When and where was your first experience of music / singing?
In 2005 (my reception year), I played the role of ‘the Bossy King’ in my school nativity at Barlborough Hall School, near Sheffield where I grew up. I remember the killer line of my song was to point at the audience and shout “You forgot to bow! You forgot to bow, too!”.
Where did you grow up? Did you have access to classical music?
I grew up in Barlborough, just between Chesterfield and Sheffield on the M1. I started playing the violin at age 6 and the piano at age 9. My school always had a brilliant music department so I was very lucky to have opportunities to sing and play whenever I could. Every year from years 3-6 we held a carol service in my senior school’s chapel (which was of course the most exciting thing ever!), and, at 7 years old I got to come (a year early!) to sing the ‘Away in a Manger’ solo. It was the blitz of school ‘teatime concerts’ and playing in morning assemblies that instilled my love to perform, and as I started to get older, I began to play/sing every single opportunity I could. Every couple of years we entered the Worksop Music and Drama Festival, which is something my senior school music director always sought to sweep with as many awards as possible! I remember that, for most of my senior school life, I never had a free lunch break as there was always a rehearsal to attend (which also meant I could skip the lunch queue every day!), although this did mean I had to haul my cache of instruments and sheet music onto the school bus too!
What has been your most memorable performance so far?
During my third year of university, which I spent in the USA on exchange, I performed with the University of Maryland Chamber Singers at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC alongside the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Gianandrea Noseda. We did 2 concert series: one of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and Requiem, and one of Bach’s Magnificat and the first part of Handel’s ‘Messiah’. It was an exhausting couple of weeks, but it was so much fun to do! I remember having to write lab reports and revise for my final aerodynamics exam on the bus to and from Washington!
What would your dream performance be?
Good question! I really want to sing the tenor solo part for Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (which I might be doing later this year!), and doing it somewhere like the Concertgebouw or the Vienna Musikverein would be a dream, especially with period instruments!
What are you looking forward to with Genesis Sixteen?
I’m very excited to sing alongside some of the UK’s best young musicians. One of my favourite things to do with a choir is to be able to work on a piece until it is as good as it possibly can be and, at this level I’m really hoping to be able to do that with Genesis Sixteen too. I’m excited to explore new repertoire and meet new people who love music as much as I do. I’d love to work on my general musicianship and conducting skills too; and the opportunity to receive such instruction at this level is simply wonderful. I can’t wait!
Outside of singing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I play in a few orchestras at university, one of which I lead; and I also play the organ at my local church when I’m not singing with the choir. Outside of music I am an amateur radio enthusiast. My dad and I have built our own small radio station and we like to try and make contacts from outside in the garden. We’ve got as far as eastern Europe so far!
Are you still in education? Are you in any other young artists schemes?
I’ve just finished my undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Edinburgh. Next, I’ll either be studying at Cambridge and Oxford for a master’s and PhD respectively, or I’ll be heading to École Centrale de Lyon, France, for a master’s.
Outside of performances with Genesis Sixteen, have you got any concerts coming up?
I travelled to Florence twice this summer! Once with the University of Edinburgh Chamber Choir, and secondly as part of the Florence Choral Course with the Medici Archive Project. I also stepped in for a friend of mine with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) Chorus singing Mendelssohn’s ‘Elijah’ at the BBC Proms this year. I’m also hoping to organise a violin recital in the coming months.