Michael Betteridge


Michael is a conductor, composer and facilitator based in Manchester. Described as ‘inventive’ (The Financial Times for Thousand Furs) ‘bold’ and ‘colourful’ (The Times for Across the Sky) and ‘hip and edgy’ (The Independent for #echochamber) he is a composer with an interest in creating work that challenges and inspires audiences and performers alike. His music has been performed across the world including Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Spain, and the USA and has been broadcast on BBC Radios 3 and 4.

He has created work for a range of ensembles, performers and organisations including the London Symphony Orchestra (Serenade), violinist Nicola Benedetti (look mum… no hands!), Bolton Octagon Theatre (#ChipShoptheMusical), Hampshire Music Service (Many Futures; One Voice – the Verbatim Cantata) and many others. He was composer in residence with the Cobweb Orchestra from 2013-5 and a short documentary about his work with the group was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in January 2017.  His Market Songs, a site specific a cappella work for 300 singers at the Salisbury Arts Festival, was performed throughout the city in May 2015, opening that year’s festival.  2017 saw performances of a new large instrumental work entitled city always being rebuilt, which was performed as part of The Stoller Hall’s opening weekend in Manchester, as well as a new devised collaborative work between Opera North Youth Chorus and Den Jyske (Danish National Opera) performed across Jutland, Denmark in November of that year for Aarhus 2016 European City of Culture. 2018 saw his Anglo-Icelandic opera #echochamber premiered at Tjarnaboro in Reykjavik in May 2018 – the city’s leading independent theatre and then later toured across England.  The opera was later nominated for the 2018 Icelandic Music Awards in the Contemporary and Classical Event of the year category with the judges describing it a "[a] raw and thought-out show that is immediately relevant to the current times. It marks a milestone in opera productions in Iceland". 2018 also saw the premiere of a new fifty-minute song cycle with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG) for over 150 young performers entitled Do you see? Do you hear? and a new series of songs for male voices and piano setting poems by Andrew McMillan; the last movement of which was shortlisted by the British jury for the ISCM World Music Days in Estonia in 2019.

2019 saw the world premiere of Across the Sky a large community opera for the 75th Cheltenham Music Festival starring celebrated bass Graeme Danby and was later nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award in the Impact category. 2020 saw Standing Together  a new work for Opera North Youth Chorus before lockdown hit. His work with Voicings Collective on the digital Walk Out of Yourself was premiered by Opera Europa and shortlisted for an Opera Harmony award.

2021 saw the premiere of two substantial socially engaged projects Opera-tic is a 45 minute digital opera co-created with participants living with Tourettes Syndrome – later also nominated for in the Impact category at the RPS Awards, whilst A song, a life premiered as part of the Aalborg Opera Festival in Denmark in August this year.

2022 saw the premiere of two substantial works both with writer Rebecca Hurst: Stay as long as you like – a 10 movement cantata for SATB voices and small ensemble; and The Goodwin Sands – a 45 minute work for three solo voices and harp which will tour England. He also created Docks Unlocked for the BBC Philharmonic, folk singer Riognach Connolly, and over 500 leisure time music makers of all abilities.

2023 saw the creation of No Place Like Home for SATB choir made collaboratively for film with visual artist Jez Dolan as part of Curated Place’s Moving Classics programme with a screening taking place in Reykavik, Iceland early that year. Three new 30 minute children’s operas commissioned by Norwich based Into Opera premiered in July.

Michael has recently been awarded a DYCP grant from Arts Council England to develop his singer-songwriter voice in which he will produce an album. He is currently a member of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s composer programme for 2022-23.

Whilst his output and work as a musician is extremely diverse he has a particular interest in working in communities and with non-professionals.   As a composition facilitator and music leader he has worked with Cheltenham Festivals, English National Opera, London Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Opera North, BBC Philharmonic, London Music Masters, Open Academy at the Royal Academy of Music, amongst others including in the UK and abroad.

Michael is artistic director of The Sunday Boys – a low voiced open access LGBTQ+ choir in Manchester – with the group he has commissioned and premiered work from a range of artists including Philip Venables, Anna Appleby, Dominie Hooper and Finn Anderson. He regularly works as a conductor and vocal leader especially in theatre settings and with leisure time music makers.