Bristol Choral Society
Bristol Choral Society is one of the South West’s premier symphony choruses and has been performing at Colston Hall since the choir was founded in 1889. The ensemble has a membership of approximately 180 auditioned singers, and always presents an exciting programme of music, while teaming up with world renowned soloists and professional orchestras under the direction of their conductor, Adrian Partington. In the past the choir has accepted engagements from the Philharmonia Orchestra and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
As a society the ensemble contributes significantly to the Bristol music scene through their ‘come and sing’ events, community outreach and apprentice scheme, which aims to develop the skills of young singers, exposing them to a wide range of music. BCS also regularly stages concerts for children, showcasing classical choral music in an informal and accessible way.
Adrian Partington has had success as a conductor, chorus master, pianist and organist. He is director of music at Gloucester Cathedral, director of BBC National Chorus of Wales and conductor of Bristol Choral Society, among many other things.
Partington studied at the Royal College of Music – with Herbert Howells amongst other fine teachers – and at King’s College, Cambridge, where he was both the Organ Scholar and an Academic Scholar. He has recorded a dozen solo CDs, including the complete sonatas of Gustav Merkel, and the complete works of Basil Harwood.
The British Sinfonietta is one of the UK’s leading independent professional orchestras, with bases in Cardiff and London. The orchestra is involved in a variety of engagements including classical concerts, choral concerts, televised events, studio recording sessions and film screenings with live soundtracks.
In recent years the orchestra has performed extensively in England, Scotland and Wales as well as visiting Western Europe. Highlights include the televised world premiere of ‘Adiemus Colores’ by Karl Jenkins at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod (conducted by the composer), screenings of ‘Casablanca’ at the Royal Opera House in London, ‘Video Games Live’ in Glasgow, Manchester & London, screenings of ‘Home Alone’ in Denmark, and the London Welsh Festival of Male Choirs at a sold out Royal Albert Hall in London.
Claire Rutter studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and at the National Opera Studio. Her title role performances have included those in Norma and Tosca at Grange Park Opera, and in Lucrezia Borgia, La Traviata and Aida at English National Opera. Her performances in the United States include those with Dallas Opera in 2003 (as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte) and Santa Fe Opera in 2008 (as Alice in Falstaff). Rutter has recorded extensively for Naxos and Chandos. She is married to baritone Stephen Gadd.
After training at Royal Northern College of Music and the National Opera Studio, Maria Jagusz worked as a soloist for most of the leading opera companies in the UK and Europe including The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Glyndebourne, English National Opera, Scottish Opera, Singapore Opera, Opera de Lyon and Opera North.
She has sung many of the leading mezzo-soprano roles including Carmen, Cherubino, Nicklaus, Rosina, Hansel and Dorabella, with international artists including Carreras, Domingo, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Mirella Freni and Dame Felicity Lott. Over the past ten years Maria has built up a large teaching practice and is passionate about creating opportunities for young talented singers especially those wanting to try for careers in singing and musical theatre. She has taught and coached at most of this country’s music colleges.
Her directing credits include Dido and Aneas, Little Sweep, Bastien and Bastienne and Les Misérables (Longborough Festival Opera), Orfeo and Eurydice (Cirencester College), Carmen with Swindon Opera and La Bohème with Longborough Festival Opera. Maria has directed Mostly Mozart for the Playhouse Theatre Cheltenham and the new musical Hammerman for the Phoenix Theatre Swindon.
Austrian – Australian tenor Gerard Schneider studied with Yvonne Kenny at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as a member of the highly regarded Opera course. In his time at the Guildhall, Gerard appeared in the title role of Debussy’s L’enfant Prodigue, as Jacopo in Verdi’s I due Foscari, as the Consigliere in Stradella’s San Giovanni Battista, as Ramon in Massenet’s La Navarraise, and as both General Sir Philip Wingrave and the Narrator in Britten’s Owen Wingrave.
In 2014, Gerard was a member of the Young Artist Program at the Salzburger Festspiele and appeared as Ruiz alongside Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko and Francesco Meli in a new production of Verdi’s Il Trovatoreconducted by Daniele Gatti.
Gerard also appeared in the title role of Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito in Salzburg and again at the Teatro Comunale, Firenze before making his debut in St. Petersburg at the Glazunov Hall and Sheremetev Palace in the role of Satyavan in Holst’ Savitri with the Melos Sinfonia.
Gerard has appeared at the Welsh National Opera and Scottish Opera, appeared as the tenor soloist in Verdi’s Requiem at the Canterbury Cathedral, and made his debut at the Carnegie Hall in a series masterclasses with Mezzo-Soprano Joyce Didonato.
Gerard’s past engagements include many operatic roles: Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème, Ferrando in Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte, Luigi in Puccini’s Il Tabarro, Bardolfo in Verdi’s Falstaff, Don Riccardo in Verdi’s Ernani, Alfred in Die Fledermaus, and as both Don Basilio and Don Curzio in Le Nozze di Figaro.
Stephen Gadd is an English operatic baritone. He graduated in Engineering from St. John’s College, Cambridge and then studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, under Patrick McGuigan. He was a finalist in Operalia, (Plácido Domingo’s international singing competition), and among other numerous awards he won the 1990 Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Scholarship. He has performed the title role in Macbeth at the Glyndebourne Festival, and Conte Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro for the Salzburger Festspiele. He is married to soprano Claire Rutter.