Richard Birchall, a member of the Philharmonia cello section since January 2011, is beginning to earn a reputation as both a performing cellist and as a composer and arranger. He has appeared as concerto soloist with the Guildford Symphony Orchestra, Croydon Symphony Orchestra, Nonesuch Orchestra, Sinfonia Tamesa, and others, in venues such as St. John’s Smith Square and West Road concert hall, Cambridge. He made his Purcell Room début in 2010 in a recital which included London premières of works by Edward Harper and Sally Beamish, and returned to the South Bank earlier this year to perform Pierre Boulez’s Messagequisse in the opening concert of the Park Lane Group New Year Series; his piece Mirrors for eight cellos – a PLG commission – was premièred in the same concert. Richard’s Psycho Suite, a transcription for the Tippett Quartet’s disc of chamber music by Bernard Herrmann, is now released on Signum Classics.
In November 2010 Richard gave the UK première of Samuel Zyman’s Suite for Two Cellos with the great Mexican cellist Carlos Prieto; other recent chamber work has included appearances at Wigmore Hall, the Barbican Hall, St. James’s Piccadilly and St Martin in the Fields, and a performance of Ravel’s Piano Trio with Clare Hammond and Philippe Graffin. He was solo cellist at Glyndebourne House in Julian Philips’s new chamber opera Ghosts, and further contemporary chamber projects include BBC Stockhausen and Murail celebrations from LSO St Luke’s, broadcast on Radio 3. Future engagements include a Beethoven Sonata cycle with pianist Clare Hammond.
In addition to his Philharmonia work Richard has appeared as guest Principal cello with the Irish Chamber Orchestra and the Northern Sinfonia; he also works regularly with the English Chamber Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and others, and directs London-based cello octet Cellophony.