We have a superb line-up of performers for the world premiere of Blue Pearl on 14.5.2022, with the London Mozart Players, Excelsis Chamber Choir and four talented soloists – Angela Hicks (soprano), Sarah Denbee (mezzo-soprano), David de Winter (tenor), Geoff Williams (bass), conducted by Rob Lewis.
Founded in 1949 by Harry Blech to delight audiences with the works of Mozart and Haydn, the London Mozart Players is one of the world’s finest chamber ensembles. The LMP has a unique musical pedigree; its rich history connects it to the greatest names in classical music, while its pioneering approach to music-making marks the orchestra as a leader in terms of outreach, education and diversity. The LMP is a versatile chamber orchestra of the 21st Century, dedicated to reaching new audiences with classical music.
Excelsis Chamber Choir is a superb choir of about 30 singers under the baton of Music Director Robert Lewis. Excelsis performed the opening concert of the Grayshott Concerts’ 2017 season with the London Mozart Players. In 2015 Excelsis performed the world premiere of Karl Jenkins’ The Healer – A Cantata for St Luke, with the Marylebone Camerata. Following the success of The Healer project, the choir was invited by Sir Karl to sing in a performance of The Armed Man with the Welsh choir, Cor Caedydd, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales at St. David’s Hall, Cardiff. Exclesis are Choir-in-Residence for the Grayshott concert series. In 2017, Excelsis recorded a new CD ‘Sacred Choral Music’, a selection of composer Clive Osgood’s settings of well known texts. Accompanied by the London Mozart Players and featuring soprano Rebecca Moon, the CD has been very well received by the music press.
Rob Lewis, conductor Robert Lewis is a conductor, performer and educator. Born in Cardiff, he began his musical training as a chorister at Westminster Cathedral under the direction of David Hill and James O’Donnell and later won a choral scholarship to the Oratory School and New College, Oxford, where he read Music. Robert is the co-founder of Excelsis and has been its Director of Music since its inception in 2007. Since this time, the choir has earned a reputation for excellence, both locally and further afield, and has performed with some of the country’s leading musicians. Robert has worked with such artists as Sir Charles Mackerras, David Hill, Karl Jenkins, the Marylebone Camerata and James Bowman. As a singer, Robert has made over 25 recordings and toured numerous countries. He is also Director of Music of Grayshott Concerts. Robert directs several other musical groups including the choirs of St. Thomas-on-The Bourne Farnham, with whom he has released the CD ‘On Christmas Night’ and recorded the soundtrack for the Channel 4 drama ‘New Worlds’. He is also conductor for the ‘Vox’ chamber choir in Farnham.
Based in London, Lancastrian soprano Angel Hicks is a versatile singer, experienced in opera, oratorio, theatre, medieval, renaissence, chamber music and recitals with organ, piano and lute. She has performed internationally, and has established herself as a specialist in the baroque repertoire. She is featured singing Purcell’s ‘Musick for a while’ in the film ‘The Favourite’, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, alongside Emma Stone and Rachael Weisz. Angela is a member of a number of leading UK ensembles including The Monteverdi Choir, directed by John Eliot Gardiner, with which she now sings regularly, both as a soloist and as part of the choir. She is also a member of Ex Cathedra (Jeffrey Skidmore), Dowland Works (Emma Kirkby) and Joglaresa (Belinda Sykes).
Angela has sung as a soloist in some of the foremost concert venues in the UK and Europe, such as La Scala – Milan, The Wigmore Hall – London, Palau de la Musica – Barcelona, Alter Oper – Frankfurt, De Oosterpoort – Netherlands, Berlin Philharmonie, Barbican Centre – London, St John’s – Smith Square and Birmingham Symphony Hall. Angela is co-founder of early music duo, Fair Oriana, alongside fellow soprano Penelope Appleyard, with whom she is building a flourishing portfolio of concerts and recordings.
Versatile British mezzo-soprano Sarah Denbee performs operatic roles, oratorio, song recitals, and in professional ensembles such as the Monteverdi Choir (conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner), the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Academy of Ancient Music. She has sung with Glyndebourne Festival Opera, she is a freelance Chorus member for Scottish Opera, an Extra Chorus member for Opera North and English National Opera. Sarah has performed as a soloist in some of Europe and the UK’s foremost concert venues, such as the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Musikverein (Vienna), Philharmonie (Cologne), Philharmonie (Luxembourg), Liszt Academy (Budapest), Royal Festival Hall, Barbican Hall, Cadogan Hall, Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and St. John’s Smith Square.
David de Winter was born in Surrey and received his formative musical training as a chorister at Westminster Cathedral, before studying Music at Durham University and Voice at the Royal Academy of Music. He was a finalist in the 2019 Handel Singing Competition, winning the Selma D and Leon Fischbach Memorial Award. His musical repertoire spans over 900 years, from the 11th Century to the present day. Primarily known as an interpreter of baroque and renaissance music, David is also a committed performer of contemporary music. Recent highlights include Matthäus Passion (arias) with Philharmonie Zuidnederland and Jos van Veldhoven, Coridon in Acis & Galatea at the Teatro Garibaldi in Sicily with The Early Opera Company, Messiah (Hereford Cathedral), the title role in Acis & Galatea with The Brook Street Band at the love:Handel Festival, and recitals at the Foundling Museum and London Handel Festival.
Geoff Williams trained at the Royal Academy of Music completing a Master’s Degree in Performance, with Distinction. Recent roles include Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Geronio in Il turco in Italia, Escamillo and Dancaire in Carmen, Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutti, General Achilla in Giulio Cesare (Handel). He also covered the role of Marchese d’Obigny in La Traviata for Longborough Festival Opera. Geoff’s concert performances have included Herod in Berlioz’s L’Enfance du Christ (Scherzo Ensemble), Orff’s Carmina Burana (Colston Hall), Verdi’s Requiem (L’église de la Madeleine and Chartres Cathedral), Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle (St Margaret’s Church, Westminster), Pilatus and Arias in Bach’s St Matthew Passion (Wells Cathedral), Pilatus and Arias in St John Passion (Southwell Minster and Galway Cathedral), Barber’s Dover Beach with the Villiers Quartet (St John’s Smith Square). He also understudied Roderick Williams in the World Premiere of the ‘Da Vinci Requiem’ by Cecilia Mcdowall with the Philharmonia Orchestra (Royal Festival Hall). He studies with Janice Chapman and Gavin Carr.