A multiple prize-winning and critically acclaimed conductor and accompanist, William Vann is equally at home on the podium or at the piano. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the London English Song Festival and Director of Music at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
Born in Bedford, Vann was a chorister at King’s College, Cambridge, and a music scholar at Bedford School. He subsequently read law on a choral scholarship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he was taught the piano by Peter Uppard. He then studied piano accompaniment at the Royal Academy of Music with Malcolm Martineau and Colin Stone.
His many prizes for piano accompaniment include the Wigmore Song Competition Jean Meikle Prize for a Duo with Johnny Herford, the Gerald Moore award, the Royal Overseas League Accompanists’ Award, a Geoffrey Parsons Memorial Trust award, the Concordia-Serena Nevill Prize, the Association of English Singers and Speakers Accompanist Prize, the Great Elm Awards Accompanist Prize, the Sir Henry Richardson Scholarship and the Hodgson Fellowship in piano accompaniment at the Academy.
Vann has collaborated across the world with a vast array of singers and instrumentalists, including Sir Thomas Allen CBE, Mary Bevan, Allan Clayton, Thomas Gould, Guy Johnston, Jennifer Johnston, Jack Liebeck, Aoife Miskelly, Ann Murray DBE, Matthew Rose, Kathryn Rudge, Brindley Sherratt, Nicky Spence, Toby Spence, Henry Waddington, Roderick Williams, Benyounes and Navarra Quartets, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Academy of Ancient Music and London Mozart Players. His discography includes recordings with Albion, Champs Hill, Chandos, Delphian, Etcetera, Navona and SOMM.
He is an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, a Trustee of the Ralph Vaughan Williams Society, a Samling Artist, a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, Co-Chairman of Kensington and Chelsea Music Society, Artistic Director of Bedford Music Club, Guest Conductor of the English Chamber Choir and a regular conductor and vocal coach at the Dartington and Oxenfoord International Summer Schools.
Vann writes of his time at the Academy:
'My three years at the Academy deepened, enriched and fine-tuned my musical experience and instincts in a way that I hadn’t previously realised was possible. Two years studying with Malcolm Martineau and Colin Stone gave me technical grounding, a palette of colours and the bravery to trust my musical gut within the context of my new-found musical knowledge. I was then immensely lucky to have the chance to continue at the Academy as Hodgson Fellow, through which I made a wealth of contacts with some superb artists, many of whom I continue to work with to this day. I owe a huge amount to a wide array of tutors and professors who influenced and taught me during those years; to Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, who continues to offer support and advice many years after I left the building; to Malcolm for his continued guidance and inspiration and to my fellow students who have become valued friends and colleagues.'