Hannah King

Voice: Soprano / Hometown: Bolton / Instrument: Oboe

Hannah studied oboe and voice at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester before completing an undergraduate degree in Music at Trinity College, Cambridge, where she also held choral and instrumental scholarships, and began to explore a range of opportunities including solo song repertoire, opera roles, and specialised vocal ensemble work in contemporary repertoire. At the same time, her interest in music education was taking shape, and she balanced her final undergraduate year of studies with primary school volunteering, introducing children to classical music and instruments. She says:

“The variety of projects that the Fellowship work on is so broad, and I'm looking forward to learning new skills in areas that I haven't really tackled before - for example I've never conducted and would love to learn how to do it properly! I really want to become a professional singer but am very conscious of the nature of the business - I'm hoping some of the skills I gain and experiences I have over the next year will help me towards that goal.”

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Ana Beard Fernandez

Voice: Soprano / Hometown: Manchester / Instrument: Viola da gamba

Ana received a strong choral foundation from her hometown of Manchester, studying at Chetham’s School of Music and gaining wide-ranging experience with the city’s Cathedral Choir and Hallé Youth Choir. At the University of York, she developed her musical interests with performances of music ranging from 'West Side Story' to contemporary classical works by Morton Feldman and Unsuk Chin, and discovered composing and arranging. Since graduation, she has continued to explore a diverse range of activity encompassing solo recital, stage work, and private study. She says:

“I'm looking forward to the Fellowship primarily because of its focus on leadership skills such as conducting and ensemble-leading, but also because of its focus on preparing us not only for consort work, but for work as soloists. I like the open approach to repertoire planning and am excited to programme a recital."

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Elspeth Piggott

Voice: Soprano / Hometown: London / Instrument: Bassoon

Elspeth studied music at the University of York. She graduated in 2014 and has since established a fledgling consort career, working with professional ensembles including I Fagiolini, The Sixteen and Britten Sinfonia Voices, while preparing for postgraduate conservatoire auditions. If successful, operatic repertoire will almost certainly be her focus, following inspirational student encounters with works and roles by Offenbach, Purcell and Britten. She says:

“Performing is something I feel very comfortable doing. I am slightly more apprehensive about coaching and training others, but that is only because I don't have much experience and am therefore not very confident. However, it is always good to explore beyond your comfort zone and learn new skill. I see the Fellowship as an extraordinary opportunity to learn how to do these things.”

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Helena Cooke

Voice: Alto / Hometown: Chester / Instrument: Oboe

Helena already has a wealth of experience as a choral performer, acquired from undergraduate studies at the University of York, membership of The Sixteen’s ‘Genesis’ programme, a Lay Clerkship with the choir of Clare College, Cambridge, and professional engagements with ensembles including I Fagiolini and Philharmonia Voices. A self-confessed devotee of the music of Benjamin Britten, she has appeared in productions of the composer’s ‘Albert Herring’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. She says:

“I think it will also be absolutely invaluable to be taught how to teach others, something I have very little experience in at the moment. I would describe myself as a very enthusiastic person, and I'd love to help pass my passion for choral music/singing down to the next generation.”

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Ben Inman

Voice: Tenor / Hometown: Harrogate / Instrument: Piano

Ben received his earliest choral training as a chorister at Southwell Minster, and was also a member of NYCGB’s National Youth Training Choir. His extensive subsequent choral experience includes positions at Leeds Cathedral, Wakefield Cathedral, and St John’s College, Cambridge, and touring experience with Les Canards Chantants and Voces Sacrae. More recently, he has begun to explore solo repertoire and conducting, leading the Unity Ensemble in their debut concert at York Minster. He says:

“I would love the Fellowship Programme to be a platform for me to make contacts, begin working with groups, and get soloing more frequently. I'm looking forward to picking up important vocal and leadership techniques so that I can apply them directly to my singing and improve as a musician.”

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William Searle

Voice: Tenor / Hometown: Cardiff / Instrument: Piano

William’s rich choral background includes membership of the choirs of Llandaff Cathdral, Gloucester Cathedral, Welsh National Opera, and the BBC National Chorus of Wales. He is also a committed solo singer with extensive recital, operatic and competition experience, and is currently pursuing individual vocal studies. At the same time, as a Choral Scholar and Music Teacher in residence at Whitgift School in Croydon, he is developing valuable skills through leading and inspiring others. He says:

“I am looking forward to the range of skills we will learn in the Fellowship, and the breadth of repertoire; for somebody who can't decide if they want to sing, teach, conduct or be performing Dunstable or DJ Fresh, this is the perfect scheme!”

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Jamie Wright

Voice: Bass-baritone / Hometown: Holt / Instrument: Violin

Following his recent graduation from postgraduate vocal studies at the Royal Academy of Music, Jamie is now working hard to establish himself on the professional circuit, with a busy calendar of solo engagements in song, oratorio and opera, ensemble work with groups including Gareth Malone’s Voices, and educational work with London Youth Choir. He is also developing expertise as a coach and workshop leader, and worked with participating choirs on the recent television series ‘The Naked Choir with Gareth Malone’ for BBC Two. He says:

“The varied experience that the Fellowship provides gives a strong foundation to understand small ensemble performance in more ways that just as a singer. I feel that is hugely important as a musician in 2016.”

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Robert Brooks

Voice: Bass / Hometown: Oxford / Instrument: Piano

Robert has been set on a musical career ever since he sang as a boy treble with the choir of New College, Oxford. At Manchester University, he significantly expanded the range of his experience with forays into operatic roles by Mozart, Stravinsky and Menotti, musical theatre roles, and conducting engagements with Ad Solem, the university chamber choir. He currently directs a total of five ensembles while simultaneously pursuing private vocal studies and solo work. He says:

“As a young freelance musician, I think that it has never been more important to develop a portfolio of skills, and to be able to deal with the multi-faceted nature of a modern artistic career. What’s unique about the Fellowship is that it offers precisely this breadth of development.”

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Youth Music
NSPCC