The Colne Philharmonic has been privileged to experience the talents of a series of professional conductors over the past 30 years. These include Andrea Quinn, Jacques Cohen and Anthony Weedon. They have all gone on to have glittering careers in the conducting world.

For this season our conductors will be Boris Peck and Michael Whittaker and joining us for the first time in March 2022 Vicente Chavarria. Scroll down to read their biographies. 

Boris Peck

Boris was born in London in 1974 and is a descendant of the composers Mikulas and Alexander Moyzes, two of the most influential figures in 20th century music in Slovakia.

He began playing the violin and piano at the age of five and eight respectively and has performed a number of violin concertos, including those of Sibelius and Bruch.

Boris began conducting whilst studying at the University of Leeds, where he took lessons with the Albanian conductor, Eno Koco and was soon after appointed conductor of the University Chamber and Symphony Orchestras.

He was awarded a masters degree, after which Boris spent a year at the Bratislava Academy of music, studying with Bystrik Rezucha and on his return to the UK, continued learning with George Hurst at the Canford Summer School of Music.
In 2001, he set up his own charity orchestra and since then he has worked with the London Charity Orchestra, City of Southampton Symphony Orchestra, Westminster Youth Orchestra, Orchestra of the City, and London Youth Orchestra.
He was musical director of Candlelight Opera from 2008-2011, was prinicipal conductor of Keld Ensemble from 2010-2018 and has been working with Colne Philharmonic Orchestra since 2013.
Boris’s international engagements have included guest appearances with the New Sofia Symphony Orchestra, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bratislava String Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Symphony Orchestra of Russia and Bohuslav Martinu Chamber Orchestra.

Michael Whittaker

Michael was born in London.  His love of conducting was inspired by playing with many orchestras including The London Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Britten Pears Youth Orchestra.  He was also principal viola player in many ensembles at Trinity College of Music where he studied.  
After beginning conducting lessons with Peter Stark in 1996, he went on to do a postgraduate conducting course with full scholarship at Trinity College of Music and was also awarded a scholarship place on the conducting course at the renowned Dartington International Summer School.  Leading on from this he was invited to conduct Concilium, performing at Dartington and in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. 
Since then Michael has balanced a busy performing and teaching career alongside his conducting.  Specialising in coaching, Michael Whittaker has performed many times with Southgate Symphony Orchestra, Gloucester Youth Orchestra, Trinity College of Music Orchestras, Forest Philharmonic and various Waltham Forest Youth Orchestras. 
Michael’s ventures for 2017 include: organising and performing a charity concert for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, playing in Kuwait and Venice and conducting live music for the film “Battle of the Somme”.

Vicente Chavarria 

Vicente Chavarría is an American-born conductor, composer, and scholar based in London. He has worked with the Croydon Youth Orchestra, Oxford University Orchestra, Ernest Read Symphony Orchestra, and Wimbledon Symphony Orchestra, and participated in masterclasses with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Salomon Orchestra. A graduate of the Royal College of Music, he has worked with all of the RCM orchestras, New Perspectives, New Ensemble, Baroque Ensemble, and Conductors Orchestra. He has also assisted such conductors as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Bernard Haitink, Andrew Gourlay, Maxim Vengerov, and Holly Mathieson.

He was Assistant Conductor for six productions of the RCM Opera Studio (conducting the closing night show of the Summer 2019 season) and assisted conductor Michael Rosewell at English Touring Opera.

A versatile musician, he performs with Dowland Works (with Dame Emma Kirkby) and the BBC Symphony Chorus, and has previously performed with LASchola, Bach-Collegium San Diego, the Boston Camerata, and Park Collegium (Belgium), among many others.

He has performed in masterclasses with Martyn Brabbins, Jac van Steen, Andreas Scholl, Anne Azéma, Xavier Díaz-Latorre, and the Hilliard Ensemble, and under the batons of Sir Andrew Davis, Sakari Oramo, Michael Tilson Thomas, Sir Donald Runnicles, and Martyn Brabbins. He has also performed at the Berkeley and Boston Early Music Festivals.

A pupil of Morten Lauridsen and Haris Kittos, his compositions and arrangements have been performed around the world; he has also conducted numerous premières by fellow composers over the course of his career.

A lifelong church musician, he is currently a choral scholar at St John's Church, Fulham and Music Director Emeritus at St Dominic Church, Miami (USA).
Vicente holds previous degrees from the Universities of Miami and Southern California (USA), and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Leuven (Belgium). At the RCM, he studied conducting with Peter Stark, Howard Williams, and Martyn Brabbins.

He was previously the Artistic Director and Founder of the early music ensembles Flos Campi and La Monarca as well as the Fra Angelico Chamber Choir and Sibelius Camerata. In his spare time (?!), he is the host of the podcast Singing For Your Supper and enjoys relaxing hobbies such as planespotting and cooking.