Tell us a bit about yourself, and your training to date?

I grew up in Hammersmith in London, and joined the Borough Choir as soon as I reached the minimum age. While I was growing up my mum was a professional singer, so as a toddler I went on tour with her with the Monteverdi Choir and other ensembles, so I’d always been surrounded by singing. I went on to join the Centre for Young Musicians (a part of Junior Guildhall) where I first studied saxophone but gradually started singing more and jazzing less!

My first experience of performing Bach was at the age of 15 in the ripieno choir in the St Matthew Passion at Royal Festival Hallwith the Bach Choir. Later, at university, I sang various cantatas and the Matthew Passion again with David Stancliffe and theBishop’s Consort, and found the whole experience thrilling!

Which other musical ensembles are you involved with?

I perform with an ever-widening array of groups, including the chamber choir and instrumental ensemble London Choral Sinfonia, and new vocal octet The Rupa Ensemble. I have also sung with the Eric Whitacre SingersPhilharmonia VoicesIcosa, which specialises in new works and ensuring equal gender balance in programmes; and new chamber choir Oread. Alongside these I regularly deputise at a variety of churches around London, including St Peter’s Eaton SquareSt Stephen’s Gloucester Road,All Saints’ Margaret Street and St George’s Hanover Square.

Miranda Ostler by Keith Morris

What attracted you to the Oxford Bach Soloists?

I was drawn to OBS because their excellent reputation for sensitive and astute performances of Bach had spread beyond the bounds of Oxford! I have adored performing Bach since I first sang his cantatas in a concert in 2015 and the idea of joining OBS on their journey through his complete vocal works was an attractive one. I also liked the idea of applying a personal focus on Bach-specific skills over this year, such as singing in German and not getting too bogged down by semi-quavers!

What are you most looking forward to as an OBS choral scholar?

What is great about the scheme is the sense of structure that it gives the year – so I look forward to each concert each month and the trip to lovely Oxford it affords me. Specifically, I am really looking forward to singing the St John Passion as it will be my first one – OBS’s performance of the Christmas Oratorio was also my first – and performing ‘Ich folge dir gleichfalls’, which is such a beautiful aria.

Miranda Ostler by Jamie Wright

What do you see as the value of ensembles like OBS to young aspiring musicians?

I think the Choral Scholar scheme is really valuable as young professional singers such as myself are given regular (monthly!) performance opportunities in a wonderful space, with a fabulous and responsive band, within an exacting but supportive atmosphere. As a freelance singer trying to develop my experience, regular public performances are the key to increasing my confidence and learning what works for me. With such a regular performance schedule we are constantly learning new cantatas, helping us to expand our repertoire!

What are your future plans as a singer?

In the future I would love to explore opera (favourites include anything Handel, and Britten’s chamber operas), and perform with other established early music ensembles such as Solomon’s Knot and La Nuova Musica, as well as choirs like the Monteverdi Choir and The Sixteen.

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