William Kempster

William Kempster is an Australian/American conductor and scholar now working equally between southern Colorado and central France. William’s conducting career commenced in Sydney, Australia, in the mid-1980s, where he was active as the co-conductor of the Sydney Schools Symphony Orchestra for some years, as well as directing the Sydney University Graduate Choir from 1988-1991 and the Sydney University Pro Musica Chamber Choir from 1992-1995. William also worked as guest chorus-master with Sydney Philharmonia Choirs on many occasions (1992-1996), as well as guest-director of the Sydney Chamber Choir in numerous performances between 1992 and 1996. In 1995/96 William left Australia to further his conducting career, graduating with the degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada) in 1999. William took up the position of Director of Choral Activities at the University of New Hampshire (Durham, USA) in July, 1999.

William has conducted over 2000 performances all over the world, concentrated in Australia (1983-1996), Canada (1996-2009) and the USA (1999-present), and has produced 15 compact discs covering repertoire from the late 15th century through to very recent works, including over 40 world premiere recordings. William was the founding director of the acclaimed Canadian chamber choir Ensemble de la Rue, and after a career of teaching at the University of New Hampshire, remains the director of the east-coast (USA) based Cappella Nova Mundi. A significant focus during William’s career in North America was the promotion of Australian Choral Music, and he presented North American premiere performances in both Canada and the USA of many works not just by Ross Edwards, but also by Clare Maclean, Stephen Adams and Martin Wesley-Smith. William organised and directed eight international tours for his various choirs, and has conducted performances in Australia, Canada, the United States, Colombia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and Ireland. William is the only conductor in the world to have progressed two different choirs from two different countries to the final stage of the world’s most prestigious chamber choir competition, held in Marktoberdorf, Bavaria, Germany every other year: Ensemble de la Rue (Canada) in 2005, and the University of New Hampshire Chamber Singers (USA) in 2013.

As well as the music of Ross Edwards, William’s research interests have concentrated on Renaissance master Pierre de la Rue, and he has published and presented articles on la Rue’s music on the global academic stage. In September, 2020, William completed work on A ‘Complete’ Performing Edition of the Works of Pierre de la Rue, which runs to over 2,600 pages of score, and can be readily found online. Throughout his career William has also produced many new editions of music, and over a hundred of these are now available on a sister-site to the Pierre de la Rue Edition: echoraleditions. William is also a reviewer for the highly regarded American classical recordings magazine Fanfare.

Available Works