St Helens-born conductor John Rigby was awarded Honorary Doctor of Arts by Edge Hill University in July 2016.

The acclaimed conductor began his career in musical theatre and has been musical director for a long list of prestigious productions. He is currently the Musical Supervisor for The Phantom of the Opera US tour and for Les Misérables in London and Korea.

John’s formidable list of current projects include Die Fledermaus for Opera Holland Park, Viennese Whirl with the Orchestra of Opera North, Bond & Beyond, Classical Spectacular, Jingle Bell Christmas, the 2017 Johann Strauss Tour, Movie Classics and White Christmas for Raymond Gubbay Ltd, the 2016 Leeds Castle Classical Open Air Concert, Last Night of the Autumn Proms and Summer Classics with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and A Very Merry Mooney Tunes with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

When asked about his personal contribution as a conductor to classical anthems, he said “to try and demystify them in some way and present them in a way that is accessible for people to appreciate, and realise that classical music needn’t be elitist, nor does it need to be dumbed down”.