It has been far too long since I updated this blog, so I thought I would bring it back to life! It won't be a daily, but updates will now be regular.
So, my degree has ended, and I made it through finals alive (just!). Unfortunately I was unwell throughout the exams, but that won't be taken into consideration as much as I think it should. As a result, my degree won't be a true reflection, but as I was reminded by a most wonderful invigilator, "no matter the result, you're great at what you do, and you should have no regrets. That you have made it this far given your situation is an impressive achievement in itself." With that in mind, I have no regrets!
In the past few months I've had a few nice achievements:
* I was elected as a Fellow to the Guild of Musicians and Singers;
* I was elected as a Fellow to the Irish Guild of Organists and Choristers;
* The National College of Music Society admitted me as a member.
However, before I move on to the future, there are some loose ends that need seeing to...
My last week or so in Oxford was an intense, crazy blur of music-making at the highest level, in the company of some of the best musicians I have met on my insane Oxford journey. I took part in a total of eight concerts - six solo engagements, and two choral.
For most of my solo concerts I had the pleasure of working with organist and conductor Nicholas Freestone (http://njfreestone.co.uk) as my accompanist. I am so grateful for the opportunity of working with him, and he is definitely someone to watch - an immensely talented musician, and I hope to work with him again in the future!
I also have to thank my other accompanists - Ed Whitehead (Senior Organ Scholar at Hertford College), who accompanied my recital of Vivaldi's 'Stabat Mater' on the beautiful harpsichord at St.Peter's College, and Twm Watkins (Senior Organ Scholar at Pembroke College, and the Musical Director of my ensemble 'Illumina') who accompanied the concert of Pergolesi's 'Stabat Mater' given by myself and soprano Elizabeth Cobb. I had a lot of fun taking part in those concerts, and they reminded me why I love my job!
Perhaps the most special day was the day in which I had a recital and a choral concert. The recital was very special (again expertly accompanied by Mr Freestone), with a huge turnout (which included distinguished musician Jonathan Williams and world-renowned academic Dr Emily Kearns, who was once my tutor in Early Greek Hexameter literature - my favourite topic!), and an amazing venue and harpsichord. Given what has happened since, it would appear Nick and I have some groupies! Added to all of this was the landmark event that was my last engagement with the chapel Choir of Worcester College - evensong in Broughton followed by a concert of great music. It was a wonderful way to end my time at Worcester, and having one last chance to sing with my fellow chapel musicians was priceless.Their gift of a copy of 'The Oxford Book of Tudor Anthems' was massively touching, and I shall certainly treasure it!
And so my Oxford chapter comes to a close, a chapter that contains some of the best and worst episodes of my life, but nonetheless a chapter that will stay with me for the rest of my days. I met a veritable cascade of wonderful people, and I am so grateful to have had the experiences I had whilst there.
Now I'm at home and looking ahead to the future - what have I been up to and what is in store for me?
I've been taking the time out to rest and to get back into the swing of family life, something I have very much enjoyed, seeing as I feel I'm getting back into some kind of relaxed normality! I've also been doing some work, mainly reading, but I've also been doing some singing of the daily office with Manchester Cathedral Choir (at St.Anne's Church nearby as the Cathedral is having building work done!), and also did some singing in London, joining the choir of St.Peter's, Hammersmith for a celebratory ordination Communion service (after which I missed the last train home and ended up spending the night in London!).
In the future, there are plenty of exciting things coming up - I'll be doing some touring and teaching in Sussex, as well as evensong at Westminster Abbey with Voces Assumptionis and my graduation! I'm looking forward to getting my BA Hons (Oxon) and my hood (beautiful, isn't it?). Then after that I'll be an artist at the Historically Informed Summer School (hosted by the North East Early Music Forum), where I'll be doing plenty of singing and giving a lecture on the Castrati! Then I'll be flying to Hungary where I'll be taking part in a Masterclass for young professionals, as well as doing some great concert duets!
That reminds me of a very exciting new avenue - as part of my masterclass repertoire I'll be singing the beautiful "White Bee" by the wonderful composer Cecilia McDowall (http://www.ceciliamcdowall.co.uk). Cecilia got in touch with me personally and asked if I'd be interested - having looked at the music I jumped at the chance to do so, and I'm looking forward to singing it in a concert! There is also the possibility of collaborating with Cecilia in a series of songs for countertenor - watch this space, and I will update you all in due course!
I think that's it from me for now. Sorry for the really long post - my regular blog entries will be much shorter from now on, I promise!
Freelance countertenor, recently graduated from the University of Oxford and a Choral Scholar at Truro Cathedral. Here, there are updates on various projects and my musings on music, philosophy, and on life in general, all laid bare for your perusal, reading pleasure and comment. Enjoy!