2020 - life and music making in the time of a pandemic
Sun, Nov 8 2020 08:36
I began this year with great intentions to write more regularly about my singing career. Like everyone else my life has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and so here I am in November, writing my first blog of 2020. Unlike so many others I have been fortunate to remain healthy through this time, as has my family, and for that I'm very grateful. Spending so much time with my young children during the spring lockdown was both precious and tiring! Preserving my mental health became a more pressing concern during that time and I found great comfort in getting out into nature as much as possible by walking and running through the woodland and common land near to where I live.
While so much of the classical music industry has come to a complete standstill, the BBC Singers has continued to work at the Maida Vale studios, while adhering to strict COVID secure measures. I count myself very fortunate to be able to continue to sing with this group
during a time of so much uncertainty. The experience of performing in the Royal Albert Hall for the Last Night of the Proms 2020 will remain with me for a long time.
In October it was a very great pleasure to join Solomon's Knot for a concert performance of our Purcell Pageant at the Hamburg Laeiszhalle as part of the early music series 'Das Alte Werk'. We gave two hour-long concerts on the 26 October at 6.30pm and 9pm. Only a few days later, stricter measures were announced in Germany meaning that all concert halls and opera houses would be closed during November. We were especially fortunate therefore to have this chance to make music together. Performing with Solomon's Knot is always special, but it was doubly so this time. All around me I felt a determination to make the absolute most of this precious opportunity. As well as being a tremendously exciting musical experience, the abiding memory which persists for me is of having been in the same space as all those wonderful people, both performers and audience, united by a wish to share in the extraordinary experience of live music making. In a year which has been marked by physical separation and isolation from loved ones, friends and colleagues, that experience of togetherness was deeply moving.
Rehearsing in Hamburg for the Purcell Pageant with Solomon's Knot
Tue, Dec 10 2019 10:30
It's been a busy year and my website has been shamefully neglected. Here follows an update on the last year and a promise of more regular updates in the year to come.
Earlier in 2019 I was delighted to be appointed to the BBC Singers as a permanent member of the choir. Concert highlights so far have included singing at the Last Night of Proms and being conducted by the late Sir Stephen Cleobury in a performance of Vaughan William's Serenade to Music in King's College Chapel, Cambridge, alongside the choir of King's College and the Britten Sinfonia.
2019 has been a busy and exciting time for Solomon's Knot and has included debut performances at the Wigmore Hall, the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms and at the Ryedale Festival. I have been involved in 4 new programmes with the group: Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Pastorale sur la nuisance de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ and In navitatem Domini canticum (7 December York National Early Music Centre and 9 December St John Smith's Square), Fear and Hope (Schütz, Schein, Kuhnau, Byrd and Tallis for Bachwochen, Thun, Kirche Amsoldigen, Switzerland Sept 2019 and 7 Nov London International Festival of Early Music, Blackheath), Bach Cantatas for St Michael (BBC Proms and Ryedale Festival, August 2019), A Purcell Pageant (including music from the Fairy Queen - Ryedale Festival August 2019), as well as reviving our Bach Motets programme (Bachkirche in Arnstadt (May), St George's Bristol (June), Rydale Festival (August)) and giving more performances of the St John Passion at the Wigmore Hall (April) and in the Leipzig Nikolaikirche at the Bachfest in June.
Solomon's Knot released their first CD on the Sony Classical label: a live recording of the Bach and Kuhnau Magnificats recorded December 2018 at Milton Court.
In November I stood down from my position in the Brompton Oratory Choir, where I have sung as a regular member since April 2010. It is an incredibly special place, and I will miss the wonderful choir and director Patrick Russill hugely.
Tue, Sep 25 2018 08:21
Solomon's Knot: Christmas in Leipzig, December 2018, London and Nottingham
Autumn is upon us and I'm beginning to looking ahead to Christmas time. Solomon's Knot will be returning to the Barbican on Monday 10 December at 7pm, where we gave our sold-out, 5* (The Times) debut in June: a performance of (JS and JC) Bach motets at St Giles Cripplegate for Bach Weekend. This time we will be performing our 'Christmas in Leipzig' programme in the Milton Court Concert Hall.
The programme includes the Bach Magnificat
which we last performed at the 2016 Leipzig BachFest in the Nikolaikirche. I'm sure the music is somewhere deeply embedded in my longterm memory, but I look forward to revisiting it over the coming months.
Excitingly, this concert will be recorded live. Tickets may be purchased here
Alternatively, if you are in Nottingham the week before, come to St Mary's Church on Saturday 1 December at 7pm to hear us perform the same programme. Ticket's for our Nottingham performance can be purchased here
Sat, Aug 18 2018 09:02
An August update
Sunshine, summer holidays and the small people in my life make for a neglected website. But thankfully I've been making lots of music recently as well.
This coming Monday 20 August I'll be joining the BBC Singers
for their BBC Proms concert at Cadogan Hall, conducted by Sakari Oramo. The programme is entitled 'The Sense of an Ending
' and includes Hubert Parry's sublime Songs of Farewell.
The next day I'll be heading up to Nottingham (with boys and husband in tow) for the Southwell Music Festival
. The Festival, founded by the baritone and former chorister of Southwell Cathedral Marcus Farnsworth
is now in its fifth year. Having missed all but one of the previous festivals because of bumps or babies or both, I'm delighted to be involved this time. Highlights include a performance of Tippett's 'A Child of our Time' and the Elgar Cello Concerto played by the formidably talented Sheku Kanneh-Mason
I've made some plans for a demo recording in the autumn and look forward to being able to share more recordings in the not-too-distant future. And somehow I thought it was a good idea to sign up to run a half-marathon. Think of me on Sunday 2nd September, as I run just over 21km through the streets and surrounding countryside of Maidenhead. I've found running great for boosting my energy and enthusiasm, both of which take a bit of a battering when one tries to balance the responsibilities of family life with maintaining a varied and interesting career.
Tue, Jun 19 2018 01:28
Solomon's Knot's Bach Motets programme at the Barbican: some reviews
Delighted to have had some lovely reviews for our Bach Motets concert at St Giles Cripplegate on Saturday.
gave us 5 stars and a lovely write up (you'll need a subscription to read it, but here is a short extract:)
'Virtuosic fioritura and vivid articulation of text and musical texture were combined in a performance of prayerfulness, playfulness and uninhibited, unmediated expressiveness from eight singers and the organist Michael Papadopoulos.'
This was one of the most mentally exhausting projects I've ever been involved in! It was such a pleasure to sing that amazing music with such wonderful and communicative singers. A definite personal highlight. Can't wait for the next gig with Solomon's Knot
Wed, Jun 6 2018 11:14
Next week, I'll be joining Solomon's Knot
for their latest by-heart adrenalin-fuelled adventure: a performance of motets by not one Bach, but two, for Bach Weekend
at the Barbican
on Saturday 16 June.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) needs no introduction. The other Bach is JS's first cousin once removed, Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703). JC was born in Arnstadt, where 61 years later in 1703, an 18 year old Johann Sebastian would take up his first proper job at the New Church (now known as the Bach Church). A mere 314 years later, Solomon's Knot visited Arnstadt to give our first performance of the Johannes-Passion from memory, last year in April 2017.
After many performances of the Mass in B Minor, it's wonderful to be singing in German again with Solomon's Knot. Learning the music for this concert has not been without its challenges. While it must surely be one of the most musically complex programmes the group has ever taken on, it also promises to be one of the most rewarding.
This year I now have another small and increasingly mobile person to look after which makes things that bit more challenging. So, JS followed us to West Wittering beach last week. He's always a welcome companion.
Thu, May 24 2018 10:04
Last night I joined with Solomon's Knot for our 5th from-memory and un-conducted performance of Bach's Mass in B minor, this time at St George's Bristol. It was our first trip to the west country and St George's provided us with a perfect venue and a warm and appreciative audience. Despite this being a repeat performance it felt no less exhilarating to us as performers than if it were our first performance. I will never tire of singing this glorious music with these wonderful musicians.
Next stop: Newbury Spring Festival
, Holy Cross Church, Ramsbury, Friday 25 May 2018 at 7.30pm (Sold out)
Tue, May 8 2018 02:16
Concert this Saturday! Very excited to be making my first ever trip to Liverpool to perform the soprano solos in Handel's Messiah with the combined choirs of Liverpool Cathedral and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, in Liverpool Cathedral. The concert is on Saturday 12 May at 7.30pm. The Director of the Music at Liverpool Cathedral, Lee Ward, will conduct.
Saturday 12 May at 7:30pm
Wed, Mar 7 2018 08:10
I am delighted to be joining the Nottingham Bach Choir, under the baton of Paul Hale, for their performance of JS Bach's St John Passion on Saturday 24 March, 7:30pm at St Mary's Church, Lace Market, Nottingham. The last time I sang this piece was Good Friday last year with Solomon's Knot at the Snape Maltings Concert Hall in Suffolk. I was very nearly 8 months pregnant with my now almost 10 month old younger son and I sang all the choruses as well as Zerfließe mein Herze. It was a memorable performance! This year, I get to enjoy Bach's awe-inspiring choruses as sung by the eminently well-qualified Nottingham Bach Choir. Please see their poster below for details of tickets.