Playing

Darius is now in his third season as Leeds City Organist, programming the very successful Town Hall recital series and giving regular solo concerts.   Recent performances include the Saint-Saens “Organ” symphony with the CBSO,  and recitals at Durham Cathedral and the Grand Temple of Freemasons Hall in London, as well as the premiere of Cinema by Philip Wilby, composed for Darius to perform with the Black Dyke Band.  Later this year is a performance of Karl Jenkins’ organ concerto 600 pipes at the Bridgewater Hall, and a gala concert in the Great Hall of the Moscow conservatoire.

Darius has given organ recitals at cathedrals and concert halls throughout the country and abroad including Westminster Abbey, York Minster and Bath Abbey, and for the RCO and IAO. He has appeared as soloist with the Halle - most recently in a live broadcast of Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass  with Sir Mark Elder - and London Philharmonic Orchestras, and is a regular orchestral organist and pianist for the BBC Philharmonic and Halle orchestras.  As a pianist, he gives regular chamber concerts with members of the Manchester orchestras, and on the harpsichord he has played continuo with many UK orchestras, and performed and broadcast harpsichord concertos: most recently soloist in Frank Martin’s Harpsichord Concerto for the Northern Ballet Theatre.


Choral conducting


Darius has been music director of the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus since 1997. In addition to preparing them for visiting orchestras and conductors - including Mark Elder, Gianandrea Noseda, Nicholas Kraemer, and Paul Daniel  - he has conducted the choir in performances with the Halle, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Northern Sinfonia, and directed from the harpsichord with the Manchester Camerata.  Since he took over as music director, the choir has performed from memory for the first time, and has appeared at the Proms and on recordings for Chandos with the BBC Philharmonic including Elgar's Crown of India  with the BBCPO and Sir Andrew Davis for Chandos Records.  .

In 2006 he returned to work with the Melbourne Chorale, conducting Verdi's Requiem in the Hamer Hall.  Before taking up his post at Sheffield he was chorusmaster of Leeds Philharmonic Chorus.  He has worked regularly as guest chorusmaster or conductor with many other choirs including the Northern Sinfonia Chorus, Lucerne Festival Academy, Leeds Philharmonic Chorus, Huddersfield Choral Society, CBSO chorus and Netherlands Radio Choir, with whom he has specialised in contemporary music, having prepared them for works by Berio, Boulez, Ligeti, and the premiere of Stockhausen's Engel-Prozessionen.

Recent projects include working with the Lucerne Festival Academy in preparation for a performance of Berio’s Coro to be conducted by Simon Rattle, guest chorusmaster for the Northern Sinfonia for Paul McCreesh, and conducting the BBC Philharmonic in a CD of music for the BBC Young Choristers of the Year.   This year he directed the choir with the Black Dyke Band in a premiere recording of the brass band arrangement of Rutter’s “Gloria”.


Arranging

Darius has works performed regularly by the CBSO and chorus, RLPO and chorus, the Halle and the Northern Sinfonia, and has had arrangements commissioned by the Black Dyke band, Huddersfield Choral Society, and BBC Songs of Praise.  Click here for more information and lists of arrangements.


Silent film improvisation

“Improvisation extraordinaire..” read the full Artsdesk.com review of Phantom of the Opera here


In the last few years Darius has been increasingly in demand as a silent film accompanist on both organ and piano.  After a sell-out performance of Nosferatu in 2009 at the Sheffield Festival, he has accompanied Phantom of the Opera, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde on the organ, and on the piano has played for the premieres of the newly restored Helen of Four Gates. For several years he played for a monthly series of films at the National Media Museum, and he makes regular appearances at the Leeds International Film Festival.  You can see a list of films Darius has accompanied here.





DARIUS BATTIWALLA