William Lacey was born in London in 1973 and studied music at King's College Cambridge, and in Venice and Salzburg. As a pianist and chamber musician, he studied extensively with Gyorgy Kurtag and Alfred Brendel. He studied conducting with David Parry and Gustav Kuhn. He started his conducting career with modern works at Almeida Opera (1996-98), and as an assistant conductor in London, Aldeburgh, Munich and Pesaro.
Between 1998 and 2001, William Lacey was the Staff Conductor at San Francisco Opera. As assistant conductor he worked closely with Valery Gergiev, Sir Charles Mackerras, and especially with Donald Runnicles.
In North America, William Lacey has conducted at Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Santa Fe Opera, Washington National Opera, and New York City Opera. He has performed with such great singers as Natalie Dessay, Anna Netrebko, Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade, David Daniels, Paul Groves, Placido Domingo, and Nathan Gunn. He has also conducted at English National Opera, Opera North, the Cologne Opera, the New National Theatre, Tokyo (showcase performance with the Opera Studio), Glimmerglass Opera, Utah Opera and DePaul Opera Theater in Chicago.
A an orchestral conductor he was worled with the Haydn Orchestra in Bolzano, the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, the Israel Camerata, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra , l'Orchestre de Bretagne and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. With the Plush Festival Ensemble, he has directed several programmes combining Bach cantatas with recent works by Kurtag, Carter and Birtwistle. He has also conducted the London Sinfonietta, the Orchestra della Toscana, the Orchestra Filharmonica Marchegiana, the Marin Symphony Orchestra, the Covent Garden Chamber Orchestra, and the Tyrol Festival Orchestra.
Mr. Lacey is an accomplished keyboard player, and he has often directed opera performances and concerts from the harpsichord, piano, chamber organ, or keyed glockenspiel. He has eclectic musical tastes and is actively involved in a wide range of music, from Monteverdi and Byrd to jazz and composers of his own generation such as Thomas Adès and Julian Anderson. He enjoys giving presentations from the keyboard about music, and has recently given lectures in Napa, Houston and Santa Fe.