Category Archives: Soloists

Rebecca Lea

Rebecca completed her MMus with Distinction at the Royal Northern College of Music. Previous to this she studied at The Queen’s College, Oxford, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Recent solo performances include Poulenc’s La voix humaine at the Purcell Room, Judith Weir’s The Consolations of Scholarship at The Sage, Gateshead, King Harald’s Saga at the Wigmore Hall and William Bolcom’s Cabaret Songs at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms Lates Series. She has appeared as a soloist in concert and on BBC Radio 3 with Manchester Camerata, Northern Sinfonia, The Liverpool Philharmonic Ensemble 10/10.

She gave her first solo performance at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 2011, performing Gary Carpenter’s One Million Tiny Operas about Britain and at the Lake District Summer Music Festival in 2012 in the newly-devised production The Mask Behind the Face.

Opera roles include Elle (La voix humaine), Galatea (Acis and Galatea), Cis (Albert Herring), Susanna(Le Nozze di Figaro), The Governess (The Turn of the Screw) and Venus (The Judgement of Paris). She recently played the role of Paula in the newly commissioned work, Amy’s Last Dive, by Cheryl Frances Hoad, with the company Wingbeats as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, touring to Leeds and Bridlington Spa Theatre.

She also works as a freelance  consort and ensemble singer  with the BBC Singers, Britten Sinfonia Voices, Buxton Opera Festival Chorus, Cries of London, the NDR Radio Choir in Hamburg, Howard Goodall’s Enchanted Voices, Platinum Consort, as well as with many of the professional church choirs in London. She is also busy as an oratorio soloist throughout the UK.

Rebecca has been the grateful recipient of the Oxford Lieder Festival Scholarship, the RNCM Contemporary Music Prize, the RNCM Kate Snape Award and the Liverpool Opera Circle Bursary.

Rebecca is also Co-Artistic Director of the classical music theatre company Re:Sound, with whom she has performed at various venues across the UK, including Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, The Royal Albert Hall, the Shulman Auditorium, Oxford, and the RNCM Studio Theatre. Their latest production, Battles Within and Without, will tour to King’s Place, London, in 2013.

Rebecca Lea’s website is www.rebeccalea.co.uk

Appearances with Chester Bach Singers

Katie Bray

British mezzo-soprano, Katie Bray is fast establishing a colourful international career, most recently engaged as Charlotte Werther in the 2014 Grimeborn Festival. That year, she made her solo début with Garsington Opera as Emma in Offenbach’s Vert Vert, directed by Martin Duncan and conducted by David Parry. Other recent operatic roles include Lazuli L’Étoile with New Sussex Opera, cover Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro in McVicar’s production at ROH, and NancyAlbert Herring with Opera North.

This season, Katie makes her solo début with English National Opera in Joanna Lee’s The Way Back Home at the Young Vic Theatre, and in 2015, she will join Opera Holland Park as Mallika Lakmé and Opera North as Rosina Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Katie is also a keen recitalist, and has performed in prestigious venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, The Forge, the Holywell Music Room and St George’s, Hanover Square. She has given recitals in many song festivals including the City of London Festival, the London English Song Festival and the Oxford Lieder Festival.

Other recent highlights include a recording of Zemlinsky’s Opus 13 with Trevor Pinnock, and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde in the Loch Shiel Spring Festival.

Katie graduated as a Karaviotis Scholar from the opera course at the Royal Academy of Music, and was awarded the 2012 Principal’s Prize. Taught by Elizabeth Ritchie and Iain Ledingham, she won First Prize in the Academy’s prestigious Richard Lewis Singing Competition in 2011.

Her website is www.katieemilybray.com

Appearances with Chester Bach Singers

Tom Kelly

Tom became a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral aged 7 where he sang for six years under John Scott. He read Music at The University of Manchester where he studied with Martin Bussey. He was a Lay Clerk at Manchester Cathedral and a regular member of the Daily Service Singers on BBC Radio 4.

Since graduating, Tom has been a Lay Clerk of New College Oxford, and has sung with a range of professional choirs including Ex Cathedra, The Sixteen, La Nuova Musica, The Fieri Consort, Britten Sinfonia Voices, The Gabrieli Consort, and Chapelle du Roi. He looks forward to upcoming engagements with Polyphony and The Marian Consort.

As a soloist, Tom has regularly performed a range of concert works including Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Monteverdi’s Vespers, and a particular highlight has been performing the Evangelist of The St. John Passion.

On stage, Tom has performed the role of Jupiter in Semele, and the Mudlark in Mudlark Dances, a setting of music by Monteverdi commissioned as a groundbreaking touring opera for Spitalfields Music with performances designed specifically for babies aged 6 months to 2 years old.

Appearances with Chester Bach Singers

Graham McCusker

Graham was born in Glasgow, Scotland and raised in Paisley. Born into a musical family (his father an opera singer with Scottish Opera and his mother a singing teacher) he began singing at the age of five as a chorister in the Paisley Abbey Choir. During his 16 years in the choir, he became Head Boy at the age of nine and a Choral Scholar at age 15. As a treble, Graham sang with the Scottish Opera Children’s Chorus in productions of The Queen of Spades, The Cunning Little Vixen, La Bohème, Tosca and Hansel and Gretel. He also played Amahl in Amahl and the Night Visitors and Miles in the RSAMD’s production of The Turn of the Screw. Whilst singing as a treble Graham also studied the piano, and when his voice changed, he continued with piano studies at the Junior RSAMD.
Graham gained a place at Douglas Academy Music School in Milngavie for his final two years of school, studying voice with Ruth Dean and piano with Anna Rastopchina. During this time he sang in many choirs, including The National Youth Chamber Choir of Scotland, Strathclyde University Chamber Choir, RSNO Chorus and the RSAMD Chamber Choir, with which he performed in such renowned venues as the Royal Albert Hall, the Usher Hall and Queens Hall in Edinburgh, Royal Concert Hall and City Halls in Glasgow, His Majesty’s Theatre and St Thomas’s Church in Leipzig. Shortly after completing his studies at Douglas Academy, Graham was offered a position as tutor with the Renfrewshire Schools Senior Choir.
In his second year at the Royal Northern College of Music he was chosen as one of the apostles to sing in performances at the Bridgewater Hall and in the proms at the Royal Albert Hall and which they made a recording of ‘The Apostles’ by Elgar. The CD got Gramophone recording of the year, amongst other awards, and No. 4 in the classical charts.
Recent highlights as a soloist include performing Handel’s Messiah with Chesterfield Choral Society, Beethoven no. 9th symphony with Salford Choral Society, Brahm’s German Requiem with critically acclaimed chamber choir Caledonian Voices and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with Southwell Choral Society. Graham also recently sang with Boy George and Clean bandit live on Radio 1 & 2 alongside the BBC Philharmonic.
On the opera stage Graham is recently played the role of Bogdanovich in the RNCM production of ‘The Merry Widow’ and is soon to play Oreste in Gluck’s ‘Iphigenie en Tauride’ in June in St. Andrew’s. Graham is currently on the Post Graduate Diploma course studying singing with Peter Alexander Wilson at the RNCM.

Appearances with Chester Bach Singers