Local Stars Shine at Southwell Minster

News

When Bingham and District Choral Society and Southwell Choral Society performed their joint concert of French music in the beautiful venue of Southwell Minster last  weekend (7th May 2016), they were supported by a wealth of local talent. Each of the soloists performing with the choirs has strong links to the area.  Abigail Broughton sang the solo soprano part in Poulenc’s Gloria, while baritone Stephen Cooper and treble Alfie Smith were soloists in the Fauré Requiem.  Roger Bryan performed the Poulenc Organ Concerto.

Abigail BroughtonAbigail Broughton 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.

Stephen Cooper also has close links with Southwell Minster, where he is an Auxiliary Lay Clerk. He is a member of Nottingham Bach Choir and frequently takes solo roles in its concerts, including Christus in Bach’s St Matthew Passion at the Minster in 2012 and baritone soloist in Brahms’ German Requiem in 2013. In July this year, Stephen and his father John will be marking the centenary of the the Battle of The Somme in a Friday lunchtime recital at the Minster, to include songs by George Butterworth, who died at The Somme in August 1916.

Alfie Smith, treble, is a pupil of Minster School and a chorister at the Minster.

Organ soloist Roger Bryan, who lives and works in Newark, has had a distinguished career as a recitalist at home and abroad, performing with many leading orchestras. He has made an enormous contribution to musical life in the region. From 1992 until 2009, Roger was Master of the Song School at Newark.  He was also for several years Musical Director of the Lincoln Chorale, Lincolnshire’s well-established chamber orchestra. He is currently Musical Director of Newark Choral Society and also of the Trent Chamber Academy, based on Newark’s internationally famous School of Violin Making. He was for many years the accompanist to the Bingham and District Choral Society, retiring from that role last year. Roger also has a considerable reputation as a choir trainer, conductor and teacher.

With such a strong team of soloists and two fine choirs drawn from local communities, the concert filled the Minster with a glorious sound. The conductor was Guy Turner, who is Music Director of Bingham and District Choral Society and also a Lay Clerk at Southwell Minster.

Spring Events 2016

News

We have had two enjoyable and successful events this Spring Term: the Choral Workshop on 13th February 2016, led by Guy Turner, with Ed Turner accompanying, was well attended, and made a profit of about £450. Some of Guy’s Songs and Legends of Robin Hood was sung, and also some items from ‘European Choral Music’.

An Evening of Comic Songs, again with Guy and Ed, filled Colston Bassett Village Hall to capacity on 5th March 2016. A light supper was served, the bar was kept busy, the raffle was popular, and Guy provided a relaxed and amusing programme of material. A profit of about £1100 was made.

Handing Over the Baton

News

Neville Ward and Guy TurnerNeville Ward (right) and Guy Turner exchange a warm handshake at a concert given by the Bingham and District Choral Society at St Mary’s Church, Radcliffe-upon-Trent on 21st November 2015.

Neville formed the choir in 1972 and continued as its Musical Director until his retirement this year, when Guy was appointed to take on this role. Guy is holding a copy of his settings of Three Poems by W.B. Yeats, which he composed at the request of the choir as a tribute to Neville’s outstanding leadership over 43 years. The work was given its World Première at the concert, to the delight of the audience and to Neville in particular, who commented,

They are so skilfully composed and show such a sensitive and expressive response to the text. They will certainly provide a valuable addition to the choir’s repertoire and we feel privileged to have been present at their first public performance.’

Harriet Astbury

Soloists, Soprano

Harriet Astbury: SopranoHarriet 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.

Vanessa Bowers

Soloists, Soprano

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

Soloists, Soprano

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 Broughton

Soloists, Soprano

Abigail BroughtonAbigail 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.

Roger Bryan

Organist, Soloists

Roger Bryan, who lives and works in Newark, has had a distinguished career as a recitalist at home and abroad, performing with many leading orchestras. He has made an enormous contribution to musical life in the region. From 1992 until 2009, Roger was Master of the Song School at Newark. He was also for several years Musical Director of the Lincoln Chorale, Lincolnshire’s well-established chamber orchestra. He is currently Musical Director of Newark Choral Society and also of the Trent Chamber Academy, based on Newark’s internationally famous School of Violin Making. He was for many years the accompanist to the Bingham and District Choral Society, retiring from that role last year. Roger also has a considerable reputation as a choir trainer, conductor and teacher.

Colin Campbell

Baritone, Soloists

Colin Campbell is an established concert soloist and has appeared throughout the UK, in Europe, the U.S.A. and the Far East, in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to Tavener.

International concert performances include the arias in Bach’s St John and St Matthew Passions with Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert; Christus in Bach’s St Matthew Passion in Tampere, Finland and in Beijing, China (Chinese Premiere); Bach’s B Minor Mass in Japan and Korea with Sir John Eliot Gardiner; Beethoven’s Leonore at the Lincoln Center New York, the Salzburg Festival and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, also with Sir John Eliot Gardiner; Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem in Shanghai; and Marcel Dupré’s cantata De Profundis in Munich with the Bayerische Rundfunk and Marcello Viotti;

In the UK he has appeared at the Royal Albert Hall with the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Choir of King’s College Cambridge in Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols and with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Mahler’s Eighth Symphony. At the Queen Elizabeth Hall Colin has performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius and the City of London Sinfonia in Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem.  At Westminster Cathedral he has appeared with the Bach Choir and the English Chamber Orchestra in Fauré’s Requiem and has performed Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem at Symphony Hall, Birmingham.

Colin’s operatic repertoire is extensive and he has performed with Kent Opera, English Touring Opera, Welsh National Opera, Aix en Provence Festival, Bermuda Festival and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

 

Stephen Cooper

Baritone, Soloists

Stephen Cooper: BaritoneStephen began his singing career as a choirboy, finishing runner-up in the national Choirboy of the Year Awards in 1978. His adult solo performances have included the title roles in Elijah and Eugene Onegin, and past recitals have included Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin at the Leicestershire Literature Festival. He has also commissioned a song/duet cycle setting of A Village Romeo and Juliet, with words by Radio 4’s Nigel Forde and music by Suffolk composer Jack Hawes. The first performances were given with soprano Caroline Palmer in 1993.

Stephen has been a member of Nottingham Bach Choir, conducted by Paul Hale, since 2001, and frequently takes solo roles in their concerts, including Christus in Bach’s St Matthew Passion, performed at Southwell Minster in March 2012, and baritone soloist in Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem in June 2013. Stephen is an Auxiliary Lay Clerk at Southwell Minster, and has joined the Minster Chorale as a soloist on a number of occasions, including Vaughan Williams’ Mystical Songs in 2014. In July 2016 Stephen will be accompanied by his father John in a Friday lunchtime recital at the Minster, which will include songs by George Butterworth, who died at The Somme in August 1916.