Though he began his career ostensibly as an organist, David Hill emerged as one of the most important English choral conductors from the turn of the 21st century. Hill has also conducted orchestras, notably the Philharmonia and Bournemouth symphony orchestras, but it is his choral work, particularly with regard to the music of Spanish Renaissance composers and that of 19th and 20th century English composers, that has afforded him his greatest triumphs. Hill has made dozens of recordings, mostly for the Hyperion and Regis Records labels.
Hill was born in Carlisle, England, on May 13, 1957. He was a gifted child, studying organ at Chetham's Music School in Manchester, where at 14 he also developed an interest in conducting. At the Royal College of Organists, three years later, he was made a fellow. He went on to study at St. John's, Cambridge, under George Guest. Other important teachers included Gillian Weir and Peter Hurford.
After his graduation from St. John's, Hill's career quickly advanced with a prestigious series of important posts: he served as sub-organist at Durham Cathedral (1980-1982), music director of the Alexandra Choir (1980-1987), master of music at Westminster Cathedral (1982), organist and master of music at Winchester Cathedral (1987-2002), and then music director of the Waynflete Singers (1987-2002). A year before taking his Winchester and Waynflete posts, Hill was appointed associate conductor of the Philharmonia Chorus. Later, he would serve as its artistic director until 1997. In 1998, Hill became the music director for the Bach Choir. From 2003 until 2007, Hill was the music director at St. John's College, Cambridge. Hill served as chief conductor of the BBC Singers from 2007 until 2017. In 2013, Hill was named the principal conductor of the Yale Schola Cantorum.
Amid all this activity, Hill was busy in the recording studio, as well: his series of Victoria albums for Hyperion began to appear in 1983 with the release O Quam gloriosum, with Hill leading the Westminster Choir. He continued to turn out recordings throughout the 1980s and '90s and into the new century, championing little-known works, as with the three volumes of Stanford choral pieces on Hyperion (1997), as well as repertory staples like Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli on the same label (1993). In 2003, Hill donned his organist's cap when he appeared as soloist on the Regis Records' album Cathedral Organ Classics. In 2019, Hill could be found on several releases, including Handel's Messiah, with the BBC Singers, on Resonus, and Heinrich Schütz's The Christmas Story, with the Yale Schola Cantorum, on Hyperion.