael Lloyd

Michael Lloyd

Michael Lloyd studied music at the University of East Anglia and at the Royal College of Music, London. He joined Scottish Ballet as company pianist in 1972 and there began his conducting career. In 1976 he moved to Kassel in Germany, where he conducted both opera and ballet, and then to Stuttgart, where he continued to conduct opera. At the same time he worked as Associate Chorus Master for three choruses, including the South German Radio Chorus. He also performed as a continuo player with the Ludwigsburg Festival Orchestra, including a Far East tour, and a recording of Judas Maccabeus with Peter Schreier. In 1985 he joined English National Opera, making his conducting debut in 1986 with Madam Butterfly. He conducted an extensive repertoire for the Company, including new productions of Donizetti’s Elixir of Love and Verdi’s Nabucco, the European première of Philip Glass’s The Making of the Representative for Planet 8 and Britten’s Turn of the Screw on ENO’s highly successful tour of the USSR in 1990. In 1989 he was appointed Assistant Music Director, and in 1998 Senior Resident Conductor.

Michael subsequently left English National Opera as in the meantime his conducting career had taken him to New Zealand, Singapore, Macao, Norway and Australia. In the UK he has conducted for Welsh National Opera, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra, English Touring Opera, British Youth Opera, Opera Holland Park and English National Ballet. He was also music director for some twenty months for Lord Lloyd-Webber’s production of The Sound of Music in the London Palladium. More recently he has been Principal Guest Conductor at the Magdeburg Opera House, Germany, where he has conducted opera, operetta, ballet and symphony concerts. Every year in Magdeburg, on January 16, Beethoven’s Choral Symphony is performed in memory of the night in 1945 when the city was almost completely destroyed by allied bombers. Michael was asked to conduct the performance in 2011 and he was the first ever British or American conductor to do so.  Michael teaches regularly at the opera schools of the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.  Michael is Musical Director of the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chandos Symphony Orchestra, Malvern, two of the country’s leading nonprofessional orchestras.

Richard Laing

Richard Laing is Principal Guest Conductor of Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra and Hallam Sinfonia, Associate Conductor of Chandos Symphony Orchestra, and Music Director of Nottingham Harmonic Choir, Leamington Chamber Orchestra, Bach Camerata, Leicester Bach Choir and Somerset Chamber Choir. He began his career as Sinfonia ViVA Conducting Scholar at Birmingham Conservatoire, where after nine months of study he was awarded his Masters Degree, a Postgraduate Diploma, and the Postgraduate Prize for the most outstanding contribution to the musical life of the college. Shortly thereafter he was appointed to the post of Associate Conductor with the virtuoso young ensemble Sinfonia Cymru.

Recent and forthcoming engagements include Britten’s War Requiem at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham, Bach’s St John Passion in Wells Cathedral with James Gilchrist, his debuts conducting the Orchestra of the Swan and the Bardi Orchestra, playing as guest leader for Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance of Das Rheingold at Symphony Hall, and working as an external examiner at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

As a Chorus Master Richard frequently undertakes choral preparation, off-stage conducting and pre-concert talks for Britain’s top orchestras. For the Hallé he has prepared Belshazzar’s Feast, Alexander Nevsky and Poulenc’s Gloria as well as The Music Makers and The Planets for Sir Mark Elder. For the BBC Symphony Orchestra he has prepared Carmina Burana. When not on the podium Richard can be found playing the violin with various orchestras in London and the Midlands and as a core player with the Orchestra of the Swan.

In his limited spare time Richard writes on a wide range of subjects. While still an undergraduate, his work on John F. Kennedy’s policy in Vietnam won him the Kaiser Award for American History. He has presented papers on subjects as diverse as apocalyptic cinema, M.C. Escher and reality TV at the International Conferences on Film and Literature at Florida State University, and on Wagner’s Ring cycle at the International Wagner Symposium at the University of Adelaide; his work is published in journals from Wagner News to White Dwarf.


Michael Seal

Michael Seal

In March 2011, Michael Seal was appointed Associate Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The appointment recognised his work as Assistant Conductor, the first in the CBSO’s history, and the special relationship he has built with the Orchestra. His career has since gone from strength to strength, conducting orchestras in the UK and internationally.

Michael has conducted the CBSO in many prestigious concerts, appearing with them at the Aldeburgh and Malvern Festivals, London, Manchester and also conducting them on their inaugural tour to Abu Dhabi in 2014. He has given World and UK premieres of music by Richard Causton, Jonathan Girling and Bent Sorensen with the CBSO. Michael appears annually in the CBSO main season at Symphony Hall, Birmingham and has also stood in at very late notice for Sakari Oramo, Richard Hickox, Ilan Volkov, Vasilly Sinaisky and Andris Nelsons, including conducting the CBSO in concerts in Dortmund, Heidelberg and Baden-Baden with Rudolf Buchbinder and Jonas Kaufmann, to much critical acclaim.

Michael works regularly as guest conductor with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, in both recordings and concerts on BBC Radio 3. He is a frequent guest with the BBC Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Ulster orchestras, and has also worked with BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Internationally, he has conducted the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, KBS Symphony Orchestra, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Odense Symphony Orchestra, Joensuu City Orchestra, Orquestra Academia del Instituto Superior de Arte del Teatro Colon, Orquestra Filarmonica de Buenos Aires and both RTE Concert and National Symphony Orchestras.

Michael has special bond with the CBSO Youth Orchestra, conducting them on numerous occasions, and being involved with them since their foundation. He is also Artistic Advisor and Conductor for the CBSOYO Academy, a chamber orchestra formed in 2007, and conducted them in Birmingham and the Three Choirs Festival. His love of working with young players also regularly sees him conducting regularly at the Royal College of Music and Birmingham Conservatoire.

In 2013, Michael conducted critically acclaimed performances of Puccini’s Il Trittico at the Birmingham Conservatoire. He has also assisted both Sakari Oramo and Andris Nelsons in opera performances of Peter Grimes, Carmen, Der Rosenkavalier, Lohengrin, Tristan & Isolde and The Flying Dutchman.

2015-16 sees him conduct two Subscription Concerts with the CBSO, as well as concerts in Malvern, Nottingham and Abu Dhabi. There will also be return visits to the BBC Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic and London Philharmonic, as well as a debut with the BBC Concert Orchestra.


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