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Conor Biggs

Conor Biggs


Conor Biggs studied voice with Evelyn Dowling (Dublin) and John Cameron (Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester). He also studied piano with Mabel Swainson and organ with Prof. Gerard Gillen. In 1983, with the help of a German government scholarship, he continued his organ studies with Ludwig Doerr (Freiburg). In 1982 he graduated with a degree in musicology from Trinity College, Dublin.

Since 1992 Conor Biggs has lived in Belgium, where he is regularly in demand as a soloist in oratorio and recital. He has performed with groups such as The Fires of London, Het Nederlands Kamerkoor, The BBC Northern Singers, Opera Theatre Company, Transparant, Nua Nós, Ex Tempore, Christ Church Baroque, Ricercar, Walpurgis, Currende, Huelgas, The Flemish Radio Orchestra and Les Agrémens. Recent operatic performances include Il Commissario in “Madama Butterfly”, the Speaker in “The Magic Flute”, Vitellius in Massenet’s “Hérodiade”and Dr. Bartolo and Antonio in “The Marriage of Figaro.” Other opera rôles include Ben In Menotti’s “The Telephone”, Caronte in Monteverdi’s “Orfeo”, l’Ami in Milhaud’s “Le pauvre mâtelot” and several rôles in stage works by Peter Maxwell Davies, notably “Eight Songs for a Mad King”. He also took part in the 1995 Banff International Festival (Canada), where he sang the bass solos in Stravinsky’s “Les Noces”.

Conor Biggs has sung the standard oratorio repertoire in Ireland, Britain, France, Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium. He enjoys particular renown for his interpretation of art song. His performances of the art song, or Lieder, repertoire with pianist Pádhraic Ó Cuinneagáin in Ireland and Belgium have received great critical acclaim. . Conor Biggs’ repertoire of more than 300 songs includes song cycles by Schubert, Schumann, Beethoven, Mahler, Shostakovitch, Mussorgsky, Poulenc, Brahms, Copland, Milhaud, Ravel, Eliott Carter, Kevin O’Connell and James Wilson. In addition he has comissioned and given the first performances of cycles by Irish composers such as Kevin O’Connell, James Wilson, Martin O’Leary and Michael McGlynn. At the invitation of the Goethe Institute in Dublin he gave a series of recitals throughout Ireland commemorating Goethe Year 1999, together with actor Peter Jankowski. Recently he gave two performances of Schubert's Winterreise with Pádhraic Ó Cuinneagáin in Belgium. Concerned by what he sees as a failure on the part of artists to inform their audiences, he pioneered the “What Makes a Great Song” animated recital, in an attempt to bring the classical song repertoire to a wider public. In January 2008 he gave three such recitals – of German French and Russian song - in the National Concert Hall, Dublin, to critical acclaim.

Conor Biggs has made solo recordings for Sony, Eufoda, Vox Temporis and Ars Sonor. His CD of Tchaikovsky songs with accompanist Pádhraic Ó Cuinneagáin was released on the Heliopolis label in March 2005. He has also made solo broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, RTE radio and television, Dutch television and Belgian radio and television. He is a memeber of The Flemish Radio Choir and the Gregorian Chant ensemble Psallentes, whose first solo CD was released recently.

Recent engagements have included performances of Bach’s Johannes Passion and recitals in Ireland featuring works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff , Winterreise and a song-cycle by British composer Andrew Wise, commissioned by Conor Biggs. Recently he took part in the Walpurgis Music Theatre’s production of Stravinsky’s Les Noces in Charleroi.

In January 2008 Conor Biggs embarked on a series of ten illustrated recitals covering the history of art song for the Rosario Arts Centre in Bever, Belgium.