Simon Halsey chorus director Born in London, Simon Halsey sang in the choirs of New College, Oxford, and of King’s College, Cambridge, and studied conducting at the Royal College of Music in London. In 1987, he founded the City of Birmingham Touring Opera with Graham Vick. He was Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Choir from 1997 to 2008 and Principal Conductor of the Northern Sinfonia’s Choral Programme from 2004 to 2012. From 2001 to 2015 he led the Rundfunkchor Berlin (of which he is now Conductor Laureate); under his leadership the chorus gained a reputation internationally as one of the finest professional choral ensembles. Halsey also initiated innovative projects in unconventional venues and interdisciplinary formats. • imon Halsey holds positions across the UK and Europe as Choral Director of the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus; Chorus Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Chorus; Artistic Director of Orfeó Català Choirs and Artistic Adviser of Palau de la Música, Barcelona; Artistic Director of Berliner Philharmoniker Youth Choral Programme; Director of the BBC Proms Youth Choir; Artistic Advisor of Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival Choir; Conductor Laureate of Rundfunkchor Berlin; and Professor and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Birmingham. Simon Halsey occupies a unique position in classical music. He is the trusted advisor on choral singing to the world’s greatest conductors, orchestras and choruses, and also an inspirational teacher and ambassador for choral singing to amateurs of every age, ability and background. Making singing a central part of the world-class institutions with which he is associated, he has been instrumental in changing the level of symphonic singing across Europe. He is also a highly respected teacher and academic, nurturing the next generation of choral conductors on his post-graduate course in Birmingham and through masterclasses at Princeton, Yale and elsewhere. He holds three honorary doctorates from universities in the UK, and in 2011 Schott Music published his book and DVD on choral conducting, Chorleitung: Vom Konzept zum Konzert. Halsey has worked on nearly 80 recording projects, many of which have won major awards, including the Gramophone Award, Diapason d’Or, Echo Klassik, and three Grammy Awards with the Rundfunkchor Berlin. He was made Commander of the British Empire in 2015, was awarded The Queen’s Medal for Music in 2014, and received the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2011 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to choral music in Germany. Since becoming Choral Director of the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in 2012, Halsey has been credited with bringing about a ‘spectacular transformation’ (Evening Standard) of the LSC. Highlights with the LSO in 2017/18 include Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder at the BBC Proms with Sir Simon Rattle and Halsey’s CBSO and Orfeó Català choruses; Liszt’s ‘Faust’ Symphony with Sir Antonio Pappano; Mahler’s Symphony No 2 with Semyon Bychkov; and performances of Berlioz and Bernstein with Rattle in his inaugural year as Music Director of the LSO. Born in London, Simon Halsey sang in the choirs of New College, Oxford, and of King’s College, Cambridge, and studied conducting at the Royal College of Music in London. In 1987, he founded the City of Birmingham Touring Opera with Graham Vick. He was Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Choir from 1997 to 2008 and Principal Conductor of the Northern Sinfonia’s Choral Programme from 2004 to 2012. From 2001 to 2015 he led the Rundfunkchor Berlin (of which he is now Conductor Laureate); under his leadership the chorus gained a reputation internationally as one of the finest professional choral ensembles. Halsey also initiated innovative projects in unconventional venues and interdisciplinary formats.
Ben studied music at Exeter University, graduating with Distinction in performance, was Organ
Scholar at Exeter Cathedral and became an associate of the Royal College of Organists. After
University he studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where his tutors included
Gordon Back and Graham Johnson, and trained as a repetiteur at the National Opera Studio.
He has worked with the BBC, Lesley Garrett, Nelly Miricioiu, Marianne Cornetti, Sally Matthews,
English National Opera and The Opera Group on several productions including Die Fledermaus,
Carmen, Madam Butterfly, Cosi fan tutte, Magic Flute, La Boheme, La Cenerentola and Eugene
His experience as an accompanist and chorus master ranges from silent films at the Queen Elizabeth
Hall, to The Boy Friend, Cabaret, Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti and several rarely performed operas
with Chelsea Opera Group. He has also accompanied the London Philharmonic Chorus, the BBC
Singers, the BBC Symphony Chorus and the Monteverdi Choir..
He is currently working as a freelance repetiteur and until 2011 was Assistant Director of Music at
St. Luke’s, Chelsea, where John Ireland and John Goss were organists. He has also appeared on In
Tune for Radio 3 and Operatunity for Channel 4. He has given many organ recitals, including
Exeter and Bristol Cathedrals and Westminster Abbey. His conducting experience includes Mozart's
Coronation Mass with Stanley Hall Opera and The Barber of Seville and Don Pasquale with Opera
A La Carte.
In 2014, he played for Birmingham Contemporary Music Group on Stravinsky’s one act chamber
opera, Renard. He worked with Philharmonia Voices on A Prussian Requiem, a new oratorio by
John Powell, composer of How to Train Your Dragon. On Christmas Day, he accompanied the
winning carols for Classic FM in King’s College Chapel Cambridge with Stephen Cleobury. In
2015, he accompanied Rebecca Front on Radio 4 for With Great Pleasure. In 2017, he was
appointed Chorus Accompanist of the London Symphony Chorus. He recently worked with the
BBC Singers on The Last Supper by Birtwistle.
MATTHEW HAMILTON - ASSOCIATE CHORUS DIRECTOR
Matthew Hamilton is regularly invited to work with leading symphonic choirs, including London Symphony Chorus - where he is an Associate Chorus Director - BBC Symphony Chorus, and CBSO Chorus; and with chamber choirs including New London Chamber Choir - where he is Musical Director - BBC Singers, ChorWerk Ruhr, and Manchester Chamber Choir. Additionally, he is director of Reading Bach Choir, Keele Bach Choir, and Salford Choral Society.
Matthew read music at Oxford, before taking a Masters degree in composition at the University of Manchester. He won a full scholarship to study choral conducting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, graduating in 2010. In addition he participated in masterclasses with some of Europe’s finest professional choirs, including Berlin Radio Choir and Netherlands Chamber Choir. In 2010 he was the winner of the Bramstrup Conducting Award in Denmark.
Matthew has prepared choirs for conductors including Fabio Luisi, Valery Gergiev, Charles Dutoit, Thierry Fischer, David Robertson, John Wilson and Mark Minkowski, and for festivals including the BBC Proms, where he has worked on music from Birtwistle to the Pet Shop Boys. He works frequently with the BBC Singers, and has conducted them in concert at the Barbican, live on Radio 3 and for TV, and in the recording studio. He has premiered a number of a cappella works by composers including Nico Muhly, Eriks Esenvalds and Gabriel Jackson.
Current and future events include a series of concerts with ChorWerk Ruhr in Germany, his first concert with New London Chamber Choir at Wiltons Music Hall, and his debut at Manchester’s Bridgwater Hall conducting Duruflé Requiem with organist Wayne Marshall.
NIA LLEWELYN JONES
Nia Llewelyn Jones grew up in North Wales where singing and choral music played a central part in her musical upbringing. After reading music at Robinson College, Cambridge, she won a full scholarship to study with Simon Halsey on his collaborative course between the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the University of Birmingham. She has subsequently worked extensively with ensembles of all ages, appearing frequently with the symphonic choruses of the CBSO and London Symphony Orchestra.
Nia has also been involved in numerous youth and choral education projects, working with The Sage, Gateshead’s Education division, the CBSO’s choral forces, and Learning and Participation department. She is the first to hold the position of Singing Development Leader at Gloucester Cathedral. In addition to working with all the Cathedral’s resident choirs, her remit is enthusing and inspiring children and young people of the Diocese to sing. Nia has been appointed Conductor of the National Youth Choir of Wales for 2015, leading the choir on their tour of Buenos Aires and Patagonia to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the first Welsh settlement.
NORBERT MEYN - GERMAN LANGUAGE COACH
German tenor Norbert Meyn is equally at home singing baroque, classical and contemporary music. He is also a sought after language coach and vocal coach, working with many leading choirs, record companies and opera companies including the London Symphony Chorus, BBC Singers and Symphony Chorus, CBSC, Edinburgh Festival Chorus, Hyperion Records, Harmonia Mundi, Garsington Opera and the Bolshoi Opera.
As a concert soloist he has appeared at the Barbican Hall, the South Bank Centre, St. John’s Smith Square and the Royal Albert Hall in London, also at Usher Hall in Edinburgh, the Halle International Handel Festival, the Utrecht Festival of Early Music, with the Salzburg Bach Choir and in the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage of the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra, with conductors including Sir Roger Norrington, Howard Arman, Simon Halsey, Phillip Pickett and Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Selected operatic roles are Tamino (Mozart, Die Zauberflöte), Don Ottavio (Mozart, Don Giovanni) Almaviva (Rossini, Il Barbiere di Sevilla), Podesta (Mozart, La Finta Giadiniera), Don Giovanni (Gazzaniga, title role), Damon (Handel, Acis and Galathea), Magnus (Maxwell-Davies, The Martyrdom of St. Magnus) and Danilo (Lehar, The Merry Widow). He also sang the role of Bernardo in a feature film of the Goethe-Singspiel Erwin und Elmire (Anna Amalia) by Michael Dominski (ZDF Theaterkanal 2010). CD recordings include Bach cantatas for SDG, Engel Lund’s Book of Folk Songs for Nimbus Records, Schubert Lieder with Eugene Asti for SFZ Music and most recently a solo CD of Songs by C.P.E. Bach for Toccata Classics. He has also produced a range of educational DVDs and online resources. He has also performed, toured and recorded extensively with ensembles like the New London Consort, European Voices, Le Concert d’Astree, the Choir of the Enlightenment, London Voices, Philharmonia Voices and Trinity Baroque. Norbert Meyn was born in the German city of Weimar. After studying music and singing in Dresden, Riga and Weimar he moved to the UK in 1997 to study at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Since 2001 Norbert Meyn has been a professor there, and since 2005 also at the Royal College of Music, where he teaches German Lieder classes. He lives in London with his wife and two children. www.norbertmeyn.com
The English soprano, Rebecca Outram, started her musical life as a pianist - it was only on joining the chapel choir of Keble College, Oxford that she discovered her voice and her passion for singing. On leaving Oxford Rebecca went on to study at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, since when she has built up an impressive career in a variety of musical fields.
She is a regular performer with most of the major British period performance ensembles and orchestras, working especially regularly as a soloist with the King's Consort, the Sixteen and the Gabrieli Consort. She is also a founding member of the renowned a capella ensembles The Clerks' Group and The Cardinall's music, and has been a soloist with the Sixteen, The King’s Consort, and the choir of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Rebecca has participated in a number of recordings, including two Gramophone winners with the Clerks' Group and a highly acclaimed recording of music by Hildegard of Bingen with the Oxford Camerata (Director: Jeremy Summerley).
SONJA NERDRUM – FRENCH LANGUAGE COACH
Sonja Nerdrum was born in Switzerland of Norwegian parents and grew up in London. After a time at school in Paris, she trained for the stage at Drama Centre London before training as an operasinger and starting her career as a lyric mezzo-soprano singing roles that included Rosina, Dorabella, Carmen and Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda.
While she was still pursuing a singing career she also started coaching French language for singers at the Royal College of Music where she is still a visiting professor.
She has also deputised at the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity College of Music.
Since 1998 Sonja has been French language coach at the Royal Opera House.
Sonja worked with Simon Halsey over a number of years at CBSC and is delighted to have the opportunity of continuing this collaboration with the LSC.
Other organisations Sonja has coached with include BBC Singers; DECCA; Deutsche Grammophon; EMI; New London Chamber Choir; London Voices; English Chamber Orchestra.
Sonja is also working for the National Theatre coaching the French and German roles in Warhorse at the New London Theatre.
Having gained a BEd (Hons) Degree, Anita continued her studies at the Guildhall School on the vocal studies and opera courses with awards from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and Cripplegate Foundation, winning the 1989 Maggie Teyte Prize Competition, and to the National Opera Studio, funded by the Gerald McDonald Scholarship awarded by the RVW Trust.
She has given recitals all over Europe, sung many major operatic roles, and made recordings including Dallapiccola's 13 Liriche Greche with the Dallapiccola Ensemble.
Since she began to work with the choristers of Westminster Cathedral in 1990 she has become increasingly devoted to her teaching. In addition to a private practice she is a professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, teaches regularly at Eton College and on Eton Choral Courses, Cambridge University, is vocal consultant to Guildford Choral Society, Cardinal Vaughan Schola Cantorum, London Oratory Junior choir and regularly visits Ampleforth College and Carlisle Cathedral. She also gives choral workshops.
After a choral scholarship at King’s College, Cambridge, British baritone Robert Rice gained a DipRAM in London under Mark Wildman, continuing his studies with Richard Smart, Sheila Barnes and Nicholas Powell.
As a concert artist his repertoire is extensive and varied and varies from Monteverdi to Birtwhistle. His interest in performing contemporary music encompasses the modernist expressionism of Peter Maxwell Davies and Ligeti, and staged premieres by Judith Bingham and Nigel Osborne (with Opera Circus, touring the UK and Bosnia & Herzegovina); more recently he covered two roles in Birtwistle’s Yan Tan Tethera for the Britten Sinfonia. In recital he often collaborates with guitarist Erich Schachtner in Germany and in the UK on programmes of lieder and lute songs.
When not performing, he leads workshops, adjudicates, and teaches widely, including for the National Youth Choir, Eton Choral Courses, and Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
Novello & Co. Ltd have published many of his vocal arrangements, while others are sung worldwide, and have been recorded, by the King’s Singers. His nickname Berty has confused countless acquaintances. He often tries to arrange his singing engagements around skiing trips to the Alps, although aware that it should be the other way round.