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Past Associate Soloists

The Associate Soloist scheme was set up in 2010 with the cooperation of Sheffield University Department of Music. It offers a young singer the opportunity to work with a local choir for a whole year and to receive financial support to further their development towards a professional singing career.

2017-18 Tim Peters (tenor)

Associate Soloist

Timothy Peters BMus (Hons) read music at the University of Sheffield and is now pursuing a freelance career as a tenor, choral conductor and composer. He is a tenor lay clerk at Sheffield Cathedral, with whom he has toured internationally, performed live on BBC One, BBC Radio 3, and sung for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. He regularly performs in choirs in and around Sheffield, Manchester, Nottingham, Leeds, York, Guildford and London.

Before University, Timothy was the tenor 1 section leader for the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and sang with the National Youth Chamber Choir. Performing with these choirs gave him the opportunity to sing in prestigious venues across the UK. Further engagements with these ensembles include a number Aldeburgh and live televised BBC Proms performances and several professional recordings.

Since coming to Sheffield, Timothy has regularly performed as a soloist with choirs in the surrounding areas, most recently with: Sheffield Bach Choir (Handel's Messiah); Sheffield Teachers Choir (Maunder's Olivet to Calvary and Stainer's The Crucifixion); The Abbeydale Singers (Orff's Carmina Burana); Bingham Choral Society (Mozart's Vespers and Pergolesi's Magnificat); Escafeld Chorale (Vaughan Williams' Five Mystical Songs, Peters' The Great 'O' Antiphons, Haydn's Missa Brevis No 7, and Schubert's Mass in G Major); Sheffield Oratorio Chorus (Kodaly's Missa Brevis, Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb and songs from Mendelssohn's Elijah); Hallam Choral Society and Hallam Sinfonia (Handel's Messiah); and Bakewell Choral Society and South Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra (Mozart’s Vespers and Coronation Mass); in addition to numerous performances as a recitalist this year. Timothy was awarded the University of Sheffield's Julian Payne Recital Prize for obtaining highest marks in first year performance.

As a choral conductor, Timothy directs eight regular choirs in Sheffield including the University's Staff Choir, Octogenesis, the Sheffield Outreach Choir and Sheffield Cathedral's Young Voices. Timothy was also the Associate Conductor for the University’s Chamber Choir. As Animateur for the English Touring Opera’s Sheffield production of the Bach's B Minor Mass in November, he directed the chorus rehearsals. Timothy is looking forward to a new project after Easter where he will be directing a community choir at a foodbank in Sheffield.

Timothy also composes and has had three commissions this year from Sheffield Cathedral and the University’s Chamber Choir. Timothy frequently arranges music for his youth and welfare choirs, often prompted by the members' requests for more pop songs. His new piece Salve Regina was premiered at Classical Sheffield's fringe festival, in March 2018.

Timothy has a passion for outreach projects and has recently led a project in northern Uganda (July-August 2017). ‘Northern Uganda SINGS!’ saw Timothy travelling around the northern region of Uganda leading choral workshops as a form of music therapy to some of the most remote and deprived communities in the country. Timothy’s next large-scale project is Bill Frog to the Rescue. Timothy and composer Nicholas Cox are in the process of writing a secular children’s rock opera for next Christmas and it will involve nearly 200 children from underprivileged families around South Yorkshire.

Other interests include trombone performance, jazz piano performance and sampling real ale. Life Aquatic Band, in which Timothy plays trombone, piano and backing vocals, are signed to English Rain Records.

2016-17 Keren Hadas (soprano)

Associate Soloist

Keren Hadas graduated from the University of Sheffield with a BMus in 2015. She has been a performer since the age of 7, originally focusing on piano. She made the switch to singing whilst training at the Royal College of Music Junior department and has maintained a close connection with the college ever since, performing regularly with the alumni choir, The Vigala Singers. Although she continues to study both musical disciplines, she is now most active as a singer, having performed in venues ranging from local recitals to Budapest, Mantua and Stockholm.

2015-16 Lindsey James (soprano)

Associate Soloist

Lindsey James was born in 1993 in Sheffield, where her musical studies were nurtured. She graduated from King's College London with a First Class BMus degree in 2015, and gained a PGCE from the UCL Institute of Education in 2016. She has singing lessons with Alison Wells and is a soprano, choral leader, and part-time Teacher of Music at the North London Collegiate School. Whilst carrying out her teacher training, Lindsey gained a place in Harry Christophers' Genesis Sixteen choir and has since been engaged in several of The Sixteen's outreach projects for adults and children. Elsewhere, Lindsey sings with choirs of various sizes, thereby covering a wide range of repertoire. She has sung well-known works by Handel, Mozart, Orff and Mahler with the Philharmonia Chorus, and more intimate pieces by Elgar, Walton and Vaughan Williams at St John's Smith Square. On Sundays, she can often be found singing one-to-a-part in churches across London for the Eucharist service. Lindsey is a founding member of two ensembles: the young professional choir, echo, and the outreach ensemble, Horizon Voices. The former group will return to the Ryedale Festival as Ensemble in Residence for 2019, and the latter will present concerts and workshops at The Sixteen's Sounds Sublime Festival. For details of Lindsey's upcoming performances, please visit her website

2014-15 Jak Laight (baritone)

Associate Soloist

Jak is a young baritone from Banbury and was in the final year of his undergraduate music degree at Sheffield University when he became our Associate Soloist. When he arrived at university, his first study was classical guitar but he quickly realised that he was more keen to sing. In 2013 he enjoyed his first opera and oratorio performances, playing Starveling in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream (Opera on Location) and as the bass soloist in Handel's Messiah (Sheffield Bach Society). In 2014, he performed with Opera on Location again as a member of the chorus in La Bohème and sang the baritone solos for Glossop Choral Society's performance of Howard Goodall's Eternal Light. In 2015 he sang the part of Pandolfe in Massenet's Cendrillon (Sheffield City Opera).

2013-14 Laura Lister (soprano)

Associate Soloist

Laura was in her final year studying music at the University of Sheffield when she was Escafeld's Associate Soloist. She had already been involved in various performances,including singing the title role in Carmen with Leeds Youth Opera and taking a leading role in Pirates of Penzance with Leeds Gilbert and Sullivan Society. Aside from performing, she also worked as a singing teacher, helped out at a children's choir and volunteered at the Children's Hospital.After graduating,she planned on remaining in Sheffield, teaching and training, with the possibility of moving onto music college in the future. She found being the Associate Soloist in a friendly and welcoming choir an absolute pleasure.

2012-13 Debra Finch (soprano)

Associate Soloist

Debra graduated from Sheffield University in 2012 and was awarded the Mrs Stewart Blake BMus Prize and Recital Prize. During her year as Escafeld's Associate Soloist she was beginning her PhD research into the musical work of Barbra Streisand. Debra has also sung as a soloist with groups such as Sheffield Oratorio Chorus, Sheffield Cathedral Choir and Sheffield City Opera, playing the role of Siebel in the latter's production of Gounod's Faust. She expanded her interest in contemporary approaches to opera by performing as an ensemble member with the Welsh National Youth Opera in 2009 and 2011, and recording for a BBC Radio 4 play with them in April 2012. Debra is also very interested in working with contemporary composers within Sheffield University's Music Department, taking part in performances of their work in the University's New Music Ensemble concerts. As well as this, Debra enjoys composing, mostly for voice, hoping to explore ways to expand and merge the genres of art song and singer-songwriting.

2011-12 Rosie Williamson (soprano)

Associate Soloist

Rosie Williamson graduated from Sheffield University in 2009 with a BMus, first-class honours and during her year as Associate Soloist she combined performing with singing teaching. With the University of Sheffield Chamber Choir she sang soprano solos in works ranging from Mozart's Coronation Mass and Bach's Cantata No.140 to Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb and Kodaly's Missa Brevis. More recently, she has taken solo roles in Mozart's Missa Brevis in B flat and Britten's Missa Brevis for Cantaremos and Jonathan Willcocks's Lux Perpetua for Sheffield Oratorio Chorus. Opera credits include the principal role of Pocris in the 17th-century Spanish opera Celos aun del aire Matan,First Boy in The Magic Flute (Sheffield City Opera), Gretel in scenes from Hansel and Gretel and chorus in The Elixir of Love and Xerxes. Appearances in musicals have included Sweeney Todd (Johanna),Company (Marta), Oklahoma! (Laurey), Beauty and the Beast (Babette), Grease (Sandy) and Annie (Grace Farrell). Rosie has participated in masterclasses with Malcolm Martineau and Mark Wildman and has also won various prizes at the David Clover Festival of Singing, including the 2011 Open Recital Class. During 2013-14 Rosie was studying for an MA in Solo Voice Ensemble Singing at the University of York, which included singing as part of a five-part solo voice ensemble coached by Robert Hollingworth (director of I Fagiolini). In summer 2014 she moved to London to take up a soprano choral scholarship at All Saints Fulham in September but returned to Sheffield to perform in Opera on Location's La Bohème at the Graves Gallery in August 2014.

2010-11 Matthew Palmer (baritone)

Associate Soloist

Matthew graduated from Sheffield University in 2011 with a first class BMus. He studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Robert Dean and is on the first year of the Opera Course. He has sung live on BBC Radio 3's In Tune and made his European debut as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte at the Brigitta Festival, Estonia in 2016. Between graduating from the masters course in 2016 and returning to the school in 2018, Matthew worked for Opera North, Garsington Opera, Grange Park Opera and Glyndebourne Education and recently sang Marcello in La Bohème in the Olivier-Award-nominated production at Trafalgar Studios, London. Other highlights during that time include baritone soloist for Opera North Children's Choir; Ned Keene in Peter Grimes (Dartington Festival) under Sian Edwards; Fiorello and cover Figaro in The Barber of Seville (Iford Arts); Captain Corcoran in HMS Pinafore (Charles Court Opera); The Mikado and Pish-Tush in The Mikado (Charles Court Opera); Guglielmo in Così fan tutte (Devon Opera); Escamillo in Carmen (Heritage Opera); Conte Robinson in Il Matrimonio Segreto (Pop-Up Opera); Mr Ford in Merry Wives of Windsor (Duchy Opera).

A regular oratorio soloist, Matthew has performed much of the standard repertoire, including Messiah (Handel); St Matthew Passion (Bach); Five Mystical Songs (Vaughan-Williams); Ein Deutches Requiem (Brahms); The Seasons (Haydn); Crucifixion (Stainer); Requiem (Mozart); Requiem (Fauré); Coronation Mass (Mozart); Messa di Gloria (Puccini); Messe Solennelle (Gounod) as well as lesser-known works such as Passio (Pärt); Requiem da Camara (Finzi); Eternal Light Requiem (Goodall) among others, varying from new commissions to Bach Cantatas and Haydn masses.

Matthew is a Concordia Foundation Artist and has performed at LSO St Luke's, St Martin-in-the-Fields and St James's Piccadilly, amongst others, in recital and concert. He is delighted to be returning to Sheffield to sing with Escafeld Chorale, whose support through their Associate Soloist scheme in his last year of University laid the foundation for further study and development.

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