“I went to St Paul’s Girls’ School as a violinist and pianist, but found myself drawn to singing during my time at school. By the end of my three years as a choral scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge, I knew I wanted to pursue a career as a singer rather than a violinist, so I went on to do three years of postgraduate study as a singer at the Royal Academy of Music…”
How long have you been involved with the Oxford Bach Soloists?
I first sang with Oxford Bach Soloists in 2016, in a concert that was part of the Oxford Lieder Festival. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to be the soprano soloist in the Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Dixit Dominus, and a programme entitled ‘Bach’s Virtuosi’.
Christmas Oratorio with the Oxford Bach Soloists (December 2017)
What other musical ensembles are you involved with?
I have had the opportunity to sing with many excellent ensembles over the years, including The Sixteen, The King’s Consort, The Monteverdi Choir and The Dunedin Consort. Over the last 13 years I have spent more time singing with small a cappella consorts, including The Tallis Scholars and The Cardinall’s Musick, and more recently The Marian Consort and Ensemble Plus Ultra.
Tell us some of the highlights of your career to date.
Gosh, it’s hard to narrow it down: performing Bach’s Matthew Passion with the Dunedin Consort in the Georgenkirche, Eisenach (where Bach was baptised) was very moving and special. Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri in the Wigmore Hall with Harry Bicket and the English Concert was also a wonderful experience. While it’s not part of my singing career, one of my all-time musical highlights is playing in the National Youth Orchestra’s performance of Mahler’s Third Symphony at the BBC Proms in 1995. It was an extraordinary feeling being part of that orchestra, and that performance particularly, conducted by Mark Elder, transported us all to a different place.
What makes Bach’s Hunting Cantata stand out from his other cantatas?
Bach’s Hunting Cantata was written as a birthday gift to his employer, Duke Christian of Saxe-Weissenfels. I’ve not sung the Hunting Cantata before, so it will be great to perform it for the first time. It’s unusual for the soprano soloist to imitate a hunting horn, so I shall be looking forward to that! It’s all part of the fun of it being a secular cantata!
Oxford Bach Soloists with Ben Davies, James Gilchrist, Tom Hammond-Davies, Alexander Chance, and Cecilia Osmond
Finally, what do you see as the value of the OBS?
It’s really important that Oxford have local ensembles such as the Oxford Bach Soloists. There are so many excellent professional musicians living in this area, and there is a very happy atmosphere when we get to perform together on home ground. Oxford Bach Soloists are also ideally placed to foster and nurture the talent of some of the many gifted young musicians studying in the city. It’s a winning combination when fresh new talent joins forces with experienced professionals!
Bach, Hunting Cantata