At the time of his untimely death at the age of sixty in November 2008, Richard Hickox CBE, one of the most gifted and versatile British conductors of his generation, was Music Director of Opera Australia, having served as Principal Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales from 2000 until 2006 when he became Conductor Emeritus. He founded the City of London Sinfonia, of which he was Music Director, in 1971. He was also Associate Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, Conductor Emeritus of the Northern Sinfonia, and co-founder of Collegium Musicum 90.
He regularly conducted the major orchestras in the UK and appeared many times at the BBC Proms and at the Aldeburgh, Bath and Cheltenham festivals among others. With the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre he conducted a number of semi-staged operas, including Billy Budd, Hänsel und Gretel and Salome. With the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra he gave the first ever complete cycle of Vaughan Williams’s symphonies in London. In the course of an ongoing relationship with the Philharmonia Orchestra he conducted Elgar, Walton and Britten festivals at the South Bank and a semi-staged performance of Gloriana at the Aldeburgh Festival.
Apart from his activities at the Sydney Opera House, he enjoyed recent engagements with The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, English National Opera, Vienna State Opera and Washington Opera among others. He guest conducted such world-renowned orchestras as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and New York Philharmonic.
His phenomenal success in the recording studio resulted in more than 280 recordings, including most recently cycles of orchestral works by Sir Lennox and Michael Berkeley and Frank Bridge with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the symphonies by Vaughan Williams with the London Symphony Orchestra, and a series of operas by Britten with the City of London Sinfonia. He received a Grammy (for Peter Grimes) and five Gramophone Awards. Richard Hickox was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Jubilee Honours List in 2002, and was the recipient of many other awards, including two Music Awards of the Royal Philharmonic Society, the first ever Sir Charles Groves Award, the Evening Standard Opera Award, and the Award of the Association of British Orchestras.