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21 January 2022
"Iestyn Davies (°1979) is a British counter-tenor widely recognized as one of the world's finest singers, celebrated for the beauty and technical dexterity of his voice and intelligent musicianship....Joseph Middleton (°1981)... .studied at the University of Birmingham, and went on to receive an EMI Entrance Scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music. At the Academy he studied with Malcolm Martineau and Michael Dussek and won all the Academy's prizes for piano accompaniment"Stretto, 24-12-2021
Iestyn Davies is a British countertenor widely recognised as one of the world’s finest singers celebrated for the beauty and technical dexterity of his voice and intelligent musicianship. Critical recognition of Iestyn’s work can be seen in two Gramophone Awards, a Grammy Award, a RPS Award for Young Singer of the Year, the Critics’ Circle Award and recently an Olivier Award Nomination. He was awarded the MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List 2017 for services to music.
Although blessed with a Welsh name, Iestyn hails from York, born into a musical household, his father being the founding cellist of the Fitzwilliam String Quartet.
He began his singing life as a chorister at St John’s College, Cambridge under the direction of Dr.George Guest and later Christopher Robinson.
Later, after graduating in Archaeology and Anthropology from St John’s College, Cambridge Iestyn studied at the Royal Academy of Music, London of which he is now a Fellow.
In 2015 he delighted London theatre audiences singing the role of Farinelli in the play, Farinelli and the King with Mark Rylance at the Globe Theatre. The hugely successful project transferred to the West End this season and was nominated for a number of Olivier Awards.
His operatic engagements have included Ottone (L’incoronazione di Poppea/Monteverdi) for Zürich Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Arsace (Partenope/Handel) for New York City Opera; Oberon (A Midsummer Night’s Dream/Britten) for Houston Grand Opera, English National Opera and The Metropolitan Opera, New York; Apollo (Death in Venice/Britten) for English National Opera and in his house debut at La Scala, Milan; Hamor (Jephtha/Handel) for Welsh National Opera and Opera National de Bordeaux; Steffani’s Niobe at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; his debut at The Metropolitan Opera Unulfo (Rodelinda/Handel) where he has also appeared as Trinculo The Tempest; the Lyric Opera of Chicago in Rinaldo; Bertarido Rodelinda for English National Opera; his debuts at the Opéra Comique and the Munich and Vienna Festivals in George Benjamin's Written on Skin and the title role Rinaldo for Glyndebourne Festival Opera. He returned to Glyndebourne in 2015 for David in Handel’s Saul.
His concert engagements have included performances at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan with Dudamel, the Concertgebouw and Tonhalle with Koopman and at the Barbican, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Lincoln Centre and at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall with orchestras that include the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Britten Sinfonia, Concerto Köln, Concerto Copenhagen, Ensemble Matheus, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Academy of Ancient Music and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He recently made his debut, in recital, at Carnegie Hall, New York. He enjoys a successful relationship with the Wigmore Hall, where, in the 2012/13 season, he curated his own residency.
Recent highlights have included two Bach recitals at the Edinburgh International Festival, Britten's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' at the Aldeburgh Festival and Schubert's 'Die Schöne Müllerin' with Julius Drake at Middle Temple Hall, London. Future plans include Thomas Adès's "The Exterminating Angel' at the Metropolitan Opera New York and Farinelli & the King with Mark Rylance on Broadway, New York.
His recordings include two versions of Handel’s Messiah (New College Oxford, AAM/Naxos) and (Polyphony, Britten Sinfonia/Hyperion), Handel’s Chandos Anthems on Hyperion, Handel’s Flavio for Chandos with The Early Opera Company and Christian Curnyn, Bach’s Easter Oratorio with Retrospect Ensemble, his debut solo recording Live at the Wigmore Hall with his own Ensemble Guadagni, a disc of Porpora Cantatas with Jonathan Cohen and Arcangelo, an award winning disc of works for Guadagni for Hyperion and a disc of Handel arias with The King’s Consort for Vivat. 2014/5 saw the release of The Art of Melancholy, a recital of Dowland songs for Hyperion, Flow my tears, songs for lute, viol and voice on the Wigmore Live label and Arise my muse for which he received the Gramophone Recital Award. He has added recordings of Bach Cantatas with Arcangelo, Faure Songs with Malcolm Martineau andlooks forward to the release of Bach's Magnificat and B Minor Mass in the coming months both for Hyperion.
He is the recipient of the 2010 Royal Philharmonic Young Artist of the Year Award, the 2012 & 2014 Gramophone Recital Award, the 2013 Critics’ Circle Awards for Exceptional Young Talent (Singer).
Pianist Joseph Middleton specialises in the art of song accompaniment and chamber music and has been highly acclaimed within this field. Described in the BBC Music Magazineas ‘one of the brightest stars in the world of song and Lieder’, he has also been labeled ‘the cream of the new generation’ by The Times and ‘a perfect accompanist’ by Opera Now. He performs and records with many of the world’s finest singers in major music centres across Europe, the Americas and Far East. Joseph is Director of Leeds Lieder, a Professor at his alma mater the Royal Academy of Music, and holds the position of Musician in Residence at Pembroke College Cambridge, where he curates an imaginative song recital series as well as directing the University’s Lieder Scheme. In 2016 he became the first accompanist to win the Young Artist Award at the Royal Philharmonic Awards – the highest recognition for live classical music-making in the United Kingdom and had the title Fellow conferred upon him by the Royal Academy of Music.
Joseph enjoys recitals with internationally established singers including Sir Thomas Allen, Louise Alder, Ian Bostridge, Dame Sarah Connolly, Lucy Crowe, Iestyn Davies, Fatma Said, Samuel Hasselhorn, Wolfgang Holzmair, Christiane Karg, Katarina Karnéus, Angelika Kirchschlager, Dame Felicity Lott, Christopher Maltman, John Mark Ainsley, Ann Murray, James Newby, Mark Padmore, Miah Persson, Ashley Riches, Amanda Roocroft, Kate Royal, Matthew Rose, Carolyn Sampson, Nicky Spence and Roderick Williams. He regularly collaborates with rising stars from the younger generation and in 2012 he formed the Myrthen Ensemble to further explore lesser-known song repertoire with regular duo partners Mary Bevan, Clara Mouriz, Allan Clayton and Marcus Farnsworth. Signum Records released their début CD ‘Songs to the Moon‘.
Recent seasons have taken him to London’s Wigmore Hall, Royal Opera House and Royal Festival Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus, Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Muziekgebouw, Köln Philharmonie, Strasbourg, Frankfurt, Lille and Gothenburg Opera Houses, Paris Musée d’Orsay, Zürich Tonhalle, deSingel Antwerp, Luxembourg Philharmonie, Bozar Brussels and Tokyo’s Oji Hall. He made his New York debut at the Alice Tully Hall accompanying Dame Sarah Connolly in a recital described in the New York Times as ‘superlative…everything a song recital should be’. Elsewhere in the Americas he has appeared at New York’s Park Avenue Armoury, Toronto’s Koerner Hall, Vancouver’s Chan Centre, San Francisco’s Nourse and Herbst Theatres and Chicago’s Ravinia Festival. He is a regular guest at Festivals in Aix-en-Provence, Aldeburgh, the BBC Proms, Barcelona, Brighton, Cheltenham, Schloss Elmau, Edinburgh, Munich, Oxford Lieder, Stuttgart and West Cork.
His critically acclaimed discography includes a particularly fruitful collaboration with Carolyn Sampson on the BIS label. Their five releases have won an Edison Award, received nominations for Gramophone and BBC Music Magazines Awards, been Radio France’s Disc of the Month and been shortlisted for an International Classical Music Award. Further recording projects include an English Song recital with Dame Sarah Connolly for Chandos which included world premiere recordings of songs by Britten (Gramophone Editor’s Choice, Sunday Times Disc of the Week, top of the official classical charts); ‘Strauss Lieder’ with Louise Alder for Orchid Classics (Sunday Times Top CDs of the Year, Gramophone Magazine Editor’s Choice, nominated for an International Classical Music Award); ‘Voyages’ with Mary Bevan for Signum Records (nominated for a BBC Music Magazine Award) and, for Champs Hill Records: ‘Nocturnal Variations’ with Ruby Hughes (Recording of the Month – BBC Music Magazine), ‘Elgar in Sussex’ with Dame Felicity Lott, ‘Tell me the Truth about Love’ with Amanda Roocroft, ‘This other Eden’ with Kitty Whately (Shortlisted for Best Disc of 2015 – American Record Guide), the Lieder of Ludwig Thuille with Sophie Bevan and Jennifer Johnston and the complete Purcell/Britten realizations with Ruby Hughes, Allan Clayton and Matthew Rose. Joseph has a special relationship with the BBC through his work with their New Generation Artists Scheme and as such has made numerous live broadcasts of solo, chamber and song repertoire for BBC Radio 3, including frequently being invited to curate his own weeklong series of lunchtime concerts.
Born in Gloucestershire, Joseph graduated with an MPhil from the University of Birmingham, studied piano on an EMI Scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music and went on to win the accompanist prizes at the Wigmore Hall International Song, Kathleen Ferrier, Richard Tauber, Royal Over-Seas League and Geoffrey Parsons Awards. He lives near London with his family.
Iestyn Davies (°1979) is a British counter-tenor widely recognized as one of the world's finest singers, celebrated for the beauty and technical dexterity of his voice and intelligent musicianship....Joseph Middleton (°1981)... .studied at the University of Birmingham, and went on to receive an EMI Entrance Scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music. At the Academy he studied with Malcolm Martineau and Michael Dussek and won all the Academy's prizes for piano accompaniment