Willard started cello lessons at the age of 4 with Elizabeth Anderson. He joined Wells Cathedral School as a chorister at the age of 8 and, moved to the Purcell School to study cello with Alexander Boyarsky in 2013. In 2016 Willard joined the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music (RCM) for additional study of chamber music.In 2018 Willard started learning with Ivan Monighetti at the Escuela de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid.
In May 2021, Willard played a recital in the Solsberg festival in Switzerland, in June he played the Brahms double concerto in the Teatro Romano in Merida for the Queen of Spain, live on television and in August 2021, Willard played the Elgar cello concerto with the Gstaad Festival Orchestra in the Gstaad Festival.
He has performed at the Wigmore Hall, Charterhouse, Goldsmiths Hall, Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. In May 2019 he performed again in Buckingham Palace which was later broadcast on Classic FM. He has since been selected as a Rising Star for this same radio channel.
Upcoming concerts include a recital at the Radio Classique Festival in St Malo, a solo recital at the Gstaad New Year Music Festival, a recital tour around Spain with Vadim Gladkov and performing with the OSPA orchestra.
Willard has won numerous competitions including the Llanes international cello competition 2022, the Gregynog young musician, Rickmansworth young musician, as well as competitions at the Purcell School and at the RCM.He has taken part in masterclass weeks at IMS Prussia Cove, Heifetz academy and Daniel Hope academy.
He has been mentored by Vasily Petrenko as well as Jaap Van Zweden, Ben Palmer and Guy Johnson.
Photo credit : © DR