© 2018 Tonbridge Philharmonic Society Registered Charity 253972
Our Music Director
Matthew works with some of the world's finest musicians, orchestras and choirs, and has built a reputation for passionate performances through an inspiring, scholarly approach. He has conducted the State Symphony Orchestra Novaya Rossiya, the Hamburg Simfoniker, Opera Holland Park, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Musica Viva Moscow, the Orquestra Simfonica del Gran Teatre del Liceu, the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia, the Northern Chamber Orchestra and the Academia Orquestra de Gran Teatre del Liceu.
Being regularly invited to take part in international concert series including the Moscow Philharmonic Society, Matthew has collaborated with world class artists such as Joyce DiDonato, Scott Hendricks, Marlena Ernman, James Gilchrist, Christopher Purves, Peter Seiffert, Petra-Maria Schnitzer, James Rutherford, Grant Doyle, Helena Dix and Ben Johnson.
Matthew has been Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Sirius Chamber Orchestra and Choir, the Ayton Castle Music Festival, the Keele Bach Choir (he is now Conductor Emeritus) and the Epworth Choir. He has also held guest conductor and assistant positions across Europe including in Barcelona and Bayreuth with Maestro Sebastian Weigle. In 2014 he took up the position of Music Director with the Tonbridge Philharmonic Society and the multi-award winning Kew Wind Orchestra.
Since graduating from the Royal College of Music, London, Matthew has conducted over 250 concerts and tours with ensembles across Europe in a wide repertoire. He has always enjoyed working with inspiring amateur ensembles and having the pleasure of enabling these groups to excel beyond their own expectations. He has had particularly fruitful relationships with the Redhill Sinfonia, the London Lawyers' Symphony Orchestra, the Keele Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, the Ceramic City Choir, the North Staffordshire Symphony Orchestra and the Salomon Orchestra.
Matthew Willis has appeared at many leading concert venues including his debut at the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow in December 2014, the Laeiszhalle, Hamburg, the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Moscow, the Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican, and the Wigmore Hall, London and has been privileged to work and study with some of the world’s leading musicians including Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. He has gained international recognition through participation in major conducting competitions including the Donatella Flick International Conductors Competition (2008) and the Cadaques Orchestra European Conducting Competition (2006).
Recent highlights have included: a Gala Konzert with the State Symphony Orchestra Novaya Rossiya and Scott Hendricks, education projects and concerts with the Epworth Choir, a Royal performance of Haydn - The Creation at Guildford Cathedral, debut appearance at the Ryedale Festival (Tchaikovsky - Eugene Onegin), a Moscow Philharmonic Society concert with Malena Ernman, Berlioz - Grande messe des morts (Requiem) with Ben Johnson and his debut at the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow with Henriette Bonde-Hensen. Future engagements include performances with Tonbridge Philharmonic Society, appearances with the Kew Wind Orchestra and the Kent County Youth Orchestra. Matthew Willis is represented by Patrick Allen at Connaught Artists (www.connaughtartists.com).
Music Director Designate (from April 2019)
Mark is in demand as both a choral and orchestral conductor, as well as a pianist and singer. He has conducted orchestras and choirs across Europe and America including the Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra, St. Andrew's Chamber Orchestra, Wesleyan College Orchestra, Yale Philharmonia, Clare College Choir and Yale Schola Cantorum.
A passionate educator and scholar, Mark holds degrees in Musicology from Cambridge and Music Theory from Yale University where he studied as a Mellon Fellow and taught undergraduate courses in harmony, counterpoint, keyboard and aural. While in America he served as music director at Yale's historic Battell Chapel and the orchestra of Saybrook College. He continues to study at the Royal College of Music with Peter Stark and Howard Williams with the support of an HR Taylor Trust Award and Reintamm Conducting Award.
At the Royal College Mark conducts the RCM Philharmonic, premieres new works with the RCM New Ensemble, assists guest conductors including Bernard Haitink and Vladimir Jurowski. He is also an assistant chorusmaster for the English National Opera, and is preparing the singers for productions of works by Gilbert and Sullivan, Philip Glass and Verdi. Next year he will be conducting performances by the Farnborough Symphony Orchestra, the Sinfonia of Cambridge and the University of London Symphony Orchestra.
Image © Jon Whitmore