William Burn trained as a choral scholar at King’s College, London. As a bass-baritone, he is in demand as a performer of oratorio and consort music from the Middle Ages to contemporary music. William has performed many oratorio roles, including the Bach Passions, Messiah, Judas Maccabeus, The Creation (most recently for Sir Nicholas McGegan at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall), Elijah, Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, the Dvorak Te Deum, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, Rossini’s Stabat Mater and the Requiems of Verdi, Mozart, Faure and Duruflé. Staged operatic performances include Dido and Aeneas, Acis and Galatea, Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne, and Lampe’s The Dragon of Wantley as part of the Ross on Wye International Festival.
A particular area of interest is for song and Lieder, with recent programmes including Winterreise, Schumann’s Dichterliebe and Opus 24 and 39 cycles, Richard Rodney Bennett’s Songs Before Sleep, Wolf’s Michaelangelolieder and Quilter’s Seven Elizabethan Lyrics. This year his recital programmes have included Butterworth’s A Shropshire Lad at Southwell Minster and Dichterliebe in Derby Cathedral.
William is the artistic director of The Nottingham Baroque Soloists, whose repertoire includes cantatas by Bach, Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle. He studies with Lynne Wayman.
William also works as a translator and subtitler from German, specialising in academia and the social sciences. His recent work includes reports to the United Nations Human Rights Council and reports on human rights issues in Germany. He also provides English-language translations for the German Federal Government Press Agency. As a subtitler he specialises in documentaries for Arte, including work on hip hop culture and human rights.
James Neville developed his love of singing as a chorister in Cardiff, and now combines a career in professional music alongside his role in senior educational management. As an undergraduate, James read Modern History at Magdalen College Oxford, where he was an Academical Clerk in the College’s Grammy-nominated Choir. He went on to complete an MPhil at the University of Cambridge where he was a Choral Scholar in the world-famous King’s College Choir and featured in the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, broadcast to an estimated audience of 120 million. As a countertenor soloist, James has gone on to sing in venues ranging from the Royal Albert Hall to the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.
Working with some of the UK’s leading conductors and ensembles, his solo engagements have included Bach B Minor Mass (Gloucester and Llandaff cathedrals), Bach Christmas Oratorio (Cambridge University Concert Hall), Bach Magnificat (Reading University Great Hall), Bach St John Passion (Hereford, Norwich and Ripon cathedrals), Bach St Matthew Passion (Colston Hall and Hereford Cathedral), Britten A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chester Town Hall), Handel Israel in Egypt (Birmingham Town Hall, St Albans Cathedral and St Martin-in-the-Fields), Handel Judas Maccabaeus (King’s College Chapel), Handel Messiah (Wells Cathedral, Colston Hall and York Minster), Handel Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (Llandaff Cathedral), Monteverdi Vespers (Amsterdam Concertgebouw), Mozart Requiem (Rochester Cathedral) and Vivaldi Gloria (St David’s Hall, Bruges and Ghent cathedrals) and he is delighted to be singing Handel Messiah with Stour Singers in May this year.
James also directs The Neville Consort, one of the Midland’s finest vocal ensembles, specialising in one-voice-per-part performances of European sacred music: www.facebook.com/nevilleconsort
Soprano Natalie Montakhab studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the RSAMD Opera school. She made her English National Opera debut as Angelina Trial by Jury and at Welsh National Opera, going on as the cover in the role of Gretel Hänsel und Gretel. She sang Marzelline Fidelio under Edward Gardner and the English National Opera orchestra.
Recent and future opera highlights include understudying Alice Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Will Todd at WNO, Zerlina Don Giovanni at Saffron Hall and recording Mozart arias with the London Mozart Players. Recent and future oratorio highlights include Handel’s Messiah, Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Messe Solennelle.
Most frequently performed operatic roles include Vixen Příhody lišky Bystroušky, Musetta La Boheme, Pamina Die Zauberflöte, Zerlina Don Giovanni, Susanna Le nozze di Figaro, Karolka Jenufa and Yum Yum The Mikado.
Conductors she has worked with include Sir Mark Elder, Edward Gardner, Lotar Koenigs, Martin Fitzpatrick, Stéphane Denève, Ilan Volkov, Christian Curnyn, Laurence Cummings and Masaaki Suzuki. Most recently, Natalie has sung Messiah at Worcester Cathedral and Judas Maccabeus with the Plymouth Philharmonic Choir at the Plymouth Guildhall.
Natalie lives in Hampshire with her husband and three small children.
Having studied singing at the Royal Northern College of Music, the critically acclaimed English tenor soloist Matthew Minter is in demand throughout Britain and on the international concert platform.
Matthew works regularly with many of Britain’s leading orchestras, including The English Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He has had the privilege of working under the direction of such distinguished conductors as Pierre Boulez, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Bernard Haitink, and Sir David Willcocks and he has performed at a number of the most prestigious venues including the Bridgewater Hall, the Barbican Hall, the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Concertgebouw.
Away from the oratorio concert platform, Matthew has made numerous broadcasts as a soloist for BBC radio and television. He has performed extensively with the BBC Singers over the past 25 years and was a member of the Netherlands Radio Choir for almost five years. Matthew continues to work with many other vocal ensembles, recording for radio, television and film. Matthew is currently a Vicar Choral at Wells Cathedral where he enjoys singing on a daily basis.
Selected career highlights to date include a gala concert performance in the presence of a former British Prime Minister, singing at a private party for members of the British Royal Family, and notably appearing on BBC’s Top Gear performing O Sole Mio whilst being driven in a Maserati sports car by the seven-time Formula1 world champion Michael Schumacher!
Baritone Thomas Humphreys began singing as a chorister at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford and studied at the Royal Academy of Music.
In opera, he has sung the title role in Don Giovanni for the Opera Holland Park Young Artist Programme, as well as returning for their 2018 season to sing the roles of L’araldo Maggiore Isabeau and The Wigmaker Ariadne auf Naxos. He made his debut with Glyndebourne Touring Opera as Servo di Flora La Traviata, as well as covering the role of The Captain Eugene Onegin for Glyndebourne Festival Opera. He has been critically acclaimed for his performance of Jake Wallace La Fanciulla del West for Grange Park Opera. He has also sung and understudied roles for Opera Holland Park, English Touring Opera, the Merry Opera Company, and the King’s Head Theatre, recently singing Le Grand Pretre de Dagon Samson et Dalila for the Grimeborn Festival.
Thomas is in high demand on the concert platform, regularly performing with the premiere orchestras and choirs of the UK at venues such as the Barbican Hall, Cadogan Hall, Wigmore Hall, St. John’s, Smith Square among many others. His repertoire includes Messiah (Handel), Elijah (Mendelssohn), St. John Passion (Bach), Christmas Oratorio (Bach), Ein deutches Requiem (Brahms), Requiem (Mozart), Requiem (Faure), The Creation (Haydn), Nelson Mass (Haydn), Five Mystical Songs (Vaughan Williams). He has also often performed further afield in France, Italy, Russia and Bulgaria. Future plans include Requiem (Verdi) at the Royal Festival Hall.
Thomas lives in Dorset with his partner Emily and his two daughters Sophia and Sienna. When not working, Thomas loves going for walks in the Dorset countryside with his family.
Canadian soprano Brittany King is an artist confident in an extensive range of styles. Recent performances include Messiah (Worcester Festival Choral Society), Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (Gloucester Choral Society) and Bob Chilcott’s St John Passion (Coventry Cathedral Chorus). In 2022-2023 Brittany performs at Salisbury Cathedral (Brahms’ Requiem), York Musical Society (Fauré’s Requiem & Michael Haydn’s Requiem) and returns to Coventry Cathedral Chorus for the Messiah.
Prior to the pandemic, UK appearances included Christmas Oratorio (Stratford Choral Society), Creation (Elgar Baroque Singers, Worcester) Handel’s Dixit Dominus & Vivaldi’s Gloria (Abingdon Choral Society), Vivaldi’s Gloria (Gloucester Choral Society) and Saint-Saëns’ Oratorio de Noël (Leighton Buzzard Festival Singers). Brittany was a featured performer at Elmslie House in Malvern for The Art of Song concert.
During the pandemic, Brittany was active in creating digital music content for Timothy Eaton Memorial Church in Toronto. As both soloist and quartet member, she covered repertoire spanning Handel, Mozart, Rutter, and a North American premiere by composer Ernest Hui.
Formerly based in Toronto, Brittany recently moved to the UK where she now makes her home. She loves spending time at her cottage in Canada, going on hikes in the Malvern hills with her twin daughters and cosy movie nights by the log burner with her family. She is looking forward to performing with the Stour Singers in December!
James Birchall studied at St John’s College, Cambridge, the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
He has sung many of the major oratorio roles, notably Handel’s Messiah and Beethoven’s Choral Symphony, both with the CBSO in Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Bach’s St John Passion with the London Mozart Players in St Paul’s Cathedral, Christmas Oratorio and Messiah in Kristiansund, Norway and St Matthew Passion at the Royal Festival Hall with the Bach Choir. Forthcoming concerts include Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in Gloucester Cathedral and the Messiah in Worcester Cathedral.
In 2010 he made his solo debut at the BBC Proms, performing Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music, and has twice appeared as a soloist at the Three Choirs Festival, performing Serenade to Music and Purcell’s Hail Bright Cecilia.
Operatic engagements have included MessengerBelshazzar at the Theatre du Capitole, Toulouse, Moralès (cover) in Carmen for Raymond Gubbay Ltd at the Royal Albert Hall and the O2 Arena, London, and Masetto/Commendatore in Don Giovanni for Opera della Luna at the Iford Festival. James also often sings with the Royal Opera Chorus with productions this season including Aida, La Bohème and Tannhäuser.
He is married with two daughters who have picked up his enthusiasm for music, but cricket and rugby are still work in progress.
Julian was a chorister at St John’s College, Cambridge. He later went to York University graduating with a BA honours degree in Music.
His career involves a mixture of concert and recording work both as a soloist and choral singer. He has appeared on several award-winning discs, most notably with the Cardinall’s Musick. He has also featured on discs for Westminster Abbey, The Sixteen, Opera Rara, and The Gabrielli Consort.
A regular with the BBC Singers and The Academy of Ancient Music Julian is a full-time member of Westminster Abbey Choir where he has sung since 1999. In Oratorio, he is an experienced Evangelist, and his solo repertoire ranges from Monteverdi’s Vespers, which he sang live on Radio 3, to Passio by Arvo Part.
Operatic Roles include Belmonte and Pedrillo in Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio (Holland Park Opera) whilst choral highlights have included singing at the Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, and more recently the funeral of Her Late Majesty the Queen.
Recent performances have included Haydn’s Creation with Hertfordshire Choral Society, The Seasons with The Academy of Ancient Music at the Barbican, and Bach’s ChristmasOratorio with Westminster Abbey.
Julian lives in Watford with his wife Karen and dog Charlie. Hobbies include playing classical guitar, piano duets, horse riding, football, tennis and hill walking.
Tom Lilburn is a countertenor who recently graduated with distinction from the Master of Performance course at the Royal College of Music. He was an Ian Evans Lombe Scholar at RCM, where his studies were generously supported by The Charlotte Fraser Foundation. Roles at RCM include Unulfo in Handel’s Rodelinda, and Refugee in Jonathan Dove’s Flight. He is currently covering the roles of Ottone and Narciso in Handel’s Agrippina with English Touring Opera. Recent oratorio performances include Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s St. John Passion, Vivaldi’s Gloria and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. He continues his vocal studies with Sally Burgess.
Since 2016 Tom has been a Lay Clerk at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and in April 2021 he was one of four singers at the funeral of The Duke of Edinburgh. He also sang with the choir for the Queen’s committal service at Windsor. He is a member of the vocal sextet The Queen’s Six, and has worked with professional choirs including Tenebrae, The Sixteen, The Binchois Consort and ORA.
Tom grew up in the Midlands and was a finalist in BBC Radio 2 Chorister of the Year in 2007. He studied Natural Sciences at St. John’s College, Cambridge, where he was a choral scholar. In his spare time Tom enjoys playing chess, cricket, tennis and golf.
Spanish-Mancunian soprano Ana Beard Fernández graduated from the Royal College of Music, London in 2020 with a Master of Performance with Distinction, supported by the Audrey Sacher Award and Josephine Baker Trust. In the same year she was a Kathleen Ferrier Awards semi-finalist. Ana previously completed her undergraduate studies at the University of York, where she was recipient of the Ed Burrell Award for Excellence in Performance.
Equally at home with opera, oratorio, and contemporary music, highlights this spring include the role of ‘Cephise’ in Rameau’s Pygmalion, solos in Monteverdi Vespers with Thames Philharmonic Choir at Cadogan Hall, Fauré Requiem with Tower of London Chapel Choir, and Carmina Burana with the Docklands Sinfonia at Fairfield Halls, Croydon. This summer she will sing Dvořák Mass in D and Mozart Vesperae Solemnes de Confessore with Stour Singers, Dvořák Stabat Mater and Song to the Moon (Rusalka) with the University of York Choir and Orchestra at York Minster, and Schoenberg Pierrot Lunaire at the Royal College of Music.