Rory Wainwright Johnston is a conductor and composer from Bradford-on-Avon, near Bath. His musical education was fostered at Bath Abbey as head chorister and then tenor under the direction of Dr. Peter King, whilst also studying piano with world-renowned harpsichordist Sophie Yates with whom he worked towards his dipABRSM Piano Diploma. Under her tutelage, Rory twice participated in piano master classes with Joanna MacGregor.
Rory read Music at the University of Manchester, graduating in 2016 with a first-class honours degree, specialising in conducting and composition. During this time he studied piano with Richard Casey, and conducting with Mark Heron (RNCM) and Justin Doyle (RIAS Kammerchor). He continued his compositional studies there on the Masters Composition course for two years under the tutelage of Camden Reeves and Nina Whiteman graduating with a Distinction in November 2018.
Currently, Rory is the musical director of Cantores Olicanae, Wigan Choral Society and The Oratory at St Chad’s, as well as working as an associate conductor with the Hallé's Choral Team. He is also the founder and Musical Director of the Manchester Renaissance Ensemble. Previously, Rory has assisted Justin Doyle with RIAS Kammerchor's 2017 performance of Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610, and Matt Hamilton with the preparation of the Hallé Choir for the Hallé's performance of Schoenberg's Gurre-Lieder.
Rory finds immense pleasure in the creation of opera and to that end in September 2018 was the musical director for Manchester Contemporary Youth Opera, conducting a mixture of University of Manchester and RNCM students, alongside the Vonnegut Collective in the production of 5 newly-composed mini-operas. He was also the Young Artist Musical Director for Waterperry Opera Festival in 2019.
Rory is in demand as a workshop leader with Early Music fora across the country, and in July 2019 ran the Choral Workshop for the York Early Music Festival. He has a special affinity with early 17th century Portuguese polyphony by composers like Cardoso, D. Lobo, and Magalhães.
As a composer, his music has been performed and workshopped by a variety of ensembles from across the UK, including Psappha Ensemble, The Orchestra of Opera North, ORA Singers, Quatour Danel, Skipton Camerata, Kantos Chamber Choir, Chester Bach Singers, Ad Solem, and echo. He has also twice been performed as part of the biennial New Music North West festival both in 2015 and 2017, and part of his song-cycle, Nostalgia, was published by NewMusicShelf in 2018 as part of their Anthology of New Music for Tenors. In September 2019 he was chosen by Robert Hollingworth and Judith Weir as joint winner in echo's composition competition with his piece Summoning Dance, and in November of the same year he was chosen as one of 12 composers to be involved in ORA Singers' 'Christmas Gift' initiative with his piece Hush! My dear, lie still and slumber.