Barnaby Smith

“sublime performance… the conductor Barnaby Smith and his musicians got the Kyrie Eleison just right: portentous, magnificent, complex”

5* The Times

…conducted with infectious energy by Barnaby Smith… this Messiah rocked along with breathtaking fervour…

The Observer

"The lovely tone and fullness of Smith’s countertenor was a real asset.”

Opera Today

Barnaby Smith

Conductor / Artistic Director / Countertenor

Grammy-nominated, Barnaby Smith is Artistic Director of the internationally renowned vocal ensemble VOCES8, LIVE From London digital festivals, and the UK and US arms of The VOCES8 Foundation. He is in demand as a conductor, presenter, film-maker, choir trainer, countertenor and arranger.

Recent projects have included Barnaby’s debut with Nederlandse ReisOpera in Handel Messiah, two solo-recordings Handel & Bach, of which - Gramophone notes that there is “no denying the refined beauty and sheer skill of Smith’s performance” as well as producing and presenting the 10th Live From London Festival. Collaborations with Eric Whitacre and Paul Simon continued, resulting in two new albums – Home (reaching No.1 in the Classical Album chart and awarded a BBC Music Magazine Choral and Song Choice) and Seven Psalms (which garnered wide-ranging 5 star reviews and high praise from Rolling Stone magazine). Additionally, the previous season saw the concert world premiere of Christopher Tin The Lost Birds alongside new arrangements of Caroline Shaw and the swallow, and a new adaptation of The Lark Ascending for violin, choir, and orchestra.

Conducting VW The Lark Ascending (new adaption for soloist, choir, orch): Jack Liebeck with The VOCES8 Foundation Choir and Orchestra in LIVE From London/RVW Anniversary concert

Future projects include Decca’s Christmas 2023 album release A Choral Christmas, on which Barnaby conducts festive works by Taylor Scott Davis, a third solo album - Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, due in 2024, directing Voces8, Ola Gjeilo and Carducci Quartet in BBC Prom 34: Mindful Mix, debut conducting appointments with Queensland Symphony Orchestra (Vaughan Williams and Tin The Lost Birds), and return projects with the Academy of Ancient Music (Handel Israel in Egypt) and Nederlandse Reisopera.

With a schedule that takes him around the world, Barnaby has performed at many of the world's prestigious festivals and halls including BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican Centre, Wigmore Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Sydney Opera House, Muziekgebouw Amsterdam, La Seine Musicale and Cité de la Musique in Paris, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Wiener Konzerthaus, BOZAR, Tokyo Opera City, NCPA Beijing, Mariinsky Theatre Concert Hall, Victoria Concert Hall in Singapore, and Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

Barnaby has conducted orchestras including the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Academy of Ancient Music, Australian National Academy of Music, English Chamber Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Monte Carlo Symphony and he directed the music for the Olympic Mascots Film Scores at Abbey Road Studios with the British Film Orchestra.

Conducting Mendelssohn Hebrides Overture : The VOCES8 Foundation Orchestra in LIVE From London/RVW Anniversary concert

William Walton: The Twelve from LIVE From London featuring VOCES8 Foundation Choir, Peter Holder, and Barnaby Smith

Barnaby’s collaborations include projects with Paul Simon, Rachel Podger, Roderick Williams, Christina Pluhar, Masaki Suzuki, Jack Liebeck, Ola Gjeilo, Jonathan Dove, Jacob Collier, and Christopher Tin amongst others. Recent digital collaborations include The Sixteen, Gabrieli Consort & Players, The Tallis Scholars, the Academy of Ancient Music, The King's Singers, and Chanticleer. A passionate pedagogue, he has taught at Academies and Universities across the world including co-curating the Master's course in ensemble singing at the University of Cambridge.

On disc Barnaby has released commercially on Decca Classics, Universal, Sony, Warner, Naxos, Signum Classics and VOCES8 Records. He has six no.1 albums to his credit and numberous awards including Classic FM Album of the Year. As well as his two solo albums (and third coming in 2024), he conducted the Philharmonia for the world premiere recording of Mårten Jansson and Charles Anthony Silvestri’s Requiem Novum and recent releases with VOCES8 include Infinity (Decca Classics) and After Silence (VOCES8 Records) and Home (Decca Classics).

Barnaby Smith: Bach - Introduction Reel (Barnaby Smith, Katie Jeffries-Harris & The Illyria Consort)

Overture from The Magic Flute – Mozart

For further projects and for print, please download Barnaby's full biography.

This biography is for information only, and should not be re-printed. Please use the link below to download the version for concert programmes.

Download 2023-24 Full Biography (.docx)

Download 2022-23 Conducting Publicity Portrait (.jpg) - Credit: Andy Staples

Download 2022-23 Conducting Action (.jpg) - Credit: Andrew Wilkinson