St John Passion – Details of the soloistsThe Festival Chorus

THE PRINCIPALS

Andrea Brown, Conductor. Andrea Brown is a British Choral Conductor and Artistic Director. Conducting ‘with spirit and vitality – and musical integrity always at its core’, Andrea has also directed and devised award-winning festivals and concert seasons across the globe.

Andrea is the Musical Director of the Esterhazy Singers, The Festival Chorus, and Associate Conductor and Vocal Coach of the Fourth Choir, North London Chorus and ENO Community Chorus. She recently founded Tippett Voices, a professional ensemble with recent concerts at St Georges Cathedral and the Imperial War Museum. Andrea works regularly as conductor with other choirs including the London Oriana Choir, Borough Chamber Choir, BBC Singers and the Southbank Centre’s Voicelab. With a professional singing background, Andrea has performed in some of the finest concert halls across Europe including Theatre du Chatelet, Concertgebouw, Barbican Centre, Berliner Philharmonie and the Peristile in Split, Croatia.

Andrea was awarded the Alan Kirby Prize for Choral Leadership at the Royal Academy of Music and scholarships for singing study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. As Director of Music at Morley College, she led a number of ground-breaking projects with organisations including the Cadogan Hall, Royal Ballet, Serious, Southbank Sinfonia and the Southbank Centre. Recent highlights include conducting performances with Guildhall, Centre for Young Musicians, Sadlers Wells and with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Singers, Voicelab and 400 students in Tippett’s ‘A Child of Our Time’ at the Royal Festival Hall. She has been the Music Director of Diversity Choir, Morley Chamber Choir, Koruso! and the Artistic Director of Various Voices, an international choral festival at the Southbank Centre which was awarded an Inspire mark from the London 2012 Olympics Committee. An active member of the Association of British Choral Directors, Andrea has judged choral competitions for choirs in the UK, Europe and South East Asia.

Andrea co-founded the award-winning Women Conductors programme, designed to encourage, educate and promote women within the conducting profession. Andrea is also a guest radio presenter, most recently presenting the ‘Classical Wandsworth’ show at times throughout the year.

Alison Hill, Soprano. Alison is much in demand as a soloist, ensemble singer and teacher throughout the UK and abroad. She sings with several world class ensembles including the Monteverdi Choir, I Fagiolini and Polyphony, and has performed in many of the world’s top concert halls, frequently appearing as a soloist with these groups. Her roles have included singing solos in Handel’s Israel in Egypt on a tour with the Monteverdi Choir, appearing as a soloist at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in a programme of J C Bach cantatas, and singing solos in the Queen Elizabeth Hall with The Sixteen. Alison also regularly performs as a soloist across the UK, with recent notable performances including Monteverdi Vespers in Winchester Cathedral, and Bach Johannes-Passion in Salisbury Cathedral. She was also nominated for a Gramophone Award for a recording of Howell Sine Nomine with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Alison is a Trustee of songbound.com, a charity that provides choirs for marginalised children in India.

Esther Brazil, Contralto. Called “truly exceptional” by The Observer for her performance of Bach at the Royal Albert Hall, Esther Brazil is in great demand as a concert soloist and baroque specialist. After graduating from Oxford, where she was a choral scholar at The Queen’s College and read Philosophy and Theology, she studied at the Royal Academy of Music, receiving generous support in the form of a full scholarship for both years from the Lucille Graham Trust and Kohn Foundation, and graduated with an MA with Distinction.

Esther made her Carnegie Hall and BBC Proms debuts as Ninfa in Monteverdi L’Orfeo in a US-wide tour with the English Baroque Soloists and John Eliot Gardiner in 2015, and was an artist in residence at the Incontri in Terra di Siena festival with the Accademia Monteverdiana in Sarteano, Tuscany, where she performed Monteverdi’s madrigals with a distinguished group of hand-picked soloists. In 2014 she performed and recorded Bach’s spectacular solo cantata Mein Herze Schwimmt im Blut (BWV 199) with John Eliot Gardiner, and is a soloist on the Monteverdi Choir’s new recording of Bach’s B Minor Mass as well as the recent single-voices recording by The Dunedin Consort of Monteverdi’s Vespers (2017). A finalist in the London Bach Society’s Bach Singers Prize, she has also appeared as a soloist with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Joseph Doody, Tenor. Joseph studied at the University of Edinburgh, the Royal College of Music and is a recent graduate of the National Opera Studio. His operatic performances include the title roles in Albert Herring and The Rake’s Progress, as well as Jupiter Semele, Basilio Le Nozze di Figaro Damon Acis and Galatea, Pylade in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, Ernesto Don Pasquale and Conte Almaviva Il Barbiere di Siviglia, for Regents Opera in 2018.

Recent concert performances include Bach’s St John Passion (arias) with the choir of Somerville College, Oxford, Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with Skipton Camerata, Carmina Burana at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, and Mozart’s Requiem at St Martin-in-the-Fields. He has sung with groups including the Dunedin Consort, the Armonico Consort, and Britten Sinfonia Voices, at venues all over the UK and abroad. Future concerts include Bach Mass in B minor in Stockton and Haydn Creation in Penrith
Joseph Doody has performed in master classes with Bruce Ford, Lisa Gasteen, David Parry and Nelly Miriciou, and continues to study privately with Tim Evans-Jones.

Ben Johnson, Tenor, Evangelist. A former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist and ENO Harewood Artist, 2008 winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Award, and a Wigmore Hall Emerging Talent, Ben represented England at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 2013, winning the Audience Prize. He is the Founder and Chief Conductor of the Southrepps Sinfonia, joint Artistic Director of the Southrepps Classical Music Festival. and a professor of singing at the Royal College of Music, London.

Highlights of Ben’s 2017/18 season include a return to English National Opera as Earl Tolloller in Gilbert and Sullivan Iolanthe. He will sing Kodaly Te Deum at the Last Night of the BBC Proms; Britten War Requiem at De Doelen and the Concertgebouw Brugge; and Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne. Ben’s current and forthcoming recordings include Szymanowski Love Songs of Hafiz, a recording of sonnet settings with Graham Johnson and a collection of Victorian English songs with James Baillieu

Ben has recently sung the roles of Eisenstein Die Fledermaus, Don Ottavio Don Giovanni, Alfredo La traviata, Tamino Magic Flute and Nemorino The Elixir of Love. He took the role of Novice Billy Budd at Glyndebourne. Much in demand on the concert platform, Ben recently performed Jaquino in Beethoven Fidelio with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and (as this evening) the Evangelist in Bach St John Passion with the RTÉ National Symphony. He is a dedicated recitalist, working regularly with Graham Johnson, James Baillieu, Roger Vignoles, and Tom Primrose.

Stephan Loges, Bass. Born in Dresden, Stephan was a member of the Dresden Kreuzchor before studying at the Hochschule der Kunste, Berlin and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He was an early winner of the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition. Stephan has given recitals throughout the world, including regular appearances at the Wigmore Hall, London as well as Carnegie Hall, New York, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Vienna Konzerthaus, Klavierfestival Ruhr, La Monnaie Brussels, Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Santiago de Compostela, BBC Radio 3, Musée d’Orsay, Paris and the Vocal Arts Series in Washington.
Plans for this season and beyond include returning to the Theater an der Wien to sing Sprecher Die Zauberflöte with René Jacobs; and the roles of The Blind Man/Alphonse in the world première of Mark Grey Frankenstein at La Monnaie Brussels. Concert plans include Bernstein Songfest with MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, and Bach Christmas Oratorio with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski. He will return to give recitals at the Wigmore Hall and the Oxford Lieder Festival.

Matthew Durkan, Bass, Jesus. Winner of the 2014 Stuart Burrows International Voice Award and a finalist in the 2014 Kathleen Ferrier Competition, Matthew is a recent graduate of the National Opera Studio. Now a Harewood Artist at the English National Opera, his roles for the company in the 2017/18 season include Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Fiorello The Barber of Seville and Malcolm Fleet in the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s Marnie.

Matthew’s previous roles at ENO have also included Ormonte Partenope, Marullo Rigoletto and Yamadori Madam Butterfly. Elsewhere, he has sung Masetto in a new production of Don Giovanni for the Opéra de Rouen Haute Normandie, and in Versailles, the role of Captain in Hartmann Simplicius Simplicissimus for Independent Opera at Sadler’s Wells and Melisso Alcina and Elviro Serse for Longborough Festival Opera.  Future engagements include further roles with ENO and debuts with English Touring Opera, The Opéra Comédie de Montpellier and Glyndebourne on Tour.

THE SINCLAIR SINFONIA

Violin
Christian Halstead
Olga Popova
Richard Wade
Sarah Plummer

Oakki Lau
Rebecca Coleman
Nicola Enderby
Paula Tysall

Viola/Viola d’Amore
Rachel Byrt
Sam Kennedy
Nicola Blakey

Cello
Miriam Lowbury
Double Bass/Viola da Gamba
Jan Zahourek

Flute
Rachel Brown
Amelia Shakespeare

Oboe/Oboe d’Amore/Oboe da Caccia
Gerry McDonald
Debby England

Bassoon
Nathaniel Harrison

Organ
Pawel Siwczak

Nickolai Ginov
Kathleen Ross

CHORUS UPDATES

10.05.20 - Lockdown vocal sessions

The Festival Chorus will be running six vocal sessions on Mondays at 7pm from 18th May. These will be led by Robert Mingay-Smith and will comprise a warm-up and some […]

16.03.20 - 28th March Concert Cancellation

It is with great regret that the committee of The Festival Chorus announce that with immediate effect all rehearsals are cancelled and the concert on the 28th March has also […]

29.10.19 - Save the Date – 25th January 2020

We have yet to finalise the details , but we will be hosting a Come and Sing day on the 25th January. We will be rehearsing and performing Durufle’s Requiem. […]