Harriet Astbury read Music at the University of Huddersfield obtaining First Class Honours. She was also awarded the University 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 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. She also holds the Michael Peake award for Outstanding Oratorio Performance.
Her recent solo performances include Brahms Requiem, Bach Cantatas BMV 202 and 209 and Haydn’s Creation.
She is currently studying under the tutelage of Rachel Nicholls.
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.
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 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.
Caroline Clemmow has a rich and varied musical background. As a talented young violinist, she led the Kent County Youth Orchestra whilst still focussing mainly on her pianistic skills. She was awarded a piano scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where she won many prizes for both solo and ensemble playing. As a chamber musician she collaborated with many instrumentalists (both string and wind) and singers and became a founder member of the Hartley Piano Trio, which gained international recognition by its concert and festival appearances, broadcasts and numerous recordings, including the complete trios of Spohr on the Naxos label.
While also performing concertos and giving recitals as a soloist Caroline derives particular pleasure from the field of chamber music; she has worked with such diverse groups as Serenata, Kaleidoscope and the Koenig Ensemble, and has covered an extremely wide repertoire, ranging from the classics and romantics to complex twentieth-century works with the last-named group in a seven-city tour of the former Soviet Union, and percussion-and-piano works with Evelyn Glennie. Her many activities have led to numerous London concerts, regular broadcasts and invitations to major festivals.
An important part of her work was the celebrated piano duo with Anthony Goldstone, who died in 2017, described by Gramophone as “a dazzling husband and wife team”. They had a unique and enterprising repertoire on one and two pianos and were critically acclaimed for their pioneering broadcasts and CD recordings, the latter over forty in number, including a ground-breaking seven-CD cycle of the complete original piano duets of Schubert. Their BBC broadcasts often included first hearings of unjustly neglected works, demonstrating their painstaking research by mixing famous masterpieces and fascinating rarities, and they built up an international following.
Stephen 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.
Richard Dowling is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music’s Opera Course, where he was privileged to perform the role of Tom Rakewell in Stravinsky’s ‘The Rake’s Progress’ and as a soloist in the Academy’s complete Bach cantatas series. He is now supported by Opera Prelude and regularly appears in their concerts and lectures.
He sang the role of Ferrando in Mozart’s ‘Cosi fan tutte’ with West Green Opera and, working with the inspirational Graham Vick, performed the role of the Sailor in Birmingham Opera Company’s production of Purcell’s ‘Dido and Aeneas’. He has sung the role of Nemorino in Donizetti’s ‘Elisir d’amore’ with Jackdaws OperaPLUS. He has been a regular with Garsington Opera and amongst other roles performed as the Glassmaker in Britten’s ‘Death in Venice’ conducted by Steuart Bedford. He also sang the role of Count Almaviva in Rossini’s ‘The Barber of Seville’ as a young artist with Mid Wales Opera.
He is also an experienced oratorio artist, engagements including Britten’s ‘Ballad of Heroes’ and Mozart’s ‘Requiem’ in the Bridgewater Hall, Finzi’s ‘Dies Natalis’ in Brentwood Cathedral, Janacek’s ‘Otcenas’ in Gorton Monastery and the ‘Messiah’ in Lincoln Cathedral.