Craig Lawton 2020 –
Craig Lawton is a lively and enthusiastic conductor working in the South of England. Firmly believing in the power a musical experience can give , he tirelessly brings this passion to rehearsals, concerts and projects. Working with a diverse range and size of ensembles has allowed Craig to develop a large repertoire.
Craig made his professional conducting debut in Europe with the Ostfold Symphony Orchestra in Norway. He continues to enjoy podium time in France, Berlin, Bulgaria and most recently in Milan with the Charity Symphony Orchestra. He currently holds positions with the Romsey Abbey Consort and Sinfonietta, Winchester Chamber Orchestra, Conchord Singers, Charity Symphony Orchestra and Christ Church Freemantle.
Craig studied organ with Sarah Baldock at the University of Southampton. He has remained an active organist, appearing as organ soloist in Poulenc’s Concerto in G minor, and numerous performances of Saint-Saens’ Organ Symphony. He plays weekly services as Director of Music at Christ Church Freemantle and occasionally gives organ recitals. Craig continued to develop his skills with Jason Lai, and in Berlin with Prof. Colin Metters (RAM). He initially studied with Dr John Traill and later at the University of Southampton with Robin Browning.
In conjunction with a busy conducting schedule, Craig makes time for charitable music projects, something incredibly important to him. In 2016 he was approached to spearhead the “Oncology Choir” a choir formed of staff from the University Hospital Southampton’s Oncology department to fundraise for the revolutionary new ‘Centre for Cancer Immunology’ in Southampton. The choir made its debut performance at a black-tie dinner in November 2016 which helped raise £30,000. In 2016 , the Charity Symphony Orchestra celebrated its 10th Anniversary in Romsey Abbey with Richard Strauss’ epic Alpine Symphony. This passion for fundraising through music is shared and brought to fruition with friend and colleague Paul Ingram. Between them, the dynamic duo have undertaken thee epic musical marathons for Comic Relief all held at the renowned Turner Sims in Southampton ; Haydathon (2009) and Beethovathon (2015); Orchestral Decathlon (2017). The 2017 project surpassed previous amounts raised, raking in over £5,000 for the day.
Off the podium, Craig is a member of CAMRA, an avid film fan and enjoys swimming and walking. When not rehearsing or performing, you can often find Craig in a local watering hole enjoying a good pint of real ale with friends.
Nicola studied piano with Peter Wallfisch and piano accompaniment with John Blakely at the Royal College of Music; graduating with GRSM (Hons) 1st Cass and the Raymond Fennell prize for highest mark of the year in 1988. Whilst at the College she was also awarded ‘highly commended’ in the 20th century Prize, won the accompaniment prize and performed the piano solo in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia with the RCM Sinfonia. After leaving the RCM, Nicola was a piano teacher and accompanist at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama Junior Department before becoming Head of Piano at Oundle School in Northamptonshire in 1998. She has also worked as a freelance accompanist including for Young Musician of the Year competition and recordings for BBC Radio 3, including a programme demonstrating Beethoven’s original piano. In 2002 Nicola moved to Southampton to study medicine and is now also a qualified GP. Nicola now lives in her home town of Bournemouth with her husband and young son. She continues her freelance accompaniment work in the South, and is accompanist at Brockenhurst College and piano teacher at Walhampton School.
The following are some of the soloists who have featured in concerts with the choir.
Mimi Doulton (Soprano) 2017 and 2019
Mimi Doulton is a Young Artist with Park Lane Group, Opera Prelude and Longborough Festival Opera, and was previously a Leeds Lieder Young Artist (2019), and a Fondation Royaumont scholar (2017). Recent engagements include cover Jerusha Cramer in Gerald Barry’s The Intelligence Park for the Royal Opera/Music Theatre Wales; creating the role of Mary in Wake with Birmingham Opera Company; and a UK tour as Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance with Merry Opera Company. Her 2019/20 season includes debuts in the roles of Jano in Jenufa, Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia , and Ilia in Idomeneo.
Mimi graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with distinction in 2018, having previously read Music and Languages at King’s College London. She continues her studies with Gary Coward.
Samantha Crawford (Soprano) 2017 and 2018
Jenkins : Stella Natalis December 2017 Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony May 2018
British Australian soprano Samantha Crawford has been the recipient of many prizes including the Golden Medal with Honours at the 2017 Berliner International Music Competition and the 2017/18 NSW Wagner Society Award for Emerging Wagner Singers. In 2016 she won First Prize and the President’s Prize at the Wagner Society Singing Competition in London.
Her career in Opera has taken her so far to many opera houses including Aldburgh Festival ,Garsington Opera, Edinburgh Festival, Teatro Reale, Madrid, Glyndebourne Touring Opera and she has also performed at Royal Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall, and the Barbican.
Samantha began her musical studies in Poole, studying singing with Patricia Taylor and performed children’s roles in her opera company, and winning prizes in the Bournemouth, Hampshire and New Milton singing competitions, before going onto her studies at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. It was particularly appropriate that she should join us as Soprano Soloist in the Vaughan Williams at St Ambrose Church , Poole , where she had attended Brownies as a little girl.
Samantha is playing Ortlinde in Wagner’s “Die Walkure” at Teatro Reale, Madrid in February 2020 with a prestigious cast line-up.
Elizabeth Weisberg (Soprano) December 2015, December 2016
Originally from California, Elizabeth Weisberg studied at Stanford University and the Royal Academy of Music where she received the Dip. RAM, the Academy’s highest award for performance, and the Clifton Prize for her final recital. On the concert platform Elizabeth has appeared in the Chichester, Winchester, Aldeburgh and Three Choirs Festivals and with conductors including Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Roger Norrington, Ivan Fischer, Emmanuelle Haim, Trevor Pinnock, Harry Bicket, Nicholas Kraemer, Christopher Robinson, and David Hill. She frequently appears in concerts in St. Martin-in-the-Fields with the Trafalgar Sinfonia and the Belmont Ensemble. Elizabeth also performs with Christian Curnyn, the Early Opera Company and Music for Awhile. Recent engagements include Handel Messiah in St. Thomas’ Church, Fifth Avenue, New York, Haydn Creation with Sir Mark Elder and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in Poissy, Dido and Aeneas and Charpentier Acteon at Wigmore Hall with the Early Opera Company, Mendelssohn Elijah in the Royal Albert Hall with the RPO, Galatea Acis and Galatea for Mackerras in Aldeburgh, and Bach St. Matthew Passion with the Manchester Camerata in Bridgewater Hall. Recent stage and opera work includes Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle in Weimar, Berlin, Paris (Opera Comique), Bregenz and Luxembourg with Nico and the Navigators.
Philip Tebb (Baritone) December 2015, December 2016, December 2018
Philip studied Music at Durham University, where he was a Choral Scholar at the Cathedral, and at the Royal College of Music on the Benjamin Britten International Opera School with Russell Smythe. His studies at RCM were generously supported by the Anne Clayton Award, Stanley Picker Trust Award, the Audrey Sacher Award and the Josephine Baker Trust. Roles at RCM included: Demetrius in Britten A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Harasta in Janacek The Cunning Little Vixen; Nicandro in Handel Atalanta (as part of the London Handel Festival); Father Trulove in Stravinsky The Rake’s Progress and Antonio in Mozart Le Nozze di Figaro. Professional stage work includes covering the role of Peter Quince in Britten A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Garsington Opera, singing the role of Schaunard in Puccini La Boheme for Wedmore Opera and appearing in a production of Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi at the Royal Theatre, Northampton. Philip is in great demand as an oratorio soloist. Appearances last year included: Brahms Ein Deutches Requiem with Claygate Choral Society; Faure Requiem and Handel Dettingen Te Deum with the Belmont Ensemble; Handel Messiah with the Belmont Ensemble, Bridgwater Choral Society, Lewisham Choral Society and the Schola Cantorum of Tewkesbury Abbey; Mendelssohn Elijah with Whitstable Choral Society; Mozart Coronation Mass with Saffron Walden Choral Society; Mozart C Minor Mass with Lewisham Choral Society and Teixeira Te Deum the English Chamber Choir.
Tom Robson (Tenor) 2016
Tom joined Chichester Cathedral Choir at the age of eight, before gaining a music scholarship to Lancing College in 2002 and went on to win the 2007 West Sussex Young Musician of the Year competition, the first time in which it has been won by a singer. After school, Tom was appointed as a Choral Scholar at Chelmsford Cathedral, whilst teaching singing and music in several local schools. In 2008 he took up a Choral Scholarship at Royal Holloway, University of London, where he gained a Bachelor of Music degree and studied voice privately with Justin Lavender. Tom went on to study at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Brian Parsons, where he gained his Master of Music. Tom is a Lay-Clerk at Westminster Cathedral in London, and enjoys a busy schedule working with groups such as The Sixteen, The Gabrieli Consort, the Choir of Enlightenment, Tenebrae and The King’s Consort (as both a soloist and consort member), as well as several opera companies, including Dorset Opera, Park Opera and the Nationale Reisopera in the Netherlands. Tom is in frequent demand as an oratorio soloist and is also a regular recitalist, with a particular interest in English Song. Tom is also a composer and conductor as well as an Associate Lecturer in Music at the University of Chichester. Tom has performed across the UK, Europe & the USA. Forthcoming appearances include performances in the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Italy, France, the United States of America, Romania & Switzerland.
Lionel Handy (Cello)
Lionel performs throughout the UK and Europe, and has given several solo recitals at the Wigmore Hall and Southbank Centre. Much in demand as a chamber musician, he has broadcast frequently for BBC Radio 3 and European networks. He has made numerous commercial recordings, most recently the Korngold sextet for the German Tacet label. He is a member of London Music Phoenix Ensemble and Trio Eluard with whom he has performed in festivals in Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain as well as the UK. He was invited twice to participate as a soloist in the South African Chamber Music Festival. His interest in British twentieth-century music has led to performances of the concertos by Finzi, Bax, Walton and Delius. With the London Sinfonietta he has worked with many of the leading composers of more recent times, including Tippett, Berio, Lutoslawski, Henze, Carter, Part, Birtwistle, Reich and Knussen. Lionel was principal cello with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields for ten years with whom he recorded extensively, and toured widely throughout the United States and Europe. Later as solo cellist with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, he performed an eclectic range of concertos from CPE Bach and Boccherini to Tavener and Roxburgh. He has played as guest principal with most of the UK’s leading orchestras including the Philharmonia, London Symphony Orchestra, Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and English Chamber Orchestra. As a scholarship student at the Royal Academy of Music, Lionel won every prize for cello and chamber music, including the prestigious Moir Carnegie Recital Diploma prize and Principal’s Prize. He was also awarded first prize by Jacqueline du Pre in the Muriel Taylor Competition. With several other important scholarship awards, he was able to continue his studies with Janos Starker in Banff and with Pierre Fournier in Geneva. Lionel was awarded FRAM from the Royal Academy of Music and plays on a cello by Fendt (circa 1820).
Rhona McKail (Soprano)
Rhona hails from Prestwick in Ayrshire. She studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, and gained a BA (Musical Studies) with first class honours in 2005. She studied at the Guildhall School of Music in London and gained a Masters of Music with distinction, as well as a Master of Music in Performance (Guildhall Artist) degree. Rhona has enjoyed the privilege of working and performing with distinguished musicians and is increasingly in high demand for her soprano voice across the UK in concerts and oratorios. She has performed at the Wigmore Hall, St. Martin in the Fields, and on both BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4. Rhona has sung with The Brockenhurst Choir on several occasions including in ‘Messiah’ in 2011
Lilly Papaioannou (Mezzo)
Greek born Mezzo Lilly was educated at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music with Patricia MacMahon where she made her operatic debut as Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea; she recently completed her studies at the Guildhall School of Music under John Evans, with whom she continues to study. London performances include singing at the House of Lords, the Henze Immersion Weekend at the Barbican and Messiah at St Martin in the Fields, Operatic performances include Baba the Turk for British Youth Opera’s The Rake’s Progress, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas with Southern Sinfonia and Princess Nicolette in Grange Park Opera’s production of For the Love of Three Oranges. Future engagements include Maddalena in Rigoletto at Bury Court, and Elgar’s ‘Sea Pictures’ in St James’s Church, Piccadilly.
Maciek O’Shea (Baritone)
Born in London, Maciek studied History at UCL and went on to study voice at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he was the winner of the English Song Competition in 2006. Operatic engagements include: covering First Priest & Second Armed Man/ Magic Flute (ETO); Gamekeeper/Rusalka (ETO); Zuniga/la Tragedie de Carmen (ETO) covering Death/Savitri (Buxton Festival Opera); Daedalus/Voithia (ETO); Pinellino/Gianni Schicchi (GSMD); Fiorello/Il Barbiere di Seviglia (Hand Made Opera); Adonis/Venus and Adonis (New Chamber Opera). Recitals include Before and After Summer (highlights) (Finzi) with Simon Lepper (piano) for the Third English Song Weekend in Ludlow; Myrten (Schumann) with Susan Young (soprano) and Ian Farrington (piano), and Die Schone Magelone (Brahms) with Sholto Kynoch (piano) both for the Oxford Lieder Festival. Maciek has most recently worked with ETO on In the Belly of the Horse, the third and final part of a trilogy of operas written for primary schools, based on classical mythology.
Anna Gillingham (Soprano)
Anna is currently studying for a postgraduate degree at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama (GSMD). She obtained a Double First in Music from the University of Cambridge, graduating in June 2010. Anna learns with John Evans. Anna began to have singing lessons at the age of 12. She has performed across the UK as a concert and recital soloist, in operas, musical theatre and choirs. She has sung the soprano solo in performances of Mozart’s Exultate Jubilate, Requiem, Vespers, Haydn’s Nelson Mass and Mass in the Time of War, Vivaldi’s Gloria and Magnificat, Faure’s Requiem, Vierne’s Les Angelus and Mendelssohn’s Hear My Prayer. Anna has performed in operas including The Magic Flute (Mozart, Second Lady; Shadwell Opera), A Hand of Bridge (Barber, Geraldine; Opera Underground), Les Dialogues des Carmelites (Poulenc, Nun; GSMD), Ariodante (Handel, Chorus; Cambridge Handel Opera) and Les Mamelles de Tiresias (Poulenc, Chorus; Cambridge University Opera Society). She has performed the roles of Norina Don Pasquale and Fiordiligi Cosi fan tutte in scenes at GSMD. At the Guildhall Anna performed a selection of Schumann lieder in a concert directed by Graham Johnson. She has sung in masterclasses for Gerald Finley, Emma Kirkby, Malcolm Martineau, Claire Booth, Jane Manning, Lillian Watson, Susan Bullock and Eugene Asti. Anna’s forthcoming performances in 2011 include chorus for Garsington Opera’s productions of Il Turco in Italia and The Magic Flute, a recital performance of Liszt and Schubert lieder in London, a premiere of new songs in the City of London Festival, and concerts of bel canto repertoire in Pescara, Italy. Anna is grateful to the GSMD and Dr. And Mrs. Padfield for their sponsorship.
Marta Fontanals-Simmons (Mezzo)
Marta originates from Somerset and now studies with Marilyn Rees at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama Opera Course in London. She has taken part in master-classes with Brian Zeger, Anne Sofie von Otter and Gerald Finley. In 2011, Marta won first prize in the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards, performing at the Wigmore Hall and on BBC Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’; she was also awarded Second Prize in the Thelma King Award and the Odette Sansom Award for English Song at the GSMD. Marta has appeared as a concert and oratorio soloist in various UK venues, recently premiering ‘Voices of London’ song cycle at Christchurch Spitalfields, and in the BBCSO performance of Jonathan Harvey’s Songs of Li Po at Barbican Hall and live on Radio 3. Marta has performed as a soloist at St James’s Piccadilly, St Martin-in-the-Fields, The Courtauld Gallery, St John’s Smith Square and with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on the recent Naxos recording of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy at Cadogan Hall. Recent operatic experience includes Ruggiero Orlando Generoso (The Barber Opera), Drummer The Emperor of Atlantis (Ardente Opera, Grimeborn Festival), Hansel Hansel and Gretel (Clonter Opera), Kate Pinkerton Madama Butterfly (Grange Park Opera), Eva in Martinů’s Comedy on the Bridge (Minotaur Music Theatre), Lucretia (cover) The Rape of Lucretia (British Youth Opera). Future engagements include the première of Martin Emslie’s Omega and Alpha at Wells Cathedral. For their generous support this year Marta is grateful to the GSMD, the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, the Simon Fletcher Charitable Trust and for a Sybil Tutton Award administered by the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund. She is also delighted to have been a Susan Chilcott scholar and remain a Concordia Foundation Artist for 2012-13. http://www.martafontanals.com
Joshua Mills (Tenor)
From Neath in South Wales, Joshua is now recognised as one of Wales’s most promising young tenors. He graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with a First Class Honours degree. He has enjoyed success at numerous UK competitions, and was selected as special prize-winner for best sacred aria at the International Mozart Singing Competition 2011. He attained first prize at the Welsh Association of Male Choirs Competition 2011, and Dunraven Young Welsh Singer of the Year Competition 2012. On the opera stage, Joshua performed the role of Tamino at West Green House as part of the Garsington Opera Studio Programme. He also played Don Curzio in the British Youth Opera’s 2011 production of Le Nozze di Figaro at the Peacock Theatre, London. Earlier this year, he sang Schubert’s Mass in E flat at the Kultur & Kongress Zentrum in Rosenheim, Germany. Other venues include St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Manchester Evening News Arena, Brangwyn Hall. A Samling Scholar, he studies with Adrian Thompson and Yvonne Kenny on the Guildhall School’s Opera Course. Joshua is supported by the London Syndicate, Arts Council of Wales Principal Study Award, Sybil Tutton Award administered by the Musicians Benevolent Fund, Ashley Family Foundation, Ryan Davies Memorial Award, Elizabeth Evans Trust, Mario Lanza Educational Foundation and is grateful for their kind and generous support.
Alexander Cadden (Tenor)
Alexander began singing as a chorister in the choir of St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee, where he later became Head Chorister. In 2004 he graduated in Music from Edinburgh University. During his time in Edinburgh, Alexander was a Choral Scholar at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral and regularly sang with other groups in and around the city. After graduation he continued his studies at the Royal College of Music in London, where he was taught by Mark Tucker. On the operatic stage he has performed the roles of Monostatos (Die Zauberflöte), Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas), Tom Rakewell (The Rake’s Progress), MacHeath (The Beggar’s Opera), The Madwoman (Curlew River), The Tailor (The Devil’s Drum) and Bill (A Hand of Bridge).. As a soloist Alexander has performed works such as Britten’s Canticles, Serenade, St Nicolas Schumann’s Dichterliebe and Monteverdi’s Ballo Movete al mio bel suon. On the concert platform he has performed the tenor solos in Handel’s Messiah, Israel in Egypt and Samson, Haydn’s The Seasons, Mozart’s Requiem, Monteverdi’s Vespers Stainer’s Crucifixion, a number of Bach’s Sacred Cantatas and the Evangelist role in Bach’s St John and St Matthew Passions. He is increasingly in demand as an ensemble performer and regularly appears with groups such as London Voices, English Voices, the Choir of the Enlightenment and the Dunedin Consort. Recent performances include the role of the Centurion in Berlioz’s L’Enfance du Christ in the Cadogan Hall for Sir Colin Davis, the male lead in the opera Erwin und Elmire in Gotha, Germany and Acis in Acis & Galatea for Woodhouse Opera. Alexander regularly sings abroad and has, over the past three years, appeared as a soloist in Germany, Norway, Israel and Kenya.