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.
Bristol Ensemble is a professional chamber orchestra, formed in 1994 by violinist Roger Huckle (originally called the Emerald Ensemble). They’re best known for their work with film and media, and their contemporary music project – Elektrostatic.
Bristol Ensemble also carries out various community outreach programmes in schools, colleges and for the elderly. They’ve recorded for TV and film, notably the BBC Natural History Unit.
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.
Llio Evans hails from Anglesey and hold masters degrees has from both the Wales International Academy of Voice and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
During her time at RWCMD she received many awards, including the Lieder Prize twice. She was also successful outside College, having won the Osborne Roberts Memorial Prize, Dame Anne Evans Award, Russell Sheppard Award and the Welsh Association of Male Choirs Music Award. She was also a prize winner at the W. Towyn Roberts Memorial Scholarship Competition in 2011 and 2013, and a finalist for the MOCSA Young Welsh Singer of the Year competition in 2008 and 2011.
As an Alvarez Young Artist at Garsington Opera in their 2014 Summer season, Llio covered the role of Mimi in Offenbach’s Vert-Vert. Other operatic roles include Yum-Yum, Gretel (both Co-Opera Co.), Susanna, Pamina (both Opera’r Ddraig), 2nd Singing Apple (The Little Green Swallow), cover Flower Girl (Le nozze di Figaro, with BYO), and The Bat (L’enfant et les sortilièges, with RWCMD).
A regular on the Oratorio platform, Llio has performed the soprano solo in Mendelssohn’s Elijah at St John’s Smith Square with the Three Choirs Festival and Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Adrian Partington.
Sebastian Field is a countertenor who has received acclaim across the West Country and beyond as an interpreter of baroque music, and as a recitalist. He currently lives and works in Gloucester where he teaches singing in several local schools, sings in the Cathedral Choir, and is active in politics as a city councillor.
Having begun his musical life as a chorister at Hereford Cathedral under Dr Roy Massey, Sebastian has gone on to sing under conductors including Harry Bicket, Adrian Partington, Jonathan Watts and Kristjan Järvi. He is in demand as a soloist with choral societies, and has performed in festivals in Cheltenham, Ludlow, Bath and St Davids. Sebastian has sung as a soloist in the Colston Hall, Bristol, the Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff, and in the Royal Albert Hall.
Sebastian has given song recitals across the country, and specialises in English Song and Renaissance music, which he often performs accompanied by period instruments.
Past concerts have included Stravinsky’s Mass with the BBC National Chorus of Wales (subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio 3), Bach’s arrangement of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, with Devon Baroque, and ‘a Baroque Christmas’ with Thornbury Choral Society under Dr Steven Kings.
Mark Padmore was born in London and grew up in Canterbury. After beginning his musical studies on the clarinet he gained a choral scholarship to King’s College, Cambridge and graduated with an honours degree in music. He has established a flourishing career in opera, concert and recital. His performances in Bach’s Passions have gained international acclaim.
In the opera house he has worked with directors Peter Brook, Katie Mitchell, Mark Morris and Deborah Warner. He also played Peter Quint in an acclaimed BBC television production of Britten’s Turn of the Screw and recorded the title role in La Clemenza di Tito with René Jacobs for Harmonia Mundi. In concert he has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Munich Radio, Berlin, Vienna, New York and London Philharmonic Orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Boston and London Symphony Orchestras and the Philharmonia. He makes regular appearances with the OAE with whom he has conceived projects exploring both Bach St John and St Matthew Passions. Mark has given recitals in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, New York Paris and Vienna. He appears frequently at Wigmore Hall in London.
Brian McAlea was born in Belfast in Northern Ireland. He studied music at New College Oxford and became a Choral Scholar in the New College Choir.
He is a member of the Sestina Singers, an early music ensemble based in Belfast. Their performances include Mendelssohn’s Elijah as part of the BBC proms at the Royal Albert Hall.