Josh Quinlan is a British conductor, baritone, composer, and engraver. He has worked extensively across the UK and abroad, regularly performing with and writing music for many of Britain’s finest ensembles, including the likes of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and National Youth Choirs of Great Britain.
Josh was born in August of 2000 with a rare condition called Oculocutaneous Albinism – you can read more about Albinism here. Amongst other things, this has resulted in him being registered blind and is also the reason behind his fair hair and skin. He has always considered this to be a strength rather than a ‘disability’, citing that it may very well be the cause of his natural draw towards music. Needless to say, he is a passionate advocate of providing equal opportunities for all, regardless of their background.
At the age of four, Josh started learning the piano and clarinet, and later joined his local church choir (The Choir of Holy Trinity Church, Southport) with whom he would sing for the next seven years. At Holy Trinity, he received his foundational musical training which, to this day, continues to support everything he does. At the age of thirteen, he gained a place to study at the Royal Northern College of Music‘s prestigious Junior Department, where he was taught Composition (with Matthew Sargent and Rosemary Broadbent), Conducting (with Juan Ortuno, Ewa Strusinska and Eduardo Portal), Clarinet (with Helen Bywater), and singing (with the late-and-great tenor Jeffrey Lawton). Upon graduating from JRNCM, Josh was awarded prizes for Composition and Academic Studies.
In his third year of studying at the Junior RNCM, Josh successfully auditioned to join the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra as Principal Bass Clarinettist (later promoted to Principal Clarinettist), and was also appointed a Resident Composer on RLPO’s Rushworth Composer scheme through which he receives numerous professional commissions from artists/organisations including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Youth Company, Tate Modern, Wilfred Owen Society, and award-winning mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston; he was also mentored by award-winning composers Ian Stephens. Whilst working with the Liverpool Phil, Josh performed in numerous high-profile concerts alongside musicians from the RLPO, Hallé and BBC Philharmonic, and played in concerts featuring Stravinsky’s Firebird, Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F, Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra and Mahler’s Titan Symphony.
In the same year, Josh also gained a place in the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain; this would be the start of a long relationship with NYCGB, an organisation which he cares very deeply about and whom he now works for. His first concert with NYCGB (alongside the National Youth Training Choir, Greg Beardsell, Dominic Ellis-Peckham and Robbie Jacobs at Nottingham Royal Concert Hall) was one of the most formative moments in Josh’s career. Two years later, he joined the National Youth Choir and National Youth Chamber Choir, with whom he is currently a Section Leader. Josh is also a core member of staff within NYCGB’s Creative & Learning teams, and is also a member of Course Staff.
The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain are a truly astonishing organisation. I can honestly say that I would not be who I am today without them, and the opportunities that they offer to all of their members (whether in the Girls’ Choir or the Chamber Choir) are completely life-changing. I have made some of my best friends whilst singing with NYCGB, and have had the chance to sing at some incredible events in my time with the Choirs, including the likes of the BBC Proms, Carols at the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Albert Hall’s 150th Anniversary concert, and many more. To now be working for the organisation is a dream come true!Josh Quinlan, Spring 2022
Between 2018 and 2021, Josh studied for a degree in Music at the University of York, graduating with first-class honours. In his third year at the university, he was also appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in recognition of his contributions to music – one of the youngest people to ever receive this honour. He has since received similar Fellowships from the Three Counties School of Music, and the Guild of Musicians and Singers.
Since leaving university, Josh’s career has gone from strength to strength. He has worked with artists including the BBC Singers, The Swingles, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Central Band of the Royal Air Force, and has appeared as both a conductor and a singer in productions by the BBC, Sky, Netflix and the Rugby Football Union (Rugby World Cup – England v South Africa, November 2021). Recent engagements have included recording sessions with rock band Primal Scream, producing a recording for a significant multi-national fast-food chain, and engraving work for Ralph Allwood MBE.