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 English-German tenor, Rufus Müller, was acclaimed by The New York Times following a performance in Carnegie Hall as “…easily the best tenor I have heard in a live Messiah.” He is a leading Evangelist in Bach’s Passions and his unique dramatic interpretation of this rôle has confirmed his status as one of the world’s most sought-after performers. He gave the world premiere of Jonathan Miller’s acclaimed production of the St Matthew Passion, which he also recorded for United and broadcast on BBC TV; he has repeated his performance in three revivals of the production at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York.
In demand for oratorio and opera, Rufus Müller has worked with many leading conductors including Franz Welser-Möst, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Roger Norrington, Ivor Bolton, Richard Hickox, Nicholas McGegan, Gustav Leonhardt, Frans Brüggen, Trevor Pinnock, Philippe Herreweghe, Joshua Rifkin, Andrew Parrott, Nicholas Kraemer and Ivan Fischer. He has given solo recitals in the Wigmore Hall and the Barbican Concert Hall in London as well as for BBC Radio, and in Munich, Tokyo, Barcelona, Madrid, Utrecht, Paris, Salzburg and New York. He has a regular partnership with the pianist Maria João Pires with whom he has performed in Spain, Portugal, Germany, Ireland, Japan and the UK, notably in a three-concert Schubertiade in Spain and London’s Wigmore Hall.
Born in Cambridge, Adrian Powter studied at the RNCM. He began his career at Glyndebourne and in 2000 created Philip in Harrison Birtwistle’s The Last Supper at the Deutsche Staatsoper, Berlin, a production, which was later presented by Glyndebourne Festival and Touring Operas.
Other roles have included Capulet in Benda’s Romeo and Juliet, Rocco in Paer’s Leonora and Bonario in Soler’s La capricciosa corretta for Bampton Classical Opera, The Abbot Curlew River for the Opéra de Rouen, Jupiter Peleus and Thetis and The Lion Pyramus and Thisbe for Opera Restor’d, Peter Hansel and Gretel for Cork Opera Works, The Forester The Cunning Little Vixen for Surrey Opera, Pluto L’Orfeo for the English Bach Festival Trust, The Mayor Cendrillon for Chelsea Opera Group, Guglielmo Così fan tutte, Figaro Figaro’s Wedding, RamiroL’heure espagnole and Baron Douphol La Traviata for Opera Project, Guglielmo Così fan tutte for Stowe Opera, Masetto Don Giovanni for English Touring Opera, the title-role in Don Giovanni for London Opera Players, Figaro Figaro’s Wedding and Orsini Rienzi for Palace Opera,Schaunard La bohème for Castleward Opera and Longborough Festival Opera, Dandini La cenerentola at the Kijani Kenya Festival, Frank Die Fledermaus for Scottish Opera Go Round and Scottish Opera On Tour, Dr Falke Die Fledermaus, Giuseppe The Gondoliers and Pish-TushThe Mikado for Carl Rosa Opera, Marullo Rigoletto for Mid-Wales Opera and The Lost Chord for Opera North.
Nicola Wydenbach is a graduate of the Royal College of Music. Supported by a scholarship from Diva Opera she completed her Graduate Diploma and is continuing her studies with Marie McLaughlin.
Nicola has worked extensively throughout Britain and Europe. Her operatic roles includes Virtu in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea and 2nd Witch in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Ilia in Mozart’s Idomeneo, Sandmann in Humperdink’s Hansel und Gretel, La Sorella Infermiera in Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Bridesmaid in Rota’s Il cappello di paglia di Firenze.
Oratorio solo works include Brahms’ Requiem conducted by Sir Neville Marriner; Vivaldi’s Gloria; Rutter’s Requiem; Mendelssohn’s Hear my Prayer and Elijah; Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Magnificat; Faure’s Requiem; Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle; Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit; Mozart’s Requiem, Coronation Mass, Mass in C Minor and Vespers; Dvorak’s Stabat Mater; Vaughan Williams Dona Nobis Pacem and Benedicite and Haydn’s Seasons, Nelson Mass and Mass in the Time of War, Vivaldi’s Gloria and Magnificat as well as Harvey’s Passion and Resurrection, Loussier’s Lumieres and Goodall’s Eternal Light.
Born in Cardiff, James became a Choral Scholar at Magdalen College Oxford and King’s College Cambridge, and has since pursued a career as a solo countertenor. James’s recent and forthcoming solo countertenor engagements include Bach: B Minor Mass at Gloucester Cathedral, Bach: St John Passion at Hereford Cathedral, Handel: Israel in Eqypt at St Martin-in-the-Fields and at St Albans Cathedral and Handel: Messiah at Hereford Cathedral.
Robin Bailey has been the recipient of second Prize in the 17th Annual Lotte Lenya Competition hosted by the Kurt Weill Foundation in New York. He trained at the Royal Academy of Music and is currently completing the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
He premiered the Olivier Award winning production of La Boheme at the Soho theatre, and proudly helped put on a prisoner lead production of West Side Story with Pimlico Opera at Erlestoke prison, in which he played Tony. Robin has also performed with many of the UK’s top consort groups including The BBC Singers, The Gabrieli Consort and Polyphony. He has also sung at the opening of the RBS Six Nations match between England and France live, to an audience of 82,000 at Twickenham stadium.
London-based baritone Dominic Sedgwick currently studies with Robert Dean at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
He has performed extensively on the concert platform, with previous and upcoming engagements including Five Mystical Songs and Dvorak Stabat Mater with Ashtead Choral Society, Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ (Joseph) and the St. John Passion (Bass/Pilate) for Richard Cooke in Canterbury Cathedral, St. Matthew Passion and Messiah for Adrian Partington in Gloucester Cathedral, Sally Beamish’s ‘Equal Voices’ for the LSO world Premier (cover) and the Monteverdi Vespers for English Voices in Kings College Chapel (Cambridge) and the Zurich-based Sing-Academie. He has also performed new compositions for Listenpony and Area 21, both London-based new music groups.
Dominic was the joint winner of the 2014 Three Choirs Felicity Lott competition.