Richard Bissill studied horn and piano at the Royal Academy of Music, joining the London Symphony Orchestra at age 22. He has been Principal Horn of the London Philharmonic Orchestra since 1985 and Professor of Horn at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama since 1983. As a freelance session player he can be heard playing on numerous film tracks including Return of the Jedi, Chicken Run, Gladiator, The Mummy, Shrek, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. He has performed Britten’s Serenade and Mozart’s 4th Horn Concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, and the concertos of Haydn, Teleman, Mozart and Strauss at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Barbican. Solo recordings include Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos 1 and 2 with the Consort of London for Collins Classics, Frank Martin’s Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments for Chandos and Balfe’s Cantata Sempre Pensoso e Torbido for Opera Rara.
Since its 1986 commission by the London Philharmonic Orchestra Christmas Carnival has established itself as something of a Christmas classic, receiving countless performances – it went on to win the first Peter Knight Award, sponsored by the Musicians’ Union and Yorkshire TV and has since been recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. This award led to a string of commissions from the BBC Concert Orchestra including East Angliana in 1988, premiered at the Norwich Festival. As a member of London Brass since 1990 he has taken part in some of the world’s major music festivals and has taught and given master-classes in Europe and the USA. Many of his virtuoso arrangements for the 10-man ensemble have been recorded for Teldec. A London Brass CD Surprise featuring four of his arrangements was released in 2005.
In 1990 The British Horn Society commissioned Three Portraits for horn octet to celebrate its 10th anniversary and followed this up with a further commission in 2001 of Time and Space for two horns and piano. Lone Call and Charge was commissioned in 1994 as a test piece for The Charles Leggett Award, and has since become firmly established in the horn repertoire and has been performed on BBC TV’s Young Musician of the Year. The Ulster Youth Orchestra commissioned Timeslip for large orchestral wind section in 1995. Richard was chief arranger on the hugely successful 2001 London Horn Sound CD, voted the best French horn CD ever by the International Horn Society.
The LPO has commissioned several compositions including Grand Opening, Philharmonic Fanfare and, most recently, Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra, premiered in 2003 by the London Philharmonic Orchestra in the Royal Festival Hall with Philip Fowke as soloist. The London Symphony Orchestra commissioned a new Sinfonia Concertante for its centenary that was premiered in September 2004 at the Barbican under Sir Colin Davis and recorded for LSO Live. Richard has also written music for television, including Channel 5’s One to Win, music for BBCTV Sport, and The Open Century and The Oranje Goal documentaries for Trans World International. Richard was made a fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in 2005.