JEFFFREY HOWARD - MUSICAL DIRECTOR

 

Jeffrey Howard was born in Cardiff and studied at the University of Wales College, Cardiff and the Royal Academy of Music, London specializing in organ performance and Church Music. He now pursues a free-lance career as organist, pianist, singer, coach and conductor. He has accompanied leading international singers including Bryn Terfel, Sir Willard White, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dennis O'Neill, Rebecca Evans, Wynne Evans, Alfie Boe and Jason Howard.

Jeff has performed in concert halls and cathedrals throughout the United Kingdom and Europe including the Wigmore Hall, The Goethe Institute, Brussels, St. Paul's Cathedral, St Georges Chapel, Windsor and Notre Dame in Paris and has worked with orchestras including The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Royal Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Budapest Symphony both as pianist and arranger. He made his Royal Albert Hall debut in 2002 as soloist in Shostakovitch's 2nd piano concerto and returned as pianist and organist for the London Welsh Festival of Male Choirs. He has performed Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto and Beethoven's Emperor Concerto at St. David's Hall, with the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra and in recital with Bryn Terfel at Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.

Jeff is an active organ recitalist throughout the UK with a varied repertoire from classical through to orchestral and transcriptions of movie themes. In 1996, he was Guest Artist in Residence at First United Methodist Church, Lubbock, Texas also holding the position of Visiting Professor of Organ at Texas Tech University. During his time in the US, he performed many concerts, television and radio broadcasts recorded a solo organ cd and performed at venues such as Washington National Cathedral.

For the last twenty years, Jeff has been a Vocal Coach at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and at Welsh National Opera and Welsh National Youth Opera, recently conducting the opera Sweetness and Badness for the MAX department and having worked on productions for the last fifteen years. He worked on the opening production of La Traviata for the Wales Millennium Centre for WNO. Jeff also coaches at the Wales International Academy of Voice with Dennis O'Neill and on the Music Theatre Course at the RWCMD.

Jeff is conductor of the 300 voice St David's Praise Choir and Orchestra who regularly perform programmes of classical, gospel and contemporary Christian music at St David's Hall, Cardiff and on recordings. He is also Musical Director of Cambrensis Choir. Jeff's skills as an arranger and orchestrator are in great demand and he frequently provides pieces for the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, Songs of Praise, S4C and various solo artists including Go Compare tenor, Wynne Evans. As accompanist, singer and arranger for Only Men Aloud!, winners of the BBC competition ‘Last Choir Standing' he toured the UK twice in 2009 and worked on their second album, 'Band of Brothers' on the Universal label for which Jeff did many of the arrangements. For this album they won a Classical Brit in 2010.

Outside the field of classical music, Jeff is also involved in cabaret and music theatre having worked with such names as Michael Ball, John Owen Jones, Shan Cothi, Rhydian Roberts, Connie Fisher, Peter Karrie, Ruth Madoc, and more informally, Dame Shirley Bassey!

HELEN ROBERTS - ACCOMPANIST



 

Helen Roberts was born in Trowbridge, Wiltshire. She started to learn a variety of musical instruments at an early age including the flute and violin but soon developed an aptitude for the piano.

She joined the West Wiltshire Young Musicians and at the age of ten won the prestigious Honeywell Cup for outstanding musicianship.

While she was studying at the Clarendon School, Helen was in popular demand as an accompanist and during this time played the piano in a command performance at Longleat House at the request of Lord Bath himself.

In 2000, Helen became the principal accompanist for the Silver Ring Choir of Bath, during which time she undertook concert tours of Germany and Holland.

Following a concert in 2003 featuring the Silver Ring Choir and Treorchy Male Choir, Helen was invited to become the deputy accompanist to Treorchy and joined them on their successful tour of Australia in 2004.

She was also presented with Honorary Lady Membership of the Choir in 2007.


Following four years as a pupil of Fazliddin Husanov, the eminent Russian pianist and recording artist, Helen graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff in 2007.



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