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. He 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). After his Bacholers, he continued his compositional studies in Manchester on the Masters Composition course for two years under the tutelage of Camden Reeves and Nina Whiteman graduating with a Distinction in 2018. From April 2020 to July 2022 Rory studied for a Masters in Conducting with Justin Doyle at the Hochschule für Musik 'Hanns Eisler' in Berlin, graduating with a 1.0.
Before moving to Berlin he worked with many choirs across the northwest, being Musical Director of Cantores Olicanae, Wigan Choral Society, The Brixi Singers, The Acapella Singers, and Manchester Renaissance Ensemble, he also worked as an Associate Conductor as part of the Halle's Choral Team. Rory is currently the conductor of consortium vocal berlin and works as a regular deputy conductor for choirs in the city, such as the Philharmonischer Chor Berlin, Berliner Vokalkreis among others. Since 2022, Rory has developed a professional relationship with RIAS Kammerchor, working as a deputy and assistant conductor for Justin Doyle, including on their last two New Years Concerts in the Berlin Philharmonie and their subsequent recordings (2022 – Handel, Judas Maccabeaus; 2023 – Bach, Magnificat in Eb). From 2024, Rory will begin a professional relationship with Groot Omroepkoor (Netherlands Radio Choir), assisting Benjamin Goodson for their ‘Living Room’ project in May.
Rory is in demand as a workshop leader with Early Music fora across the UK, and in July 2019 ran the Choral Workshop for the York Early Music Festival. In July 2022 he began a new relationship with Lacock Courses directing their Edinburgh Early Music Summer School, and has continued with courses in Gourdon, France (2023) and Ludlow, UK (2024).
As a composer, his music has been performed and broadcast by a variety of ensembles and artists from across the UK and Germany, including RIAS Kammerchor, ORA Singers, BCMG, Kantos Chamber Choir, ATLAS Vokalensemble and echo.
Rory is passionate about composition education and to that end has lead the ‘Young Composers Apprentice Scheme’ run by ORA Singers across the UK as part of their Young Composer Competition, in which 40 students receive eight sessions of lessons, information, and feedback about choral music, its history and how to write it.
Future performances include his piece 'A glimpse of the Light' for choir and orchestra which will receive its 3rd performance in March '24 with Huddersfield Choral Society and Manchester Camerata, followed by its 4th performance in April '24 with Stafford Choral Society and British Sinfonietta, and the premiere of ‘O’ by Kammerchor Vocantare in the Kammermusiksaal of the Berlin Philharmonie in March ’24.