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Richard Egarr brings a joyful sense of adventure and a keen, inquiring mind to all his music-making—whether conducing, directing from the keyboard, giving recitals, playing chamber music, or indeed talking about music at every opportunity. After a successful career as Music Director of the Academy of Ancient Music for 14 years, where he succeeded founding director Christopher Hogwood, he joins Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale as Music Director. Richard also holds responsibilities as Principal Guest Conductor of Residentie Orkest The Hague and Artistic Partner at The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in Minnesota, after having served as Associate Artist with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. As a conductor, Richard straddles the worlds of historically-informed and modern symphonic performance, making him an ideal fit for PBO’s parallel commitments to early and new music. Richard is already well-known to the musicians and patrons of PBO, having guest conducted the orchestra four times since 2012 in both regular season offerings and the PBO SESSIONS series. In addition to his conducting genius, he is a brilliant harpsichordist and is equally skilled on the organ and fortepiano.

Richard is a beloved teacher and has been on the faculty of The Juilliard School for eight years in their Historical Performance division, has conducted major symphonic orchestras such as London Symphony Orchestra, Lincoln Center Festival Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, and The Philadelphia Orchestra, and regularly gives solo harpsichord recitals at The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the Smithsonian, and elsewhere.

Born in Lincoln, England, Richard trained as a choirboy at York Minster, was organ scholar at Clare College Cambridge, and later studied with Gustav and Marie Leonhardt in Amsterdam, where he makes his home.

About Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale

Under the musical direction of Richard Egarr in his inaugural season as Music Director, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale is recognized as “America’s leading historically informed ensemble” (The New York Times). Using authentic instruments and stylistic conventions from early Baroque to late Romantic periods as well as commissioned new works, the orchestra engages audiences through its signature Bay Area series, national tours, recordings, commissions, and education projects of the highest caliber. Founded 40 years ago by Laurette Goldberg and led by Nicholas McGegan for the past 35 years, the ensemble is the largest of its kind in the United States.

PBO’s musicians are leaders in historical performance and serve on the faculties of The Juilliard School, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Harvard, and Stanford. PBO welcomes eminent guest artists including mezzo-sopranos Susan Graham and Anne Sofie von Otter, countertenors Anthony Roth Costanzo and Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, violoncellist Steven Isserlis, and maestros Jonathan Cohen and Jeannette Sorrell. PBO enjoys strong relationships with preeminent artistic collaborators including Mark Morris Dance Group, The Juilliard School, and the American Modern Opera Company (AMOC). In collaboration with Cal Performances in 2017, PBO produced its first fully-staged opera, Rameau’s Le Temple de la Gloire, and since then have produced fully-staged productions of Handel’s Aci, Galatea e Polifemo with stage director Christopher Alden and Leclair’s Scylla et Glaucus with Centre de musique baroque de Versailles. 

Among the most recorded orchestras in the world, PBO boasts a discography of nearly 50 recordings, including a coveted archival performance of mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Liberson in Berlioz’s Les Nuits D’été, and a GRAMMY®-nominated recording of Haydn symphonies. The orchestra released the world premiere recording of the original version of Rameau’s Le Temple de la Gloire with the unedited libretto by Voltaire in 2018. In April 2020, PBO will release two groundbreaking recordings: a full collection of commissioned works by Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw, and a selection of arias sung by rising star contralto Avery Amereau. 

Under the superb direction of Bruce Lamott, the award-winning Philharmonia Chorale is critically acclaimed for its brilliant sound, robust energy, and sensitive delivery of the text. Formed in 1995, the Chorale provides a vocal complement whose fluency in the stylistic language of the baroque period matched that of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. Founded by John Butt, a baroque keyboardist and one of the world’s leading Bach scholars, the Chorale has been led by Lamott since 1997. 

Lamott also serves as Philharmonia’s Scholar-in-Residence. He first performed with the Orchestra in 1989 as continuo harpsichordist for Handel’s Giustino. Bruce played a leading role in the organization’s many educational programs for youth and adults. In addition to his lively pre-concert talks, Bruce writes PBO’s program notes and blogs, and gives lectures and demonstrations to groups throughout the Bay Area and beyond.

Playing with lucid and liquid technique, interpretive verve, and rhythmic acuity, the soloist/conductor steered the way with authority and allure…Egarr can make the harpsichord sing sweetly and growl, fret, muse, and even thunder a little. PBO audiences are getting a keyboard master in their new music director.—Steven Winn, San Francisco Classical Voice

[Richard] brings a lively spontaneity to his execution… delivering one of the liveliest (caffeinated?) accounts of this well-known score that could be imagined.—Stephen Smoliar, The Rehearsal Studio

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