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Sourced primarily from the London Music Colleges, the ELMS Orchestra brings together musicians who are either currently studying or have recently graduated and are now playing professionally in the U.K and abroad. Many of the players work regularly with orchestras such as The Hallé, The London Philharmonic, The Royal Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, English National Opera and The BBC Philharmonic.
Andrew McGregor (tenor) and David Pickthall were at Cambridge together, and even sang in the same large choir, but did not actually meet until both joined the staff of Brentwood School in Autumn 1982. At Cambridge, Andrew was a Choral Exhibitioner in Jesus College Choir, performed as Tenor soloist in Messiah for Clare Choral Society, sang Don Otavio in workshop with John Cox for Cambridge Opera Society and was an active member of the Pembroke Players. More recent work has been with the Amici Chamber Choir, the RSCM Cathedral Summer School (Exeter Cathedral, Chester Cathedral and St John’s College, Cambridge), and the St Michael’s Singers (at St George’s Chapel, Windsor) for three years running.
After five years of teaching Classics at Brentwood, Andrew was appointed to the staff of Harrow School, where he is now Senior Tutor. He was formerly House Master of The Head Master’s House.
He has collaborated with David Pickthall in writing three musicals, including the award-winning "Ain't Life Good!" for Harrow, starring a young Benedict Cumberbatch. Andrew is very pleased to be singing in Brentwood Cathedral again - his last visit was for a Messiah with the Brentwood School Choral Society in 2002, and previously to that was a soloist in David Pickthall's orchestrated version of The Crucifixion. He has a house near Woodham Mortimer so feels he still retains some of his earlier Essex heritage.
Isabella Valentini (Soprano) began singing after being introduced to Julia Wilson-James and later studied under David Pickthall as a music scholar at Brentwood School. She is a recent Music graduate of the University of Birmingham where she studied singing with Louise Crane at the Birmingham Conservatoire. She currently studies with Kate Paterson. Isabella is beginning to establish herself as a soloist of oratorio in and around Essex and the South East. Repertoire to date includes Mozart Requiem, Fauré Requiem, Vivaldi Gloria, Schubert Mass in G, Haydn Nelson Mass, CPE Bach Magnificat, Rutter Magnificat and Mass of the Children and Duke Ellington’s Concert of Sacred Music. On the operatic stage, Isabella has played the title role of Iphigénie in Gluck’s Iphigénie in Aulide, Belinda in Dido and Aeneas and Third Goose in Britten’s Paul Bunyan for the University of Birmingham’s Summer Festival of Music as well as Micäela (Carmen), First Lady (The Magic Flute), Despina (Così Fan Tutte) and Sandrina (La Finta Giardiniera) in scenes. Alongside performing, Isabella has established a successful and thriving teaching practice in Brentwood. When not singing or teaching, she is most likely to be found running in Thorndon Woods, training for marathons or half marathons or planning her next ski trip! She is delighted to be singing on home turf this evening amongst friends, and is forever grateful for the continuous support of her friends and family.
Phillipa Thomas (Contralto) studied music at the University of York winning the York University Concerto Prize. Following her MA, she continued her vocal training at Birmingham Conservatoire where she was a prizewinner in the Edward Brooks English Song Competition, a finalist in the Cecil Drew Oratorio competition and winner of the Birmingham Conservatoire Singing Prize. In 2014, she was a finalist at the John Kerr Award for English Song.
This summer Phillipa covered the role of Carmen for Nevill Holt Opera. Past operatic credits include Sorceress (Dido and Aeneas, Opera Up Close), Carmen (Carmen, Guildford Opera and Opera at Bearwood), Mercedes (Carmen, Choir 2000), Ino (Semele, Jackdaws Young Artists), Dido (Dido and Aeneas, Operamus), Emma Jones (Street Scene, Birmingham Conservatoire) and Forester’s Wife (The Cunning Little Vixen, Birmingham Conservatoire).
Recent solo engagements include Mahler’s Symphony No.2 (Kings College Cambridge under Stephen Cleobury), Dvorak’s Mass in D (Ceramic City Choir), Handel’s Dixit Dominus (Dorking Choral Society), Handel’s Messiah (Newark Choral Society) and John Rutter’s Every Time I Feel the Spirit, (Music Makers, Barnes). Phillipa features regularly as a soloist with the critically acclaimed ensemble Blossom Street.
Mark Nathan (Baritone) recently graduated from the Royal College of Music, studying with Peter Savidge. Previous roles include Marcello (La Bohéme – Puccini), Point (Yeoman of the Guard – Gilbert and Sullivan), Adonis (Venus and Adonis – Blow), Koko (The Mikado – Gilbert and Sullivan; Co-Opera), The Artist (Puppet Opera Triple Bill; Winner of Off West End Best Opera Award), Il Dottore (La Traviata - Verdi), Wagner (Faust - Gounod Gob (The Poisoned Kiss – Vaughan Williams), Morales (Carmen – Bizet), Judge and Counsel (Trial By Jury – Gilbert and Sullivan), Narrator (Narcissus and Echo – Opera Viscera; World Premiere), Antoine (La Vie Parisienne – Offenbach; RCM Interational Opera School). Mark has performed solos with numerous choirs around London and Surrey. In 2012, he directed Britten’s Paul Bunyan to great critical acclaim, as well as musically directing Adler and Ross’s The Pajama Game. He has sung in masterclasses and lessons with notable singers such as Sir John Tomlinson, Rosalind Plowright, Richard Suart and Andrew Shore.
Mark has a website at Mark Nathan
Olivia Jageurs (Harp) has performed at all of London’s major concert venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall and Wigmore Hall. She is the resident harpist at The Orangery, Kensington Palace and the official harpist for the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. Olivia read music at the University of Manchester, before completing a Masters degree at the Royal Academy of Music (2011-13). She then joined the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s competitive training scheme for young instrumentalists. With a particular interest in new music Olivia has worked with composers George Benjamin, Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Param Vir and has commissioned several new works for her instrument, including 12 new works for oboe and harp (premiered at Wigmore Hall). This summer Olivia performed Britten’s Canticle V with renowned tenor Mark Padmore and played all the core repertoire harp chamber music pieces with the North York Moors Chamber Music Festival. She also collaborated with Ledbury Poetry Festival on a schools tour; helping hundreds of children set their poems to music. Last year she toured the UK and Amsterdam with Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds: a large-scale arena tour that included two alien invasions at the O2 arena. Olivia also featured in the latest Mission Impossible film albeit in a rather dark orchestra pit whilst Tom Cruise fought off an assassin in the Vienna Opera House!
Olivia has a website at Olivia Jageurs.
Adrian Gilder (flute) is a London-based flautist and saxophonist. He picked up both instruments prior to joining Brentwood School where he performed in a number of orchestras, Big Bands and musicals under the direction of David Pickthall. He attained the DipABRSM Diploma of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music on the flute at the age of 17 under the tutelage of flautist Carolyn Weadon before graduating from Trevelyan College, Durham University where he was a frequent member of the university’s orchestras and Big Bands and, in particular, the pit orchestras of many of the university’s musical productions. Aside from classical music, Adrian’s other love is jazz and he has featured as an alto and tenor saxophonist for a number of jazz bands and Big Bands throughout the UK and Europe including the David Pickthall Big Band, the Durham University Big Band and as lead alto in the inaugural London-based Seven Steps Big Band.
Stephen King (Organ) studied at Trinity College of Music, under Gladys Puttick, and then at Sussex University, where he was organ scholar under John Birch. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists at the age of eighteen, and holds the Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
Having actively been involved in the musical life of Brentwood for many years - notably with Hutton and Shenfield Choral Society, the Aurelian Ensemble, and the Stondon Singers - he became organist of Brentwood Roman Catholic Cathedral in 1992. He has taken a full part in the Cathedral's musical programme, as organist, pianist and conductor, and accompanied the Cathedral Choir on its visits to Notre Dame, Paris, and to St Peter's Basilica, Rome. He has a keen interest in works for organ with solo instruments, and has taken part in many performances of such works. He also enjoys off-the-beaten-track repertoire, and for some years regularly appeared at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and St John's Smith Square, as organist with the Collegium Musicum of London in rarely performed music, notably in the Herbert Howells centenary concert given on the exact anniversary day of 17th October 1992.
In 2007 he directed a concert of John Gardner's music, in the composer's presence, at Brentwood Cathedral. Earlier that year, as part of the composer's 90th birthday celebrations, he was honoured to participate in the official birthday concert. His new CD recording of John Gardner's music for organ and brass has just been issued. Stephen King also regularly participates in musical activities in Southend-on-Sea, and is a founding trustee of the Southend Boys' Choir and Southend Girls' Choir Trust. He undertook some accompanying for the choirs' recent visits to Australia, and America, in venues ranging from the Sydney Opera House to St John's Cathedral, Los Angeles.