Lauded for his luminous projection, lyrical sensitivity, and brilliant coloratura, American-Canadian tenor Lawrence Wiliford is in high demand in concert, opera, and recital repertoire. 2018-19 season highlights include a performance of Mozart’s Coronation Mass with Les Violins Du Roy, performing a new work by Zachary Wadsworth with Chor Leoni Men’s Choir, Handel’s Messiah with the Phoenix Symphony, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and Bach’s St. John Passion at the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, and Bach’s St. John Passion with Luminnous Voices.
His performances during the 2017-18 season included Mozart’s Requiem with Hamilton Philharmonic and ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus, Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Handel’s Messiah with Phoenix Symphony, and Bach’s St John Passion with Grand Philharmonic Choir. Other recent engagements include Lawrence’s debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra performing Messiah under Nathalie Stutzmann. Mozart’s Requiem with the Milwaukee Symphony under Matthew Halls, Messiah with the Tucson Symphony and Naples Philharmonic, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with Luminous Voices in Calgary, Elgar’s The Apostles with the Pax Christi Chorale, and a return to the Aldeburgh Festival for performances as ‘Flute’ in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Other concert appearances of note include Handel’s Messiah with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony, Naples Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony, Toronto Symphony, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. He has sung the Evangelist in St. Matthew Passion with the Calgary Philharmonic, Orchestre Métropolitain, and Toronto Bach Consort; Mass in B-minor with the Louisiana Philharmonic, Music of the Baroque, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Naciónal de Mexico, Oregon Bach Festival, Toronto Symphony, and Vancouver Chamber Choir; the Evangelist in St. John Passion with the Orquesta Sinfónica Naciónal de Costa Rica; Mozart’s Requiem with the Indianapolis Symphony, Tafelmusik, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra; Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings with I Musici de Montréal; Elijah with the Colorado Symphony; Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 at the Oregon Bach Festival; Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the National Arts Center Orchestra; and Beethoven’s Mass in C-Major and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with the Houston Symphony.
Operatic highlights from recent seasons include making his Canadian Opera Company debut as Ferrando in Mozart's Così fan tutte on five hours' notice, to great acclaim. Also with the Canadian Opera Company he has appeared as Francis Flute in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Roy in James Rolfe's Swoon. He has performed with Toronto's Opera Atelier as Belmonte and Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Damon in Acis and Galatea, Mercure in Lully’s Persée, and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni; with Opera Lyra Ottawa as Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia; with Toronto Masque Theatre as the title role in Acis and Galatea; with Aldeburgh Music as Quint in Britten's The Turn of the Screw; with Vancouver Opera in the title role of Albert Herring; with Edmonton Opera as Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance and Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail; with Pacific Opera Victoria in the title role of Albert Herring and Leo in the Canadian premiere of Mark Blitzstein's Regina; and with MusicFest Vancouver and Boston Baroque in the title role of Rameau's Pygmalion.
Mr. Wiliford has collaborated with conductors Jane Glover, Matthew Halls, Nicholas McGegan, John Nelson, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Peter Oundjian, Trevor Pinnock, Helmuth Rilling, and Pinchas Zukerman. He has recorded St. John Passion with Les Voix Baroques and the Arion Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Alex Weimann, and his debut solo recording Divine Musick: The Late Works for Tenor and Harp by Benjamin Britten, on the ATMA Classique and NAXOS labels.
Mr. Wiliford holds a Bachelor of Music in church music from St. Olaf College and a Master of Music in vocal performance from the University of Toronto. He has studied at Tanglewood, the Internationale Bachakademie of Stuttgart, the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival, and the BrittenPears Young Artist Program. Mr. Wiliford is a graduate of the Canadian Opera Company's Ensemble Studio and is a recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. In addition to his performing schedule, Mr. Wiliford is co-artistic director of the Canadian Art Song Project.
Born in Muskegon, Michigan, Mr. Wiliford became a member of the American Boychoir School in Princeton, New Jersey at the age of 10. While a student at St. Olaf College, he sang with the St. Olaf Choir, became a published choral arranger, and was one of the founding members of the male vocal chamber ensemble Cantus, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.