Who we are

Rufus Frowde, Musical Director

Rufus read music at Oxford University (where he was Conductor of the Oxford University Philharmonia, Organ Scholar of Merton College and a tenor in Schola Cantorum. He performed his Finals Recital as a violinist). He subsequently became Organ Scholar of Worcester Cathedral. In 2003, Rufus took up his current post as Organist and Assistant Director of Music at the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace. He combined this with prize-winning postgraduate study in Choral Direction and Church Music at the Royal Academy of Music before embarking on a freelance career as a conductor, organist, accompanist and composer. He joined Vivamus in 2008.

He is a passionate educator and is heavily involved in the work of Hertfordshire Music Service as an orchestral conductor and animateur (most notably as Artistic and Musical Director of the Hertfordshire Schools’ Galas at the Royal Albert Hall) and with the Chorister Outreach Programme at St Albans Cathedral. He also delivers the music curriculum at Samuel Lucas Primary School, Hitchin.

Rufus appears as a conductor and organist on the Divine Art, Diversions, Resonus Classics and Signum Classics labels and has broadcast on national television and radio. Contemporary music features highly in Rufus’s diary and he has conducted and played for numerous premieres including works by Judith Weir, Richard Allain, Ben Parry, Anne Dudley, Graham Ross, Sasha Johnson Manning, Richard Sisson and Will Todd. He has given organ recitals at numerous UK cathedrals and at Westminster Abbey. He is also active as a composer. His carol ‘Adam lay bounden’ was given its premiere at the Annual Carol Service for the Royal Academy of Arts.

Richard Hills, Accompanist and Associate Director of Music

Richard Hills is widely acknowledged as one of the very few musicians to have bridged and mastered the divide between the classical and theatre organ worlds. Having studied with William Whitehead at Rochester Cathedral he went on in turn to the organ scholarships of Exeter College Oxford, Portsmouth Cathedral and Westminster Abbey where his teachers included Rosemary Field and David Sanger. He now combines a freelance solo career with continuo, choir-training and teaching work and is the Organist of St Mary’s, Bourne Street, a central-London church noted for its Anglo-Catholic Liturgy and fine musical tradition. In January 2022 he also took up the position of Director of Music and Organist of the West London Synagogue, and is only the fifth holder of that post since 1859.

Richard’s career in the theatre organ world has been equally prestigious. He has numerous prizes and awards to his credit, both in this country and in the USA, where he was named ‘Organist of the Year’ in 2010 by the American Theatre Organ Society. He has appeared many times as a soloist on national and international TV and Radio in programmes as diverse as BBC Radio 3’s ‘Choral Evensong’ and BBC Radio 2’s ‘Friday Night is Music Night’, and he made his solo debut at the BBC Proms in 2013. He returned again to the Proms as a soloist in 2015, and appeared with the BBC Scottish Symphony and John Wilson Orchestras during the 2019 Proms season. 2019 also saw a solo recital at London’s Royal Festival Hall, alongside concerts in the USA, Europe and Sweden. His many recording credits include, most recently, a disc of British music made on the magnificent dual-purpose Compton organ of Southampton’s Guildhall, which earned a five-star review in Choir and Organ magazine.

Richard is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and a strong supporter of the work of the UK’s Cinema Organ Society, to whom he serves as Musical Adviser.

Read Vivamus’ Q&A with Richard.