Roy Goodman has become well known as a specialist in early music and as a proponent of period-instrument performance. Though he has generally held several conducting posts simultaneously, he has managed to lead a vast number of concerts over the years as a guest conductor, appearing in that role with more than 100 ensembles across the globe. Goodman is unusual in his chameleonic changes, starting out as a boy-treble at eight, then launching his career later primarily as an orchestral violinist who would then metamorphose into a world-famous conductor. His repertory naturally takes in staples from the Baroque era, with J.S. Bach and Handel dominant, but extends to Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Sibelius, and even Glass. Goodman has also regularly conducted in the opera house, becoming particularly noted for his Handel and Mozart. He has been very active in the recording studio, as well, appearing on more than 120 recordings to date, a number that swells by leaps yearly. Hyperion, Nimbus, Cala, RCA, Channel Classics, Meridian, Decca, and Naxos are among the major labels for which he has recorded.
Goodman was born in Guildford, England, on January 26, 1951. As a child he sang with the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, appearing on his first recording in 1959. He achieved international renown from a 1963 Decca recording of Allegri's Miserere.
Goodman enrolled at the Royal College of Music in London, where he studied violin and organ. From 1974-1976 he was conductor of the Reading Youth Orchestra. In 1975 he founded (and served as director of) the Brandenburg Consort, which disbanded in 2001. From 1977-1985 the busy Goodman worked in various European orchestras playing violin, usually as the concertmaster and often as a soloist.
From 1979-1986 he served as co-director of the Parley of Instruments. But even busier times lay ahead: from 1986-1994 he was principal conductor of the Hanover Band, a group with whom he made many acclaimed recordings, including cycles on period instruments (premieres both) of the Beethoven and Schubert symphonies; from 1989-2003 he served as music director of the European Union Baroque Orchestra.
Since 2003 Goodman has been director emeritus of the EUBO. In the new century he has held additional conducting posts: Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Canada (1999-2005), and Holland Symfonia (2003-2006). In later years, he served as principal guest conductor of the English Chamber Orchestra.