Peter, currently a Lay Clerk at Southwell Minster, is a freelance tenor, pianist and composer. He is closely involved with the professional choral world, having sung with renowned groups such as Ex Cathedra, the Armonico Consort and the Chapterhouse Choir, York. He studied at Birmingham Conservatoire, and focused primarily on early performance practice and keyboard improvisation. When not singing, he can be found working on restoring one of the multitude of harmoniums, accordions or melodions he has collected over the years.
Organist and harpsichordist Michael Overbury’s early musical influences centred on Farnham and London, where he was introduced to the glories of the English liturgical tradition, and it was here also that his organ teacher Stephen Thomson inspired in him a love of the harpsichord.
Horizons broadened with an Organ Scholarship to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. After graduating he held a number of posts including deputy organist and choir master at the Cathedral and Abbey Church at St Alban’s. After winning First Prize in the 1982 Manchester International Organ Competition, he appeared twice as soloist at the Royal Festival Hall and has continued to play with many choirs and orchestras.
He is currently accompanist to Ruddington and District Choral Society, and to Sinfonia Chorale.
Originally from Bath, Robert is a Graduate and Fellow of the Trinity College of Music, London. He studied horn with John Burden, former principal horn of the London Symphony Orchestra and top session player – the John Burden Horn Quartet can be heard at the start of the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club album!
Robert has appeared as a soloist across the country including in London, Somerset, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, and the East Midlands. He has performed concerti by J S Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Telemann, Schumann and Richard Strauss, and also Benjamin Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, becoming something of a champion of the horn and new music for the horn along the way… He has had music written especially for him, including Andy Evans’ Horn Concerto which he premièred in 2009 at the Albert Hall, Nottingham. Andy said that he wrote the piece ‘to showcase Robert’s lyrical and sensitive playing, that I have listened to over many years’. Robert was invited to play the horn obbligato in A Celebration of Psalms, a new choral work composed in 2013 by Burton Joyce based David Machell, who then wrote a Horn Concerto for him. Robert gave a “bravura performance” at its première in St Mary’s Church, Nottingham in July 2018. He is looking forward immensely to playing the horn obbligato part in Guy Turner’s Lux Aeterna with the B&DCS on 17th November 2018.
As a busy freelance musician, Robert plays principal horn with the English Pro Musica, Lincolnshire Chamber Orchestra British Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, National Festival Orchestra (including ten years with the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival at Buxton’s Opera House), along with numerous other professional orchestras, and has been a member of the Southwell Festival Sinfonia since its inception in 2014, under the baton of artistic director Marcus Farnsworth. Robert enjoys chamber music, performing with the Hough Ensemble (a piano and wind group) at a variety of venues, including Nottingham’s Theatre Royal, Worksop College as part of their Worksop Music Concert Series, Grantham Music Club and Bingham Community Arts. He also regularly gives horn and piano recitals with Antony Clare.
The year 2018 heralds Robert’s 25th anniversary as Music Director of the Nottingham Concert Band, a thriving community band based in West Bridgford. They are fresh from their tenth season of Proms in the Park, having celebrated Armed Forces Day in Bridgford Park on 30th June 2018 in collaboration with Rushcliffe Borough Council. He is currently grants and donations officer for the British Horn Society as well as being a member of the executive committee, and has been active in co-organising a number of BHS national festivals, most recently in 2017 in Glasgow: this year’s festival is on 21st October 2018 in Cardiff.
For relaxation, Robert and his wife Ann enjoy walking their greyhound Mr Piper by the River Trent, and tending their allotment.
Elizabeth is a graduate of Royal Holloway, University of London, where she gained an honours degree in Music whilst specialising in solo performance. Alongside her studies, she sang as a choral scholar with the college’s highly acclaimed chapel choir, and also sang regularly as a soloist with Royal Holloway’s Early Music Society and the college’s ‘Undergraduated’ Big Band. Now based in London, Elisabeth enjoys a busy career as a freelance soloist, choral singer and choir administrator. She sings regularly with a number of ensembles including St Martin’s Voices, The Erebus Ensemble, The Portrait Choir, Sansara, Eboracum Baroque, the Choir of St Peter’s Church Eaton Square, The Echoris Ensemble, and the National Youth Chamber Choir of Great Britain, and she is one 5th of the classical-crossover girl group Celeste. Elisabeth is an alumna of the Genesis Sixteen choral training programme, which is generously supported by the Genesis Foundation and run by Harry Christophers and Eamonn Dougan, and she held a choral scholarship at St Martin-in-the-Fields for the academic year 2013-2014. Choral singing has taken Elisabeth on tours of Sweden, Italy, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Malaysia, and the US, as well as all over the UK, and she has sung for world renowned conductors at the BBC Proms including Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Simon Rattle, and Daniel Barenboim. She has had the opportunity to sing on several live radio and television broadcasts including BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Worship, BBC Radio 3’s In Tune and Choral Evensong, BBC One’s Songs of Praise, The Royal British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance, and services at The Cenotaph and St Martin-in-the-Fields to commemorate the 70th Anniversaries of VE Day and VJ Day. She has also recorded critically acclaimed discs for Hyperion.
James read Music at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and Royal Holloway, University of London, before undertaking postgraduate training in vocal performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, studying with Adrian Thompson.
James made his international debut as Ferrando Così fan tutte with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra at the Birgitta Festival, Tallinn, in 2016. Other operatic highlights include Don Ottavio Don Giovanni, Bardolfo Falstaff (Black Cat Opera Company) and Remendado Carmen (OperaUpClose). Earlier this year, he made his solo debut at St Martin-in-the-Fields, in a performance of Mozart’s Requiem alongside the Brandenburg Sinfonia.
When not singing, James is also active as a musicologist, and is currently studying for a PhD on the music of George Enescu at Royal Holloway, where he is also a visiting tutor. www.jamessavagehanford.com.
James Williams was born in London and studied at the Royal Academy of Music. Since graduating, James has distinguished himself as a successful artist on the operatic stage as well as in concert and recital.
In 2015-16, James completed the trilogy of the Mozart/Da Ponte operas, performing the title role of Don Giovanni, Don Alfonso/Così fan tutte and Il Conte/Le nozze di Figaro in fully-staged productions across the UK with Dulwich Opera Company and Opera Seria.
In oratorio, James has performed as baritone soloist in: Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem, Finzi’s In Terra Pax, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, and Jonathan Rathbone’s Christmas Truce.