Rory Johnston

Rory Wainwright Johnston is a conductor and composer from Bradford-on-Avon, near Bath. 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). 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. In September 2018 was the musical director for Manchester Contemporary Youth Opera, working with University of Manchester and RNCM students, and 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, Quatour Danel, Skipton Camerata, Kantos Chamber Choir, Chester Bach Singers, Ad Solem, and echo. For more information please visit

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