William studied with Mary Peppin at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Since then his piano playing has mainly centred round accompanying, appearing with the distinguished singers Catherine Bott and James Bowman in the Portsmouth Festivities of 2009 (see ‘What They Say’), and playing regularly for the renowned Verdi baritone John Rawnsley. As soloist, he has twice featured as soloist in Lambert’s ‘Rio Grande’ and in his own creation, William Godfree’s Chamber Band. In 2016 he toured as Musical Director in ‘Roy Hudd’s Very Own Music Hall’. He is a seasoned repetiteur and has assisted many a choral society, opera and musical theatre group, instrumentalist and singer.
William is a seasoned performer on the organ, and has played on more instruments than he can possibly remember, whether for services, weddings or funerals.
William was for many years the front man for the Southern Pro Musica’s Children’s Concerts, performed every spring in several venues across the south, conducted by Jonathan Willcocks. He has featured in a number of pieces for narrator and orchestra including ‘Tubby the Tuba’, Peter and the Wolf’, and William own piece with words by Roald Dahl, ‘Aladdin and the Magic Lamp’. In 2009 William appeared as narrator in a performance by his Chamber Band of Stravinsky’s ‘Soldier’s Tale’.
William has conducted many choirs and orchestras over the years. He has directed a number of choral societies in Hampton, Twickenham, Haslemere as well as being Musical Director of a number of stage shows. Every summer he teaches conducting and composition to students from the UK and abroad at the Language and Music for Life Course.
William has been performing cabaret on-and-off for the last thirty years. For the last fifteen years he has enjoyed a fruitful partnership with the Hampshire MP Michael Mates. Mates and Godfree road-tested some Flanders and Swann songs at a fund-raising dinner at Farnham Castle in September 1995, and subsequently put together a full-length entertainment entitled ‘Memories of Flanders and Swann’ which made its debut in Winchester the year after. They have now performed the show some 35 times the length and breadth of the country (see archive). Following the success of ‘Memories’, William and Michael broadened their repertoire and assembled a new collection, including songs by Noel Coward, Stilgoe and Skellern, Victoria Wood, Jake Thackray, Paddy Roberts, Tom Lehrer and others. William also performs solo and in an evening of songs and Sussex Stories told by the veteran broadcaster and raconteur, Martin Muncaster. In November 2019 he made his US solo cabaret debut in Boston, Massachusetts.