Born in Warwickshire, he is a graduate of Jesus College, Cambridge. He studied singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he won several prizes including the prestigious Gold Medal, Decca Kathleen Ferrier Prize, Royal Overseas League Singing Competition, Richard Tauber Prize and the Walther Gruner International Lieder Competition.
He is now established as one of the leading baritones of his generation, and has already appeared with many of the world’s opera houses including Covent Garden (notably Così fan tutte, Sweeney Todd, Il barbiere di Siviglia, La bohème, The Queen of Spades), Glyndebourne Touring Opera, German State Opera in Berlin (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Deutsche Oper Berlin (Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni). He has appeared in Ferruccio Busoni’s Doctor Faustus at the Salzburg Festival and the Châtelet under the baton of Kent Nagano, as well as in Oberon at Théâtre du Châtelet under John Eliot Gardiner, in Le nozze di Figaro at the Pittsburgh Opera, Les pêcheurs de perles at San Francisco Opera, Curlew River at Edinburgh Festival, The Magic Flute at English National Opera, Le nozze di Figaro at Welsh National Opera, Candide at Naples’ Teatro di San Carlo, La bohème at Hamburg Opera and Hansel and Gretel at Glyndebourne Festival Opera.
Concert appearances have included title role in Schumann’s Szenen aus Goethes Faust for a European tour conducted with Philippe Herreweghe and concerts with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; Schumann’s Requiem for Mignon conducted by John Eliot Gardiner with the Monteverdi Orchestra; Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Royal Flanders Philharmonic conducted by Herreweghe and at the Casa da Música, Porto; Corigliano’s Dylan Thomas Trilogy with the BBC Symphony conducted by Leonard Slatkin; Christmas Oratorio with the Berlin Philharmonic; the world premiere of songs by Harrison Birtwistle for the BBC Proms conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi, Mahmoud in John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Das Paradies und die Peri with the San Francisco Symphony, Das Klagende Lied with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, Carmina Burana with the Orchestre du Capitole in Toulouse, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Britten’s War Requiem at the Aspen Festival, L’Enfance du Christ with London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Colin Davis, and with the Bavarian Radio in Munich, the Brahms Requiem with the Monteverdi Choir conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Des knaben Wunderhorn with Orquestra Nacional do Porto, and concerts of L’Enfance du Christ with Mozarteum Orchestra in Salzburg conducted by Ivor Bolton. World premieres include the lead role of Jesus in Harrison Birtwistle’s The Last Supper at the German State opera in Berlin conducted by Daniel Barenboim, which was then repeated at the Glyndebourne Festival; and Hosokawa’s Hanjo, which was presented at the Aix-en-Provence Festival and Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels.
William has given recital performances at the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, St. George’s Bristol, and Châtelet, and is regularly invited to sing at Cheltenham, Aix-en-Provence and Saintes Festivals with such noted accompanists as Graham Johnson and Iain Burnside.
Recent and future engagements include Enrico in Maria de Rohan for the Buxton Festival, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus for the Bolshoi in Moscow, Yeletsky in The Queen of Spades and the title role in a new production of Don Giovanni at Opera North, Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music at the Châtelet, Harasta in The Cunning Little Vixen at the Glyndebourne Festival, Mr Gedge in Albert Herring at Opera North, The Father in Hansel und Gretel for Garsington Opera and The Ferryman in Curlew River for Opéra de Lyon.