Richard Marlow
July 26, 1939 -June 16, 2013
Artistic Director
Festival Co-Founder
Trinity College, Cambridge

A choirboy at Southwark Cathedral, Richard Marlow sang at the Coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. He went on to become Organ Scholar and later Research Fellow at Selwyn College, Cambridge. A student of Thurston Dart, he wrote a doctoral dissertation on the 17th-century virginalist Giles Farnaby. After teaching at the University of Southampton, he returned to Cambridge in 1968 succeeding Raymond Leppard as Fellow, Organist and Director of Music at Trinity College and Lecturer in the University Music Faculty.

In 1969 Dr. Marlow founded the Cambridge University Chamber Choir which quickly established an international reputation for its stylish performances. As director of the Chamber Choir, Richard Marlow worked with a number of leading composers, including Benjamin Britten, and his annual performances of the Bach passions with Peter Pears as Evangelist became renowned for their energy, insight and elegance. Following the admission of women undergraduates to Trinity College, Dr. Marlow founded the College’s mixed choir in 1982 and later relinquished his position with the University Chamber Choir. Between 1982 and 2006 under Richard Marlow's direction Trinity College Choir released over 30 records and CDs which met with critical acclaim. Classical Music magazine summed up the choir's contribution to the recording market thus: 'Richard Marlow has fashioned a marvellously responsive instrument from his mixed undergraduate choir... its repertoire is impressively wide and there is an intelligence and responsiveness which makes the transition from Parry to Schutz, Purcell to Walton, wholly congruous.'

Dr. Marlow was an editor, contributing articles and reviews to scholarly journals and books including The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and the Dictionary of National Biography. He held posts as a visiting professor at universities in Tokyo, New Zealand and the United States, as well as conducting, lecturing and giving harpsichord and organ recitals in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and both North and South America. During a four decade career at Cambridge, he taught and lectured thousands of music students, some of whom since achieved international reputations as conductors, singers, instrumentalists or musicologists. Following his 2006 retirement, he held a life fellowship and continued to teach at Trinity.

Adrian Corleonis, at allmusic.com, observed that “Richard Marlow was perhaps the most compelling inheritor of Thurston Dart’s knack for transforming important put potentially dry scholarship into ringing gold, as his many broadcast performances and recordings attest.” His loyal fans at Portland’s annual William Byrd Festival would be the first to attest to this Midas touch, anticipating his return each year with great enthusiasm and appreciation, but it is festival organizers and participants who will feel his loss most keenly. His integrity, scholarship, musicianship and dedication have been an inspiration, and his profound influence and friendship will never be forgotten.