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 ranging from works by Monteverdi to contemporary composers. His performances during the 2015-2016 season include the Messiah with the Detroit and National Symphony Orchestras, Elijah with the Grand Philharmonic Choir, Mozart’s Mass in C-Minor with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and a return to Pacific Opera Victoria as Flute in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Lawrence Wiliford’s concert engagements encompass the major symphony orchestras and early music groups in the US and Canada. His recent concert appearances include Handel’s Messiah with the Rochester Philharmonic, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra; the Evangelist in the St. Matthew Passion with the Calgary Philharmonic, Orchestre Métropolitain, and Toronto Bach Consort; Mass in B-minor with Music of the Baroque, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Naciónal de Mexico, Oregon Bach Festival and Toronto Symphony Orchestra; the Evangelist in the St. John Passion with the Orquesta Sinfónica Naciónal de Costa Rica; Mozart’s Requiem with Tafelmusik and the National Arts Centre Orchestra; Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings with I Musici de Montréal and Niagara Symphony; Haydn’s Elijah with the Handel and Haydn Society and Colorado Symphony; Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 at the Oregon Bach Festival; Mozart’s Requiem with the Indianapolis Symphony, Tafelmusik and the National Arts Centre Orchestra; Beethoven’s Mass in C-Major with the Houston Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra; Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the National Arts Centre Orchestra; and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with the Houston Symphony.
Operatic highlights from recent seasons include making his Canadian Opera Company leading role debut in Mozart's Così Fan Tutte as Ferrando on five hours' notice. 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 also 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 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 Boston Baroque in the title role of Rameau's Pygmalion and Myrtil in Rameau’s La Guirlande.
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 projects on the ATMA Classique, Centrediscs and NAXOS labels, such as the St. John Passion with Les Voix Baroques and the Arion Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Alex Weimann; Ash Roses, songs by Canadian composer Derek Holman; and his debut solo recording Divine Musick: The Late Works for Tenor and Harp by Benjamin Britten.
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 Britten-Pears 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.