Harriet Astbury graduated from the University of Huddersfield with First Class Honours in Music and was awarded the Music Department Singing Prize. Harriet is a former member and soloist of the internationally renowned Cantamus Girls’ Choir and pupil of Pamela Cook MBE. During her 10 years as a member of the choir, Harriet performed extensively in Europe and Asia participating in international concerts and competitions. Some of these include the Maasmechelen Music Festival in Belgium, European Choir Games in Austria and The Voyage of Song competition in Malaysia and Singapore. She has also performed with the choir at St David’s Hall, Cardiff and at the BBC Proms at The Royal Albert Hall.
As part of a small ensemble, Harriet has performed operatic scenes of Mozart, Verdi and Bizet and was featured as a soloist on a broadcast for BBC Radio 3 as part of the University of Huddersfield Chamber Choir. She also holds the Michael Peake award for Outstanding Oratorio Performance. Harriet’s recent solo performances include Vivaldi’s Gloria, Haydn’s Little Organ and Maria Theresa Masses. Past performances include the works of Finzi, Faure, Britten and Mozart.
Soprano Vanessa Bowers graduated with an MA with distinction in Opera Performance, at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff in 2013, having previously studied at the Royal Academy of Music and ENO’s Opera Works. She recently sang the role of Tiny in Britten’s Paul Bunyan for Welsh National Youth Opera, for which she received critical acclaim.
Other recent roles include: Susanna, Galatea (Winterbourne Opera), Frasquita (St Magnus Festival) and Female Chorus (RWCMD). Future performances include the title role of Snegurochka by Rimsky Korsakov for UCOpera and Chorus with Garsington Opera Festival.
Philippa Boyle trained in Rome, at Conservatorio “Santa Cecilia”, graduating with full marks and distinction, and Santa Cecilia Opera Studio (Accademia Nazionale Santa Cecilia), where she studied with world-renowned soprano Renata Scotto. Prior to her studies in Italy, Philippa read Classics at Clare College, Cambridge, where she was a choral scholar.
Winner of the Emmy Destinn Young Singer Award for Czech opera and song, Philippa has performed at Aix-en-Provence Festival, Beijing Music Festival, Munich Opera Festival and Innsbruck Early Music Festival.
Opera roles include Tosca for King’s Head Theatre; Cathleen, Vaughan Williams Riders to the Sea (Wexford Festival Opera); cover Cockerel, Janáček The Cunning Little Vixen, semi-chorus, Brett Dean Hamlet (Glyndebourne Festival Opera); Alice Ford, Verdi Falstaff; Donna Anna, Don Giovanni; Giorgetta, Puccini Il Tabarro, Giunone, Cavalli La Calisto.
Oratorio engagements include Verdi Requiem (Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Leeds Town Hall; King’s College, Cambridge; Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford; Southwark Cathedral, Fulda Cathedral, Germany); Beethoven Missa Solemnis (Snape Maltings, St Albans Cathedral); Britten War Requiem (Oxford Town Hall); Handel Messiah (York Minster; Auditorio Manuel de Falla, Granada, Spain).
Abigail was born in Sutton-in-Ashfield and began singing when she was six. She attended the Minster School in Southwell and also became a principal soloist in the Cantamus Girls’ Choir before winning the title of Nottingham Young Musician of the year in 2009. Since then, she has continued to scale new heights. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2015 with a First-Class Honours degree and is currently enrolled on the Master of Arts course. Equally at home on the stage or in the recital room, Abigail is developing an impressive career at home and abroad. She made her Aldeburgh Festival debut in 2014 and has performed in a number of concert venues in the UK. Last year she undertook a tour of concerts in Boston, New York, Leipzig and London in collaboration with the Juilliard School under the baton of Masaaki Suzuki.