Rufus Frowde 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, performing 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 postgraduate study in Choral Direction and Church Music at the Royal Academy of Music, being awarded prizes in both disciplines.
Rufus appears as a conductor and organist on the Divine Art, Diversions and Resonus Classics labels and has participated in workshops with the BBC Singers, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, the Royal Academy of Music Chamber Choir as well as conducting in the London Master Classes under Benjamin Zander. Current conducting appointments include North Herts & Stevenage Youth Orchestra, VIVAMUS (Chamber Choir), The Hardynge Choir and Dacorum Community Choir (founder), with whom he has conducted Jonathan Dove’s community opera Tobias and the Angel, supported by the BBC Performing Arts Fund. In 2019, Rufus was appointed Accompanist of Hertfordshire Chorus. Work as a guest conductor has recently included Hertfordshire Philharmonia and Hitchin Chamber Orchestra. He has also formed his own professional groups, PAEAN and The Christina Consort.
Rufus 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 2014, 2016, 2018 & 2020 Hertfordshire Galas at the Royal Albert Hall). He is an Animateur for the Chorister Outreach Program at St Alban’s Cathedral and was Musical Director of Surrey Youth Choir from 2005 – 2019. He has recently taken on the leadership of the music curriculum and co-curricular music provision at Samuel Lucas JMI School (Hitchin). He has also worked as a choral director for Goldsmiths, University of London, collaborated with the Yehudi Menuhin School on a number of choral projects, and worked as a chorus master for a production with Australian Touring Opera.
Recent performances include numerous UK cathedrals, Westminster Abbey, St Martin in the Fields, St John’s Smith Square (with Emma Johnson), the Spitalfields Festival, New Chamber Opera, La Madeleine (Paris), Kaunas Cathedral (Lithuania), St. Thomas’s (Leipzig), St. Paul’s Basilica (Rome), Cologne Cathedral, Haarlem Cathedral and Neresheim Abbey (Germany), as well as Dave Brubeck’s Cantata The Gates of Justice (European Premiere). He accompanied Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle in Rome under the direction of the late Sir David Willcocks. He has also accompanied a number of prominent musicians including the trumpeter Crispian Steele Perkins, Kiri Te Kanawa and José Carreras and played continuo on a UK tour with the acclaimed violinist Lara St John and the London Baroque Ensemble. Contemporary music also features highly in Rufus’s diary and he has conducted and played for numerous premieres including works by Judith Weir, Richard Allain, Ben Parry, Graham Ross, Sasha Johnson Manning, Richard Sisson and Will Todd. His own carol Adam lay bounden was premiered at the Annual Carol Service for the Royal Academy of Arts.
On the lighter side, Rufus is a deputy pianist in the Palm Court Ensemble at the Ritz Hotel, London and has played the organ for a number of celebrity weddings as well as for Royalty. He was a regular contributor to Classical Recordings Quarterly and has been awarded Her Majesty’s Diamond and Platinum Jubilee Medals.
Rufus has been Music Director of the Hardynge Choir since 2011.
Accompanist and Deputy Musical Director
Matthew Woodward grew up in St Albans and was a John Clough Music Bursary winner at St Albans School. He studied the piano with Isabel Beyer and more recently with Karen Dore and went on to read Music at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College (now Royal Holloway University of London) graduating in 1995. After a brief spell in the catering industry, Matthew trained as a music teacher and, for a number of years, taught class music at a large secondary school in St Albans. He now teaches the piano privately in Biggleswade and St Albans.
He joined the instrumental staff at Heath Mount School, Watton-at-Stone in 2005, and is the school’s resident accompanist for concerts, examination candidates and choirs. Matthew acts in a similar capacity at St Albans School and also teaches the piano in the prep school at St Edmund’s College, Ware. In addition to his teaching, Matthew gives regular recitals as both a soloist and duettist.
Matthew has been the accompanist for The Hardynge Choir since 2005.