Katie Bray is a Karaviotis scholar on the opera course at the Royal Academy of Music, taught by Elizabeth Ritchie and Iain Ledingham, and was awarded First Prize in the Academy’s prestigious Richard Lewis Singing Competition this year. She recently played the role of Béatrice in Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict at the Royal Academy of Music, conducted by Sir Colin Davis and directed by John Copley. In 2012, Katie makes her debut with Glyndebourne Festival Opera and English Touring Opera.
During her time as a postgraduate student at the Royal Academy of Music, Katie was awarded the 2009 Major van Someren-Godfrey Prize for English Song, the 2010 Elena Gerhardt Lieder Prize, the Alfred Alexander Scholarship and the Karaviotis and Sir Thomas Armstrong Awards. She was also the recipient of the Opera Prize and third prize overall in the 2011 Mozart International Singing Competition, the Audience Prize in the 2010 Handel Singing Competition and third prize in the 2010 Jackdaws Vocal Award.
Other recent solo appearances include Cherubino in British Youth Opera’s Le nozze di Figaro at the Peacock Theatre, Polly Peachum in Royal Academy Opera’s production of Weill’s Die Dreigroschenoper, and Wu in the world première of Peter Maxwell-Davies’ opera, Kommilitonen! She also performed at the Wigmore Hall for the Countess of Munster Young Artists Platform in November, and will be returning to the Wigmore stage in January for a Schubert recital. Katie is grateful for generous support from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and the Josephine Baker Trust. She is represented by Rayfield Allied.
Rupert Charlesworth currently attends the opera school of the Royal Academy of Music, under the tuition of Philip Doghan and Iain Ledingham, where he is generously supported by the Karaviotis Scholarship and the John Kenneth Adams Scholarship. He is an Academy Laureate of the Festival d’Aix en Provence. He is also grateful to be supported by Josephine Baker Trust and Mr and Mrs Sommerville.
So far in his career he has performed with such noted musicians as Laurence Cummings, Graham Johnson, Leonardo Garcia Alarcon and Sir Colin Davis.
Rupert’s career has taken him throughout Europe, performing in such prestigious operatic stages as La Fenice, Venice and The Festival d’Aix en Provence. Previous engagements include Handel’s Aics and Galatea (Damon) in Aix en Provence, Berkeley’s A Dinner Engagement (Prince Philippe) for Kings College Opera and The Poison Garden (Narrator) for Grimeborn.
Rupert is also in demand as oratorio soloist, regularly performing works including the Requiem Mass and Mass in C minor (Mozart), St Matthew and St John Passions (J.S.Bach), The Messiah (Handel), Vespers della Beata Virgine (Monteverdi) and Dies Natalis (Finzi). He is also a soloist for the Royal Academy, Kohn Foundation Bach Cantata series.
His recordings include The Sealed Angel (Delphian), and Rogier: Missa Ego Sum Qui Sum (Hyperion).
Future engagements include performing the role of Tamino in the ROA production of Die Zauberföte and a Handel Messiah with Laurence Cummings in December 2012. Rupert will be returning to Aix in 2012 to cover Alan Clayton in the world premiere of George Benajmin’s Written on Skin, then reprising the role proper in Florence 2013.
James’ concert appearances include The Seasons and Damon Acis and Galatea (BBC Proms), Bach Cantatas (Monteverdi Choir Bach Pilgrimage and Bach Collegium Japan), Tippett The Knot Garden (BBC Symphony Orchestra), Monteverdi Vespers (The Sixteen), Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance, Ralph HMS Pinafore, Septimius Theodora and Haydn’s Nelson Mass (SCO), title role Judas Maccabeus (King’s Consort), Israel in Egypt (Norddeutscher Rundfunk and Collegium Vocale Gent), Mozart Requiem (Seattle), Alexander’s Feast (Salzburg), Christmas Oratorio (Zürich), Messiah (San Francisco and Detroit), War Requiem and Gerontius (Three Choirs Festival), Mozart’s C Minor Mass (Salzburg Festival)), St Matthew Passion (in the US and at the RFH), St John Passion (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra), Britten’s Serenade (Gateshead), Pulcinella (Lugano), On Wenlock Edge (BBC NOW), Lechmere Owen Wingrave (CLS/Cadogan Hall), Ugone Flavio (AAM/Birmingham and London), Creation (Frauenkirche, Dresden, at Westminster Cathedral for the Bach Choir and on tour with Herreweghe), The Pilgrim’s Progress (Richard Hickox/Sadler’s Wells), Handel’s Ode for St Cecilia’s Day (SWR/Germany), Oedipus Rex (BBC NOW), War Requiem (Dresden Philharmonie), Martin’s Der Sturm (Concertgebouw), Saul (Hamburg), King Arthur (Concert Spirituel/London), Athalia (Concerto Köln) and On Wenlock Edge (Endellion String Quartet/Leeds Lieder Festival). Among recent engagements are Haydn Seasons and Creation (Monteverdi Choir), Messiah (St Louis), Bach Cantatas (NDR Hannover) and St Matthew Passion (Koln and Amsterdam). James is a keen exponent of contemporary music and has performed in the world premieres of Knut Nystedt’s Apocalypsis Joannis (Oslo Philharmonic), Tavener’s Total Eclipse (AAM).
James is a versatile and prolific recitalist. His imaginative programming has been heard in major recital venues including the Wigmore Hall, Aldeburgh and Perth Concert Halls. James performs regularly with Anna Tilbrook, Julius Drake and harpist Alison Nicholls.
Operatic performances include Quint Turn of the Screw, Ferrando Cosi Fan Tutte, Scaramuccio in Strauss’ Ariadne Auf Naxos Gomatz Mozart’s Zaide (Istanbul), Vaughan Williams’ Sir John in Love (Barbican/Radio 3), Hyllus Handel’s Hercules (Berlin), Acis & Galatea (Berlin), Evandre in Gluck’s Alceste (La Monnaie in Brussels) and Purcell’s King Arthur for Mark Morris at ENO.
Amongst his many recordings are title role Albert Herring and Vaughan William’s A Poisoned Kiss (Chandos), St Matthew Passion (Gabrieli Consort/McCreesh), St John Passion (New College Choir/Higginbottom), Rachmaninov Vespers (EMI/Kings College, Cambridge), Schütz Sacred Music (The Sixteen/Collins Classics), Rameau Cantatas and St Mark Passion (ASV), Grainger Songs (Chandos), Kuhnau Sacred Music (The King’s Consort/Hyperion), Bach Missa Brevis (Collegium Instrumentale Brugense), and Bach Cantatas. More recently James released a disc of Finzi song cycles, “Oh Fair To See”, (Linn Records), Elizabethan Lute Songs “When Laura Smiles” with Matthew Wadsworth and Leighton ‘Earth Sweet Earth’ and Britten’s Winter Words for Linn Records. James and Anna Tilbrook’s critically acclaimed recordings of Die Schöne Mullerin and Schwanengesang (Orchid Classics), have recently been released. The final Schubert cycle, Winterreise, is due for release later this year.
This season James has performed Die Schöne Mullerin at the Wigmore Hall, Before Life and After (a new staged project with Netia Jones), ‘Grand Motets’ on tour with Le Concert d’Astree, Die Jahreszeiten Royal Flanders Philharmonic, Les Illuminations at the Aldeburgh Festival,and St Matthew Passion Rotterdam Philharmonic. Upcoming engagements include Britten’s Serenade for Tenor Horn and Strings with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Messiah with the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington, Mozart’s Requiem in Moscow and St Petersburg, a tour of Handel’s Theodora with Concert Spirituel and Haydn’s Creation in Salzburg with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra.
For Royal Academy Opera he created the role of Hans Scholl in the world premiere of Peter Maxwell’s opera Kommilitonen, and has sung the roles of Peachum in Weill’s Die Dreigroschenoper and Traveller in Britten’s Curlew River. In March 2012 he will sing Papageno in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.
Before attending the RAM he studied Music at CambridgeUniversity, graduating with a First. At Cambridge he also appeared in various opera productions, as Nero and Quintus in Three Portraits of Nero and as Directeur in Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tiresias. More recent operatic roles have included Morales in Bizet’s Carmen, Demetrius in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Aeneasin Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and King Albanact in Orpheus Britannicus, a staged performance of Purcell’s theatrical music at Cadogan Hall.
He is a busy recitalist and has sung a wide range of repertoire in German, French and English. Highlights have included a performance of Winterreise at the Forge, Camden, performances on BBC Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’, a programme of Fauré songs at a recital at Kings Place, London, Schumann’s Myrthen at the Holywell Music Room for the Oxford Lieder Festival, and an appearance in the inaugural London English Song Festival with William Vann. Future engagements include selected Schubert songs at the Wigmore Hall as part of the RAM’s prestigious Song Circle. He was the winner of the 2010 English Song Competition and of the 2010 Joan Chisell Schumann Prize at the RAM.
Solo performances with orchestras include Haydn’s Seasons, Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder, Handel’s Israel in Egypt and Messiah, Bach’s Passions and Christmas Oratorio, Tippett’s The Child of Our Time, Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, Brahms’ German Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Stravinsky’s Les Noces.
Johnny is grateful to be a Sickle Foundation Scholar, and has also been generously supported by the John Lewis Partnership, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Josephine Baker Trust.
Ruth Jenkins grew up in Newcastle upon Tyne and graduated in Land Economy from the University of Cambridge in 2008. She was taught by David Lowe and sang with Jesus College Chapel Choir under Dan Hyde, with whom she recorded the NAXOS Charles Wood St. Mark Passion. She gave several principle performances with the Cambridge University Opera Society.
Ruth is currently studying with Lillian Watson and Audrey Hyland on the Opera Course at the Royal Academy of Music. She has performed Fiordiligi in Mozart Così fan tutte and Zhou in the world premiere of Peter Maxwell Davies Kommilitonen! with Royal Academy Opera. Her Opera Scenes with the Royal Academy include Cleopatra in Handel Giulio Cesare, Susanna inMozart Le Nozze di Figaro, Fox in Janáček The Cunning Little Vixen, Nero inMonteverdi L’incoronazione di Poppea and Zdenka inStrauss Arabella. Other opera roles include Donna Anna in Mozart Don Giovanni, Gretel in Humperdinck Hansel and Gretel and Tiresias in Poulenc Les Mamelles di Tiresias.
Ruth is a Bach Kohn Scholar for the RAM/Kohn Foundation Bach Cantata Series and is a member of the prestigious Royal Academy of Music Song Circle, through which she made her debuts at King’s Place and the Wigmore Hall. She won the Pavarotti Prize 2011, won the Dame Eva Turner Operatic Award 2010, won first prize in the Jackdaw Vocal Awards 2010 at the Wigmore Hall, is the Leith Hill Festival Award Winner 2010, came second in the Clonter Opera Prize 2011, was a prize winner in the AESS Courtney Kenny English Song Competition and was a finalist in both the Richard Lewis Competition and the Nancy Nuttall Early Music Prize. She has undertaken masterclasses with Angelika Kirchschlager, Robert Tear, Barbara Bonney and Dame Ann Murray.
Performances include Papagena in Mozart The Magic Flute with Garsington Opera; Handel Messiah with Brian Kay at the Royal Albert Hall; The Cholmondeley Castle Proms Fireworks Concert with the Manchester Camerata, The RAM/Kohn Society Bach Cantata Series, The London English Song Festival on BBC Radio 3 In Tune and at The Forge Camden, A Tribute in Song to Clara Taylor with RAM Song Circle at the Wigmore Hall; Britten On This Island with William Vann for the Lennox Berkeley Society; Haydn Nelson Mass with the London Bach Choir at St. John’s Smith Square; Monteverdi Pur ti miro (L’Incoronazione di Poppea) with the Borealis Theatre; Valentine’s Concert with RAM Song Circle at the Wigmore Hall, Sunday For Sammy at Newcastle City Hall; Mendelssohn Lieder with RAM Song Circle at King’s Place; Mozart Exsultate Jubilate at Chichester Cathedral; Britten Les Illuminations with David Strange and the Royal Academy of Music String Orchestra; Bach Cantata 186 with members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Gentlemen of St. Johns Cambridge; Tavener The Bridegroom for the Deloitte Ignite Festival of Art at the Paul Hamyln Hall, Royal Opera House; Mozart Mass in C Minor with Stephen Cleobury at King’s College Chapel Cambridge; Bach B Minor Mass with the Brandenburg Sinfonia at St. Martin in the Fields; Premier of Zou Jianping Symphonic Poem with the City of London Sinfonia; Vivaldi Gloria with Stephen Cleobury, Florilegium and the Choir of King’s College Cambridge at St. David’s Hall Cardiff; A Musical Evening with Sir Thomas Allen and Malcolm Martineau at Auckland Castle.
Ruth’s future engagements include Königin der Nacht in Mozart Die Zauberflöte with Royal Academy Opera, Song Circle at the Wigmore Hall and the RAM/Kohn Society Bach Cantata Series.
Ruth is generously supported by the RAM Warne Award, the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, The Tillett Trust, The Colin Keer Foundation, the Josephine Baker Trust, the Sammy Johnson Memorial Fund and the Simon Fletcher Charitable Trust.
Gareth Brynmor John has performed widely around the UK, with performances including the St John and St Matthew Passions, the Mozart, Haydn, Stanford and Faure Requiems, Schubert Masses, the Messiah in St Martin in the Fields, and Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols in St John’s, Smith Square and Philharmonic Hall, Ljubljana. Gareth has a keen interest in song repertoire and is part of the RAM Song Circle. Recent performances include Brahms op. 71 in the Duke’s Hall and Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch in the David Josefowitz Recital Hall at the Royal Academy of Music. A forthcoming recital at King’s Place will feature works of Brahms.
In addition to concert work, Gareth’s opera roles have included the Gendarme in the CUOS production of Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tiresias; Eliab in Samuel Hogarth’s modern chamber opera, David and Goliath; the title role in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi as part of the Cambridge Summer Music Festival; the title role in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin with CUOS in West Road Concert Hall; Papageno in Mozart’s The Magic Flute with Shadwell Opera; Sid in Britten’s Albert Herring with Shadwell Opera; The Ferryman in Britten’s Curlew River (RAO); Claudio in Berlioz’s Beatrice and Benedict with Sir Colin Davis and John Copley (RAO); Speaker in Mozart’s The Magic Flute (RAO) and The Count in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro as part of the Amersham Festival.
Gareth graduated in 2007 from St John’s College, Cambridge, where he was a Choral Scholar and subsequently a Lay Clerk under David Hill and Andrew Nethsingha. He is now continuing his studies on the Royal Academy of Music Opera Course with Mark Wildman. Gareth is kindly supported by the Josephine Baker Trust and is the Reizenstein Scholar.
Northern Irish soprano Aoife Miskelly currently holds a Sickle Foundation scholarship with Royal Academy Opera, where she is in her final year studying with Jennifer Dakin and Audrey Hyland. Aoife is a Kohn Foundation Bach soloist for the RAM’s Bach cantata series and a member of the Academy’s Song Circle team, with whom she has appeared in recital at Wigmore Hall, the Oxford Lieder Festival and Chelsea Schubert Festival.
Aoife was the winner of the Hampshire National Singing Competition 2011, the Bernadette Greevy Bursary Final 2011 at the National Concert Hall, Dublin and the 2011 BBC NI Young Artists Platform Award sponsored by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. She is also a Sybil Tutton Opera Award recipient, administered by the Musicians Benevolent Fund, a Britten-Pears Young Artist, Internationale Meistersinger Akademie Young Artist and is grateful for the continuing support she receives from the Josephine Baker Trust.
Recent highlights include playing Pamina, Despina, Sophie Scholl in the world premiere of Kommilitonen! by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies for Royal Academy Opera, Sophie (Werther) for Les Azuriales Opera, France, The Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel for NI Opera.
For more information please visit www.aoifemiskelly.com
Among the younger generation of British baritones, Robert Rice has established a reputation as an insightful interpreter of challenging repertoire. He is a valued collaborator and creator of roles in modern chamber opera and music theatre, as well as a concert singer of distinction. Having been a choral scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, and a postgraduate at the Royal Academy of Music under Mark Wildman, he continued his studies with Richard Smart and Sheila Barnes.
As a concert artist Robert undertakes a wide variety of repertoire. Concerts in 2010 included Elgar’s The Kingdom in Sherborne Abbey, Mendelssohn’s Paulus at Snape, and Carmina Burana and semi-staged opera in Srebrenica and Vienna. This season he sings Bach’s St John Passion in Chichester, Chelmsford and Lincoln Cathedrals, and gives recitals for York Late Music and the London English Song Festival.
His stage work often involves contemporary music: he has toured Bosnia, Scotland and England with Opera Circus, appearing as Hasan in Nigel Osborne’s well-received Differences in Demolitions, and in their previous production Arcane, with music by Paul Clark. Further stage appearances include Demas The Pilgrim’s Progress (Sadler’s Wells/Hickox), Sailor Dido and Aeneas (Chatelet/McCreesh), Herakles The Birds, Tempter The Martyrdom of St Magnus (both for The Opera Group), title role Darwin’s Dream (RAH), King Eight Songs for a Mad King (South Bank). He created the Ivory Carver in Judith Bingham’s The Ivory Tree (St Edmundsbury Cathedral).
Robert has recorded Judas The Apostles with Canterbury Choral Society and the Philharmonia Orchestra. He is also featured on Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 with the Southern Sinfonia and the Rodolfus Choir, and the Dufay Collective’s The Play of Daniel. His recording of Cornelius’ Die Drei Könige (The Three Kings) with the choir Polyphony is a favourite on both Classic FM and BBC Radio 3 whenever Christmas approaches. A skilled arranger of vocal music in many genres, he is published by Novello & Co. Ltd.
Jonathan Sells is currently a member of the International Opera Studio at the Zurich Opera House. He gained distinctions both at Cambridge University (Music and Musicology) and on the opera course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (studying with Raymond Connell and Janice Chapman), where he was subsequently a Guildhall Artist Fellow. In 2009, he won the Rose Bowl at the Guildhall Gold Medal, and was awarded the Prix Thierry Mermod for singers at the Verbier Festival Academy and the Worshipful Company of Musicians’ Silver Medal. He was awarded the bronze Gottlob Frick Medal in 2011.
Operatic roles include Bottom, Monteverdi’s Orfeo, Don Alfonso, Count Almaviva, Leporello, Der König (Orff Die Kluge), Rossini’s Bartolo, and Slook (Rossini La Cambiale di matrimonio), with companies including Opéra de Paris, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Teatro Real, Madrid and Opernhaus Zürich. In summer 2012 he will give his debut as Rossini’s Figaro in Switzerland. In concert he works regularly with John Eliot Gardiner and William Christie, and has recorded the role of Plutone in Monteverdi’s Ballo dell’ingrate with I Fagiolini.
Jonathan Sells studied French song with Malcolm Martineau on the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme and German Lieder with Graham Johnson at the GSMD, and considers song performance a very important part of his work. He gave his debut recital at Wigmore Hall in 2010, has sung at Leeds Lieder+, London Song Festival, City of London Festival, and Chelsea Schubert Festival, and is preparing for the world premiere in May of Edward Rushton’s 40-minute scena for baritone and piano, Pandora, organische Maschine.
Kate Symonds-Joy was educated at Cambridge University, where she graduated with a First Class Music degree from Gonville and Caius College. She then studied on the Royal Academy Opera course with Lillian Watson and Audrey Hyland, graduating with a DipRAM and the Charles Norman Prize. She was the winner of the 2011 Thelma King Vocal Award and was awarded the Basil A Turner Prize for her role Bianca in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia for BYO.
Recent projects include Mrs Herring in Britten’s Albert Herring for Britten Pears in Aldeburgh, Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte for RAO, a sequence of danced performances of Handel’s Messiah with Bordeaux Opera, the title role in Bizet’s Carmen for Kentish Opera, Medea in Cavalli’s Giasone for RAO conducted by Jane Glover, Ino in Handel’s Semele for RAO with Sir Charles Mackerras, and Florence Pike in Britten’s Albert Herring for RAO directed by John Copley.
Concert work includes Ravel’s Chansons Madecasses at the Purcell Room, Rutter’s Feel the Spirit at the Barbican, Mahler’s 2nd Symphony in Cadogan Hall, a recording of Giles Swayne’s Stabat Mater for NAXOS and performance at St Johns, Smith Square, Handel arias for the Bydgoszcz Philharmonic in Warsaw, Berlioz’ Nuits d’ete with the Haydn Chamber Orchestra, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis in King’s College Chapel, Mozart’s Requiem in Snape Maltings, Haydn’s Harmoniemesse in Cadogan Hall, Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody with the Sinfonia of Cambridge, a tour of Handel’s Messiah with the London Festival Orchestra, Verdi’s Requiem in the Thaxted Festival and Baba the Turk (cover) for Garsington Opera.
Recent recitals include the Wigmore Hall as part of the Royal Academy Song Circle and ‘Cautionary Tales for the Nice and Naughty’ in the ‘For Crying out Loud’ scheme, Berio’s Sequenza III in the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, a recital for the Richard Strauss Society and Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos in recital for Cambridge University’s 800th Anniversary Celebrations. She was recently selected to study Schumann Lieder with Malcolm Martineau on the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme.
The oboist James Turnbull is an accomplished recitalist whose debut solo disc, “Fierce Tears” was released in 2011 by Quartz Music. This was recorded with pianist Huw Watkins and harpist Claire Jones and contains a number of world premiere recordings by contemporary British composers. It has garnered positive reviews from numerous publications such as Gramophone Magazine who called it ‘a notable debut for Turnbull’ and Classical Music Magazine who selected it as an Editor’s Choice recording. As a featured artist of the Concert Promoters Network and the Countess of Munster Recital Scheme, James has performed many recitals throughout the UK and appeared in festivals including Swaledale, King’s Lynn and Cambridge Summer Music. In 2010 he gave his debut recital at the Wigmore Hall as a Maisie Lewis award winner from the Worshipful Company of Musicians. James performs regularly with pianists Elizabeth Burgess, Craig White and harpist Claire Jones. Concerto performances include Richard Strauss’s Oboe Concerto with Southbank Sinfonia, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante K. 297b with the Konstanz Philharmonie in Germany and Bach’s Concerto for Oboe and Violin at St John’s Smith Square.
James is deeply committed to expanding the oboe repertoire. Composers including Patrick Hawes, Thomas Hewitt Jones and Norbert Froehlich have written for him. Most recently he recorded Thomas Hewitt Jones’ Sonata Cimarella for Vivum Records which was released in May 2011. He has also worked closely with composers Michael Berkeley, John Woolrich, Thea Musgrave and Tansy Davies on their compositions for oboe. James has a keen interest in researching lost repertoire and bringing to new audiences works which have been rarely performed. Future performances include a premier of a new edition by Christopher Hogwood of Thomas Attwood Walmisley’s Sonatina No. 1.
Aside from his performing interests, James is dedicated to broadening the appeal of the oboe and encouraging young people to start learning the instrument. To this end, he has begun an education and outreach project called ‘The Young Person’s Guide to the Oboe’. Launching in 2012, this initiative will see James tour numerous schools in the UK to promote the oboe and its repertoire. This will be accompanied by the launch of a new website LearnToPlayTheOboe.com.
James was seven when he began his oboe studies, learning with Irene Pragnell, Melanie Ragge, Celia Nicklin, Tess Miller and Chris Cowie. After gaining a First Class degree in music from Christ Church, Oxford University, James continued his oboe studies at the Royal Academy of Music and under Nicholas Daniel at Trossingen Musikhochschule in Germany, where he was awarded First Class for both his Artist and Soloist Diplomas. James has won scholarships from the English Speaking Union, AHRC, The Countess of Munster Trust, Musicians’ Benevolent Fund, Martin Musical Trust and the Harriet Cohen Musical Trust.
James is also an active chamber and orchestral musician. He has freelanced throughout Europe with the the Wroclaw Philarmonic in Poland, the Russian Chamber Orchestra of St Petersburg and Konstanz Philharmonie in Germany. In the UK James has played with the Britten Sinfonia, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Southbank Sinfonia, the Allegri Quartet and the Berkeley Ensemble.
William Vann is establishing himself at the forefront of the current generation of young British accompanists. He was born and brought up in Bedford before reading law and taking up a choral scholarship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he was taught the piano by Peter Uppard. He then studied accompaniment at the Royal Academy of Music with Malcolm Martineau and Colin Stone, graduating with distinction; in 2008 he won the Gerald Moore award for young accompanists and in 2010 won the Great Elm Awards Accompanist Prize. He is also a past winner of the Sir Henry Richardson Scholarship and the Michael Head Prize, is supported by the Geoffrey Parsons Memorial Trust, and held the Hodgson Fellowship in piano accompaniment at the RAM.
Recent performances have included the Samling Foundation’s fifteenth anniversary at Wigmore Hall with Sir Thomas Allen, Malcolm Martineau, Jennifer France, Kitty Whateley and Njabulo Madlala, Winterreise here at The Forge with Johnny Herford, appearances at the Aldeburgh Festival, the Sage, Gateshead, St John’s, Smith Square, Lagos Cathedral, Nigeria, Lund Cathedral, Sweden and guest performances for the Lennox Berkeley, Elgar, Finzi and Gurney Societies. In 2011 he founded the London English Song Festival at The Forge, curating and playing in all five recitals. Other forthcoming appearances include a concert of song in St James’s, Piccadilly, a guest recital for the John Ireland Society to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the composer’s death at St Luke’s, Chelsea and several recitals across England with mezzo-soprano Katie Bray.
In addition to his performances of standard song repertoire, he has also either commissioned or given the first performances of new English songs and song cycles by many English composers, including Christian Alexander, Joseph Atkins, Martin Eastwood, Johnny Herford, David Nield and Graham Ross (the latter two at Wigmore Hall).
He is a Samling Scholar, a Yeoman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, a Young Songmaker and a former Britten-Pears Young Artist. He also works as a conductor and repetiteur and was the assistant conductor for Bury Court Opera’s 2011 production of Rigoletto in association with Southbank Sinfonia; he will return this year for La Cenerentola. He is a coach on the Oxenfoord International Summer School and in May will take up the position of Director of Music at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. He can be found online at www.williamvann.com.