Univ Dates: 2010-2013
Degree: BA Music
Degree Level: Undergraduate
Occupation: Conductor, Repetiteur and Organist
Biography: David Todd is a conductor, repetiteur and organist based in Glasgow and London. He was trained at University College, Oxford and the Royal Academy of Music, and from September 2016 began his association with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland as Repetiteur with the Opera Department. His work is increasingly taking him abroad; he holds the post of Guest Conductor of the choir of Turku Cathedral, Finland, has worked for the Swiss-Italian Conservatoire in Switzerland, and as Associate Repetiteur for the Lyric Opera Studio in Weimar, Germany. Closer to home, he has worked on and developed mixed arts events with venues such as the Southbank Centre, Courtauld Gallery and Morley College in London, and in the 2016 season made his debut working with Dorset Opera, Hampstead Garden Opera and University College Opera. David also conducts the innovative chamber choir Myriad, who stage themed concerts throughout the year on a project basis.
Other recent highlights included working as Chorus Master for the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, performing alongside concert pianist Murray Perahia, and conducting the Brentwood Philharmonic Orchestra. David also participated in the prestigious 2016 Solti Academy based in Venice.
David is active as a recitalist and accompanist on the organ and piano. Recent performances include Handel’s Organ Concerto in G Minor with the Kings Chamber Orchestra alongside concert organist Jennifer Bate in Muswell Hill, and recitals of Messiaen’s complete organ suite La Nativité du Seigneur.
At Univ, David was an Organ Scholar, conductor of the Univ Chorus and led the Univ Staff Choir. He received a College Prize in 2012.
What were your preconceptions of Oxford or Univ before you started?
I think the thing most in my mind was an awareness of the history of the place, which I found fascinating, as well as the literary connections it had. I was therefore thrilled by Univ in particular as one of the oldest colleges, and its links to C.S. Lewis, and excited to join a place that I had read about for so long.
What do you remember about your first day at Univ?
I remember what would become a common job of moving everything through Logic Lane, as well as a ‘speed befriending’ event, which proved quite successful. I also remember being impressed with the food on offer.
Was there anyone at Univ who really inspired you?
Mainly the people who had gone before me – I have already mentioned C.S. Lewis, and I remember also being excited by seeing Stephen Hawking’s name in the college book we all had to sign. Since leaving Univ I’ve become more interested in politics, and so have probably grown to appreciate Univ’s political connections much more too.
Any one outstanding memory?
Too many to choose one, but seeing the college transformed for balls was always a thrill. I also loved being part of college music – conducting Mozart’s Requiem with the Univ Chorus and seeing the uplifting effect of the Staff Choir on staff were both really important things to me.
How do you think Univ shaped you?
Univ gave me the freedom to do my own thing, particularly as an organ scholar and in other areas of college music. Univ really shaped me and gave me the confidence to do what I do now; it also provided me with my core group of friends, who continue to shape me today.
Did you know what you wanted to do after Univ?
I think it became clear to be as I was there that I wanted to pursue conducting, and I was lucky to be supported by excellent teachers and tutors, so yes, just not necessarily straight away.
How important is a project like this?
I think the Young Univ Gallery project is important as it values the choices people have made and shows the effect Univ is able to have on people even after they have left. It’s also great to show the diversity of careers on offer once you leave. I hope my contribution may be able to inspire other musicians who are currently at Univ or looking to apply.