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This iconic choral masterpiece, a favourite of many audiences, will be performed on this occasion with original instruments, highly-rated baroque solo specialists and an acclaimed Liverpool choir. The work includes favourite movements such as the ‘Hallelujah’ Chorus, ‘The trumpet shall sound’ and ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth’, and recounts the story of Christ, from birth, beyond resurrection to revelation.
About Keith Orrell (Conductor)
Keith Orrell is a versatile and vibrant choral and orchestral conductor, and music leader, based in the north-west of England.
He is currently the Musical Director of the Liverpool Welsh Choral (since 2004) and the William Byrd Singers of Manchester (since 2009). In 2011 he took up the choral directorship of the Pennine Spring Music Festival. Keith recently retired after thirteen years as Vocal Projects Leader of Wigan Music Service, where he made a strong impact on the development of singing in schools in the area. His seventy-six ‘Let’s Sing!’ projects and concerts had a massive impact on the singing experiences of around fifty thousand children in the area and has left a lasting legacy. He is also a dedicated church musician, organist and pianist, and is the Director of Music at the church of St Agnes and St Pancras in Liverpool.
He was Chorus Master of the Hallé Choir in Manchester for seven years, working with leading international conductors such as Kent Nagano and Mark Elder, and has acted as a guest Chorus Master for other symphony orchestras in the UK, including the BBC Symphony Chorus. When residing in the Midlands, he formed and directed the Shropshire-based chamber choir, the Beaumaris Singers until 2004. More recently he worked briefly as Director of Music at Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral. He has also led children’s choirs, youth choirs and larger mixed adult choirs such as the Birmingham Singers, Stone Choral Society and Staffordshire Youth choir.
As a choral composer, Keith is developing a growing repertoire of original works, including Exsultet and The Sacrifice, both for choir and instrumental ensembles, which have received acclaimed performances. His most recent large composition for unaccompanied choir, From Harmony, from Heavenly Harmony, will be given its first performance by the William Byrd Singers in November 2021. His list of arrangements for choirs is extensive.
He continues act as an adjudicator, and leads choral workshops and courses, including conducting courses for ABCD (the Association of British Choral Directors).
About Stephen Hargreaves (Accompanist)
Stephen Hargreaves, the regular accompanist for Liverpool Welsh Choral, studied organ with Ian Tracy at Liverpool Cathedral and subsequently with Noel Rawsthorne and Nicolas Kynaston. He was organ scholar at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge where he combined reading law with directing music in the chapel.
Following a 12-month period in the United States, teaching organ at Texas Technical University and broadcasting live across the State on radio and television every week, he returned to Liverpool to pursue a full-time career as an insurance broker and is now a Director at Griffiths and Armour. He is also Assistant Organist at St Mary’s, Walton-on-the-Hill and is much in demand as a free-lance accompanist.
Stephen is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, having twice won the coveted Limpus Prize for the most outstanding overall performance in the College’s practical examinations as well as the Coventry Cathedral Prize and the Dixon Prize for improvisation. In 2013, he was awarded the Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
About Hilary Cronin (Soprano)
Winner of both First Prize and the Audience Prize at the 2021 London Handel International Singing Competition, Hilary Cronin studied at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and was a Robinson Hearn, Trinity College London, and Dame Susan Morden Scholar.
Prior to this, Hilary read Music and was a choral scholar at Royal Holloway University of London, where she was awarded The Driver Prize and the Dame Felicity Lott Bursary.
She also studied on British Youth Opera’s 2020/2021 Serena Fenwick Programme.
Operatic engagements have included Grilletta Lo Speziale for Baroquestock Opera, Mother Hansel and Gretel for Silent Opera and British Youth Opera at Opera Holland Park, Second Woman Dido and Aeneas for the New Generation Festival, Céphise Pygmalion for Dunedin Consort and Mrs Waters The Boatswain’s Mate for Spectra Ensemble at Grimeborn Festival. In 2016, Hilary covered the roles of Minerva Ulysses’ Homecoming and Diana La Calisto for English Touring Opera and in 2019 Hilary covered Despina Così fan tutte for Nevill Holt Opera.
Hilary’s concert repertoire includes the major oratorios of J. S. Bach, Handel, Haydn and Mozart, as well as the Requiems of Brahms, Chilcott, Fauré and Rutter and the Stabat Maters of Pergolesi, Poulenc and Scarlatti.
Hilary has worked with several leading ensembles including Arcangelo, The Monteverdi Choir, Dunedin Consort, London Voices, BBC Singers, English Voices and Sansara.
Hilary Cronin’s upcoming engagements include Bach St Matthew Passion with Gavin Carr and the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus at The Lighthouse - Poole, Bach St John Passion with the English Chamber Orchestra and VOCES8 at Cadogan Hall, Handel motets Saeviat tellus HWV 240 and Silete venti HWV 242 with the London Handel Orchestra at St John’s Smith Square, and Handel Dixit Dominus and Haydn Nelson Mass with Goring Chamber Choir at Douai Abbey.
About Ruairi Bowen (Tenor)
A finalist in the International Handel Singing Competition in 2020, Ruairi is much in demand as an interpreter of Baroque repertoire in the UK and abroad, collaborating with some of the leading conductors in the field including Stephen Layton, Emmanuelle Haïm and Sir John Eliot Gardiner. An experienced evangelist of Bach's Passions, Ruairi made his debuts at Wigmore Hall, Bachfest Leipzig and Snape Maltings with Solomon's Knot, with whom he will join for Bach's Weihnachts Oratorium this winter.
Equally at home with larger-scale symphonic works, he sang in the world premiere & recording of Stanford's Mass Via Victrix with the BBC National Orchestra & Chorus of Wales and Adrian Partington. Other engagements have included Mendelssohn's Elijah in Worcester Cathedral, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with Ben Palmer/Covent Garden Sinfonia and Vaughan Williams’ A Cotswold Romance with the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, and he will sing Verdi’s Messa da Requiem for the first time next year. On the operatic stage, he debuted Prologue/Quint in Britten’s Turn of the Screw at Barnes Music Festival and took on multiple roles in Purcell's The Indian Queen with Le Concert d’Astrée at l'Opera de Lille in 2019. He returned to Barnes for the role of Satvayān in Holst's Sāvitri last Spring, and will feature in Sivan Eldar’s Like Flesh at Opéra national de Montpellier in 2022.
A graduate of King's College, Cambridge, Ruairi was invited to sing on Proud Songsters, an album of English Solo Song recorded with pianist Simon Lepper, featuring distinguished former members of the world-famous chapel choir. Growing up in the Welsh Marches, Ruairi developed a keen interest in exploring the integrated relationship between poetry and nature through pastoral song with recent highlights including a recital on Innocence & Experience with Anna Tilbrook, performing Tippett's Cantata Boyhood's End and Finzi's A Young Man's Exhortation for Finzi Friends at Ashmansworth. He also performed on themes of The Games & Battles of Love for Recitals at Raynham and The Grange Festival, featuring Monteverdi Songs of Court directed by Michael Chance.
During the live music hiatus in 2020/21, Ruairi was a Support Worker for the Children's Section of the British Refugee Council, and formed part of The Hampstead Collective, an ensemble dedicated to performing Handel Oratorio and Bach's sacred works. Where time allows, he returns to Herefordshire to play cricket for Brockhampton CC, and continues his studies with Nicky Spence & Caroline Dowdle.
About James Berry (Baritone)
Baritone James Berry began his musical training as a chorister at Lichfield Cathedral, Staffordshire. After studying at Bloxham School and King Edward VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon, he read Religion and Anthropology at the University of Manchester, while learning singing with Andrew Heggie. He then started his formal vocal training at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), studying with Paul Nilon. While there, he was awarded the John Cameron Prize for the Singing of Lieder, and was a finalist in both the Joyce and Michael Kennedy Award for the Singing of Strauss and the Elizabeth Harwood Memorial Award for Singers.
During his time at RNCM, James worked with Sir Thomas Allen, Sir John Tomlinson, Christopher Purves, James Gilchrist, Roger Vignoles, David Owen Norris, Anthony Spiri, Patricia McMahon, Martin Pickard, Richard Stokes, Paul Wynne Griffiths, and Isobel Flinn.
James has worked with a number of opera companies in the UK and abroad; recent solo work has included First Burgess Peter Grimes (Bergen Nasjonale Opera), Leporello Don Giovanni (Opera on Location), Zaretsky Eugene Onegin (OperaUpClose), cover soloist for Bergen Nasjonale Opera’s staged production of Messiah, First Burgess and Fisherman Peter Grimes with Bergen Philharmonic at the Edinburgh International Festival, Ali The Italian Girl in Algiers (Mananan Opera), Valens Theodora (RNCM Opera), Barone Douphol La Traviata (Mananan Opera) and Henri Martel Un Mari à la Porte with Manchester Opera Ensemble.
Recent chorus involvement includes La Clemenza Di Tito, Sweeney Todd, Peter Grimes, Der Fliegender Holländer (Bergen Nasjonale Opera), Aida (Opera North), L’Arlesiana, Iolanta (Opera Holland Park), The Rake’s Progress (Opera Holland Park and Equilibrium Young Artists at the Aldeburgh Festival, Snape Maltings), and La Traviata (Longborough Festival Opera).
Future engagements include Alfio/Silvio Cavalleria Rusticana/i Pagliacci (Opera on Location) and Golaud Pelléas et Melisande (Byre Opera) in 2022.
About Tim Morgan (Countertenor)
A member of the tenth edition of Les Arts Florissants’ Jardin des Voix, Tim is a Samling artist and was a finalist in the 2019 Kathleen Ferrier Awards. His current and future engagements include; Handel’s Partenope (Armindo) with Les Arts Florissants, tours, as a soloist, of motets by Bach and Schütz, and of Carissimi and Scarlatti with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Handel’s Agrippina (Ottone) with English Touring Opera, and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Polyphony and the Britten Sinfonia.
Recent opera and stage highlights include; Handel’s Amadigi di Gaula (Amadigi) with English Touring Opera, Samuel Adams’s play ‘Gabriel’ with Alison Balsom and the English Concert, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oberon) Nevill Holt Opera, Blow’s Venus and Adonis (Cupid) The Dunedin Consort, Purcell’s Indian Queen with Emanuelle Haim and Le Concert D’Astrée, Faramondo (Gernando) RCMIOS/London Handel Festival.
On the concert stage; Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with the Orchestra of the age of Enlightenment, duet recitals with Michael Chance MBE, Bach’s St John Passion with the OAE, Sir Simon Rattle and directed by Peter Sellars, Handel’s Berenice (Arsace) with La Nuova Musica, Esther (High Priest) both at the London Handel Festival and Purcell’s King Arthur with Vox Luminis.