Conductor Richard Hickox Dies At 60

[This post was updated at 7pm EST to include information that was unavailable at the time of writing and also to correct errors in reporting]

The Australian reports that conductor Richard Hickox suffered a heart attack and died yesterday in a Cardiff hotel where he was

Over the past 37 years, he has held posts with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Northern Sinfonia as well as founding and conducting the City of London Sifonia and the period group Collegium Musicum 90.

His most recent post was Music Director of Opera Australia, an appointment that has not been without its opponents. Although his contract had been recently extended until 2012, some prominent Australian singers said publicly they felt the company was turning into a “McOpera” under his leadership.

In spite of this hostility, only last week Hickox told The Australian that he loved the company. Glowing reviews for Australian premieres of Prokofiev’s Love of Three Oranges and Dvorak’s Rusalka indicated that the music press greatly respected his work.

Know for his versatility, Hickox is credited on Arkiv with 292 recordings, making him one of the 15 most recorded conductors ever. His efforts resulted in 5 Grammy awards, the most recent of which was in 2006 for a disc devoted to Charles Villiers Stanford. 27 of his recording projects feature music by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Hickox was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Jubilee Honours List in 2002 in recognition of his position at the centre of British musical life.

Hickox is survived by his wife mezzo-soprano Pamela Helen Stephen and three children Tom, Adam and Abigail.

Further reports from The Guardian, The Australian, The Canberra Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Age, BBC, Bloomberg, Reuters, The Sydney Morning Herald, The New York Times, The Telegraph, Richard Morrison @ The Times, Jessica Duchen, Damian Thompson Tom Service, On An Overgrown Path and the Chandos Blog

Update 24/11Obituary from The Times | Opera Australia examines future plans

Here is Maestro Hickox discussing Vaughan Williams, Elgar and language,

and conducting the Richard Hickox Singers in the Benedictus from Vaughan Williams Mass in G minor


  1. Hairy_Canary

    Dear Miss Mussell

    I am a recent colleague of Richard’s and am just devastated by this news. We were to work together more in the new year, which was something I was looking forward to immensely, as he was a joy. I always learnt something either through working with him, talking with him, or even just listening to him talk to other people.

    I know you’ve got your facts from news reports doing the rounds at the moment, but I wonder if you would allow me the indulgence of a gentle correction? Richard is survived by three children. He has two young children with the lovely Pamela Helen Stephen, and a third older son (Tom) from a previous marriage. They were still very much a part of each others lives. I don’t know Tom, but I find myself being heartbroken on Tom’s behalf that he’s been neglected in reports, so I hope you’ll allow me to mention this.

  2. Miss Mussel

    Hello and thanks for stopping by. After doing some reading this evening, I discovered a few inaccuracies in my initial write-up. I was logging to correct them when I found your comment.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know. I would hate to have found out later that I had unwittingly neglected someone so important to Mr. Hickox.

    Your tribute echoes the sentiments of many others I’ve read. It sounds as though a rather large hole will be left in the musical community of two countries.

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