Producer, Orchestrator, Conductor
Richard Balcombe is firmly established as one of the most versatile musicians of his generation.
In opera he has conducted The Gondoliers (English National Opera), Barber of Seville (Ulster Orchestra), Magic Flute and Offenbach’s Bluebeard (English Chamber Orchestra), Rigoletto (English Touring Opera), Madama Butterfly (Central Festival Opera), Falstaff, Tosca, Cosi fan Tutte, The Marriage of Figaro (London Opera Players), Die Fledermaus, The Merry Widow, Iolanthe and Pirates of Penzance (Carl Rosa) and HMS Pinafore & The Mikado (D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in the UK and America). He has also conducted for Bryn Terfel, Jose Carreras and Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorgiu on BBC TV.
He has been privileged to work with some of the world’s leading orchestras including Gothenburg Symphony, Orchestre National de Lille, Odense Symphony, Stavanger Symphony, Estonian National Symphony, Stockholm Sinfonietta, Sonderjyllands Symphony, Prague Chamber Orchestra, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Orquesta Sinfonica Gran Mariscal (Venezuela); and in the UK the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Phiharmonic, Royal Scottish National, City of Birmingham Symphony, English Chamber, Bournemouth Symphony, Hallé, Ulster, National Symphony, BBC Concert, BBC Philharmonic, Northern Chamber, London Concert and London Musicians Orchestras and the Orchestra of Scottish Opera. Since 2012, he conducted Proms in the Park in Hyde Park for the BBC.
In the West End he was Music Director for Phantom of the Opera, Aspects of Love, Carmen Jones, Cats, and Once On This Island . Elsewhere - Divorce Me, Darling, Out Of This World, The Gondoliers and How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Chichester), Babes in Arms (Cardiff International Festival), Follies in Concert (London Palladium), Guys and Dolls (Royal Philharmonic), Wonderful Town and South Pacific (Grange Park Opera), five national tours with Anton du Beke & Erin Boag; Musical Supervisor for Promises and Lies and Top Hat (World Premieres), and the national tour of Kiss me Kate.
Richard is also a prolific orchestrator and arranger providing orchestrations for most of the orchestras in the UK; for artists including Lesley Garrett, Willard White, Michael Ball, Sir Cliff Richard, Will Young and Ronan Keating and for projects including The Sound of Musicals (Barbican and UK tour), Sounds of Hollywood (Ruthie Henshall, UK tour), Fred Astaire: His Daughter’s Tribute (Palladium), Hollywood Symphonic (France), Can You Feel the Love Tonight?, The Magnificent Musicals and Something Wonderful (UK tours); Out of This World, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Babes in Arms and The Gondoliers (Chichester), Promises and Lies (Birmingham Rep) and The Merry Widow (Carl Rosa). He was Music Associate for BBC TV’s Maestro in 2008 and in 2009 he arranged, orchestrated and conducted the score for Adam Cooper’s Shall We Dance? (Sadlers Wells). He co-conceived, arranged and orchestrated What The World Needs Now...The Music of Burt Bacharach (premiered in 2012 by the Royal Philharmonic) and he has created reduced orchestral versions of 25 complete operas which are now used worldwide.
His recording credits include The Martyr of Antioch (Sullivan), With A Song In My Heart (Wynne Evans), Love Unspoken, The Musicality of Irving Berlin, Showstoppers From Broadway, three original cast albums, This Time It’s Personal (Michael Ball), The London Cello Sound, Fred Astaire: His Daughter’s Tribute, Brideshead Revisited and Merciless Beauty, the DVD Sometimes I Dream and What The World Needs Now...The Music of Burt Bacharach with the Royal Philharmonic.
Graham Bickley is a seasoned West End veteran and a consummate concert soloist.
Graham has performed with orchestras throughout the UK, Europe, Asia and South America including Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, London Symphony, London Concert, Manchester Concert, City of London Sinfonia, National Symphony, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Royal Scottish National, Hallé, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, RTÉ Concert, Gothenburg Symphony, Iceland Symphony, Sao Paulo Symphony and the Bergen Philharmonic.
He has appeared in concert performances of Leonard Bernstein’s Wonderful Town playing the role of The Wreck with The Rotterdam Philharmonic and Guys and Dolls, playing Nathan Detroit with The Vienna Konzerthaus, both conducted by Wayne Marshall. Graham has also appeared in concert arena productions of Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, as Pilate and Magaldi and Ragtime, as Tateh.
Graham regularly appears with the BBC Concert Orchestra. His concerts with them include Guys and Dolls, playing Nathan Detroit, On The Town, playing Chip, and a new musical version of Peter Pan by Stiles and Drewe, all at The Royal Festival Hall and recorded for broadcast for BBC Radio. Other live concert performances for BBC Radio include Bitter Sweet, Radio Rhapsody, and Big Band Special with the BBC Big Band, and many appearances as guest vocalist on BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night.
In 2000, Graham made his début at the BBC Promenade Concerts at The Royal Albert Hall, performing in Kurt Weill’s Street Scenes; a birthday tribute to Stephen Sondheim and then again in 2016, both with the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Other concert engagements have included; Christmas concerts and Rodgers and Hammerstein Galas for Raymond Gubbay, guest artist for a gala concert in Leeds with Lesley Garrett and the Opera North Orchestra, televised by BBC Wales, and with orchestrator Martin Koch, a concert to celebrate the work of Nelson Riddle, with The BBC Concert Orchestra and transmitted live on BBC Radio 2.
Other concert engagements included Good Thing Going, A Swell Party and Sing For Your Supper, all at Cadogan Hall, and all celebrations of the music of Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hart respectively with Maria Friedman and Daniel Evans, and a special guest for Barbara Cook’s 80th Birthday Concert at The London Coliseum; Barbara Cook and Friends.
His more recent concert engagements included a gala concert at The Theatre Royal Drury Lane in celebration of orchestrator William Brohn conducted by fellow Tony Award winning orchestrator Martin Koch, and Bernstein on Broadway with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Cadogan Hall and again with the Birmingham Symphony, at Symphony Hall, both conducted by Carl Davis,
In celebration of Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday, concerts with The Royal Philharmonic, with Maria Friedman and Daniel Evans, conductor David Firman, then with The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic with Mary Carewe, with conductor Carl Davis.
Noël & Cole in Love at the Merkin Concert Hall, New York.
More Bernstein on Broadway concerts in the UK conducted by David Charles Abell.
Both Les Misérables 10th & 25th Year Concerts at Royal Albert Hall and the O2 Arena
A decade of annual Best of Broadway concerts at The Royal Albert Hall, conducted by David Firman.
In theatre, Graham has performed in the West End for more than twenty-five years in productions including They’re Playing Our Song, Pirates of Penzance, and as principal lead in Jukebox, Which Witch, Maddie, The Pajama Game, (Dora Award ‘Best Actor’ nomination, Toronto), Les Misérables, Metropolis, Miss Saigon, Sunset Boulevard (playing opposite Petula Clark), and Ragtime, (Two nominations: the Laurence Olivier and the Whatsonstage Award for ‘Best Actor in a Musical’).
For BBC Television, Graham played the role of Joey Boswell in Carla Lane’s comedy series, Bread.
Graham toured the UK with Cole Porter’s High Society playing the role of CK Dexter Haven, culminating in a season at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London.
Regional productions include Sleuth, No Trams to Lime Street, (‘Best Actor’ nomination, Manchester), the UK première of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and the world premiere of Black Goes with Everything.
Eric’s at the Liverpool Everyman, directed by Jamie Lloyd, Great Expectations at Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, Liverpool Playhouse, directed by Tim Baker and the European premiere of Light in the Piazza at Leicester Curve directed by Paul Kerryson.
The Secret Garden, directed by Anna Linstrum at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh before transferring to the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto.
A UK tour of Steppin’ Out with Anton du Beke and Erin Boag produced by Raymond Gubbay.
For Grange Park Opera, Graham has completed two seasons: Billy Crocker in Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, and Robert Baker in Leonard Bernstein’s Wonderful Town.
Benjamin Stone in Stephen Sondheim’s Follies for Opera De Toulon, House of Mirrors and Hearts at The Arcola Theatre, London.
Most recently, Graham completed a UK tour of Jackie The Musical.
Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris at The National Theatre and It’s Better With a Band at The Donmar.
In 2014, Graham appeared in Maltby & Shire’s Closer Than Ever at Jermyn Street Theatre, directed by Richard Maltby Jnr and nominated for an ‘Offie’ (Off West End Theatre Awards) for Best Musical Production.
Alex in The Irrationality at the National Theatre Studio directed by Blanche McIntyre, and Father in Love Story directed by Rachel Kavanaugh.
Other work included a New York workshop of a new musical, Little Dancer, written by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens based on the artist Degas, directed by Susan Stroman.
“Graham Bickley is the best straight-arrow leading man in years”
Robert Cushman, Toronto National Post
“... is a powerful force on stage”
Mira Friedlander, Variety
“... has ease and physical grace and sings like a dream”
Richmond Edmonds, Birmingham Post