On the right track

Ryan Wigglesworth
Ryan Wigglesworth

The son of a butcher from Wincobank, the young Ryan Wigglesworth had a talent which marked him out as a cut above the rest.

He loved music, in particular singing. Ryan was spotted as a talent at the age of six, singing his heart out at school assemblies and an audition at Sheffield Cathedral followed. “I was a boy from the wrong side of town, but the music became my world and I was very lucky that the Cathedral’s organist Graham Matthews took me under his wing,” said Wigglesworth, now 34.

“I was this strange little creature, who was obsessed with the music we were doing. I started writing my own pieces based on composers like Mendelssohn and this was the start of the journey.”

At 15 he was offered a place at Charterhouse School in Surrey- and his life changed. He studied at Oxford before lecturing at Cambridge.

Ryan’s development continued apace in both composing and conducting. Appointments have included Composer in Residence at the English National Orchestra and holding the Daniel R. Lewis Composer Fellowship with the Cleveland Orchestra.

As a conductor he is much sought after in repertoire ranging from the baroque to the present day. Wigglesworth will become the Halle Orchestra’s principal guest conductor next year.

“I’m lucky to do what I do at the level I do,” he says. “The orchestras I’m able to work with make the experiences incredibly fulfilling. It can be difficult to build a relationship with an orchestra, but I certainly have one with the Halle.

“They were the first orchestra I saw. It was at the Sheffield City Hall, conducted by Sir Charles Groves and I remember the programme - the Sorcerers Apprentice by Dukas, Beethoven’s 5th and Mozart’s 21st piano concerto.

“It was an incredibly meaningful night and to have a relationship with that orchestra is really wonderful. It has been a privilege listening to what they have been doing. “

“They obviously have a very special relationship with Sir Mark Elder and the wonderful thing about this orchestra is it seems to have a unique colour to its work. So often the colour of a work can get flattened but not with the Halle.”

The respect is mutual. John Summers, Hallé Chief Executive, said: “We are all very much looking forward to welcoming Ryan next year, and are delighted that such a considerable artist will become a part of the Hallé family. Ryan is a worthy successor to Markus Stenz, Principal Guest Conductor for the past six years, with whom the Hallé has enjoyed a warm and successful relationship.”

The programme for his appearance at the City Hall on October 25 includes the Mozart clarinet concerto and Sibelius 2nd symphony. The Mozart will be played Rotherham musician Lynsey Marsh. For tickets: City Hall box officew 0114 2789789.

A full version of this article appears in October edition of Profile magazine.