Lauded for his luminous projection, lyrical sensitivity, and brilliant coloratura, American-Canadian tenor Lawrence Wiliford is in high demand in concert, opera, and recital repertoire. Recent season highlights include a performance of Mozart’s Requiem with the Eugene Symphony, Mozart’s Coronation Mass with the Back Bay Chorale, Mozart’s Coronation Mass with Les Violons Du Roy, Zachary Wadsworth's When There is Peace with Chor Leoni Men’s Choir, Handel’s Messiah with the Phoenix Symphony, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and Bach’s St. John Passion at the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, and Bach’s St. John Passion with Luminous Voices.
Lawrence Wiliford’s concert engagements encompass the major symphony orchestras and early music groups in the US and Canada. His recent concert appearances include Handel’s Messiah with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, The National Symphony Orchestra (US), Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra; the St. Matthew Passion with the Calgary Philharmonic, Oregon Bach Festival, Orchestre Métropolitain, and Toronto Bach Consort; Mass in B-minor with Music of the Baroque, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Naciónal de Mexico, Oregon Bach Festival and Toronto Symphony Orchestra; the St. John Passion with the Orquesta Sinfónica Naciónal de Costa Rica; Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings with I Musici de Montréal and Niagara Symphony; Haydn’s Elijah with the Handel and Haydn Society, Colorado Symphony and Grand Philharmonic Choir; Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 at the Oregon Bach Festival; Mozart’s Requiem with the Indianapolis Symphony, Tafelmusik and the National Arts Centre Orchestra; Mozart’s Mass in C-Minor with the Jacksonville Symphony; Beethoven’s Mass in C-Major with the Houston Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra; Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Haydn’s “Lord Nelson” Mass with the National Arts Centre Orchestra; and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with the Houston Symphony.
Mr. Wiliford has collaborated with conductors such as Jane Glover, Matthew Halls, Grant Llewellyn, Nicholas McGegan, John Nelson, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Trevor Pinnock, Helmuth Rilling, Nathalie Stutzmann, and Pinchas Zukerman. His diverse opera credits include Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni, and Die Entführung aus dem Serail; Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Albert Herring and The Turn of the Screw; Lully’s Persée, and Rameau’s Pygmalion and La Guirlande. Mr. Wiliford has been involved in a number of world premiere performances featuring works by Benjamin Britten, Derek Holman, James Rolfe, John Greer, Marjan Mozetich, and Zachary Wadsworth among others.
Wiliford's recorded projects appear on several labels and include a GRAMMY nominated and JUNO award-winning recording of music by Vaughan Williams with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Peter Oundjian (Chandos); J.S. Bach’s Johannes-Passion under the direction of Alex Weimann (ATMA Classique); a program of late works for tenor and harp by Benjamin Britten (ATMA Classique), and sacred songs by Edmund Rubbra, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst (Stone Records). Wiliford is also a featured soloist on the 2020 JUNO nominated recording of Zachary Wadsworth’s oratorio When There is Peace by Chor Leoni Men’s Choir.
Mr. Wiliford holds a Bachelor of Music in Church Music from St. Olaf College and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Toronto. He studied at Tanglewood, the Internationale Bachakademie of Stuttgart, the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival, and the Britten-Pears Young Artist Program. He is a graduate of the Canadian Opera Company's Ensemble Studio and is a recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. In addition to his performing schedule, Mr. Wiliford is co-artistic director of the Canadian Art Song Project.
Born in Muskegon, Michigan, Mr. Wiliford became a member of the American Boychoir School in Princeton, New Jersey at the age of 10. While a student at St. Olaf College, he sang with the St. Olaf Choir, became a published choral arranger, and was one of the founding members of the male vocal chamber ensemble Cantus, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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Wiliford has become a matchless artist in his chosen repertoire.
Best of all was tenor Lawrence Wiliford: a lithe, clear, perfect-for-Handel voice; vivid response to each line of word and music; ornaments, timing and delivery ideally scaled and calibrated.
This was a voice that owed its origins as if to something supernatural.