Montgomery County Music Festival

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Soloists

The soloists for the 2020 Montgomery County Music Festival are:

Gemma King (Soprano)
Helena Cooke (Mezzo)
Christopher Larley (Tenor)
Peter Edge (Baritone)

Gemma King (soprano)

Gemma KingGemma is a graduate of the vocal department of the Birmingham Conservatoire, where she was awarded Bachelor of Music with Honours (First Class) in 2006. She is also a qualified Music Teacher, achieving Qualified Teacher Status in 2008 (Open University).

Now living near Ludlow in Shropshire, Gemma works across the UK and beyond as a professional soprano. She performs regularly in choirs and consorts, including The Gabrieli Consort (London), Chamber Choir Ireland (Dublin), Ex Cathedra (Birmingham) and The Armonico Consort (Warwick). In addition to singing in these groups, Gemma gives solo recitals regularly and appears as guest soloist for various choirs, including most recently, Ludlow Choral Society, Rhayader Male Voice Choir and Ellesmere College Choral Society.

As well as performing, Gemma works as a vocal tutor for projects in hospitals and schools and in January 2020, Gemma was appointed as Learning and Participation Coordinator for Ex Cathedra Choir in Birmingham.

Gemma recorded her debut solo CD, Dedication, in January 2016. To keep in touch with what Gemma is doing, you can visit her website, www.gemmakingsoprano.co.uk.

Helena Cooke (mezzo)

Helena CookeHelena is originally from Cheshire, and studies singing with Sam Kenyon and Caitlin Hulcup. She studied music at the University of York, obtaining a First Class Honours Degree in 2015. She is now based in London, and enjoying a busy freelance career as a singer and a photographer, having worked as Lay Clerk at the Choir of Clare College Cambridge. She deputises regularly in many of London's top church choirs including Tower of London and St Paul's Cathedral, and has sung with some of the country's leading ensembles, including Polyphony, Britten Sinfonia Voices, Southwell Festival Voices, Sonoro, I  Fagiolini, and Philharmonia Voices. Previously she has been a member of Genesis Sixteen and the NYCGB and St Martin's Voices Fellowship Octets. Helena has also appeared as a soloist with choral societies up and down the country, in Bach Canatas for various ensembles, and at the St Endellion Festivals in North Cornwall.

Christopher Larley (tenor)

Christopher LarleyChristopher Larley read music at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, graduating in 1995.

From 1996 to 2004 he was a Tenor Lay Vicar of ChichesterCathedral, and from January 2005 he has been Director of Music at St. Paul's Church, Chichester.

From 1996 to 2015 he worked as a peripatetic singing and percussion teacher at many West Sussex schools, and in September 2015 was appointed Director of Music at Great Ballard School, a thriving prep school set in the idyllic Sussex countryside. In 2019 he joined the senior leadership team and became Head of Pastoral.

Christopher has previously conducted Bognor Regis Choir, Chichester Chorale and Brighton Chamber Choir. He stepped down from the conductorship of Chantry Quire - a chamber choir dedicated to the promotion of new music alongside choral favourites - in December 2015 after a fruitful 16 years at the helm.

As director of St. Paul's Choir, he has helped strengthen the links between the parish and their sister church in Berlin, touring there several times leading to a specially commissioned choral work The Tree of Peace to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the partnership.

He is very proud to be the conductor of the Chichester Vocal Orchestra, one of five choirs in the world that aims to inform, educate, and inspire audiences with the tale of the choirs formed in the Second World War POW camps in the Far East.The CVO has performed on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Songs of Praise. They will also feature in a BBC4 documentary next year and perform a concert at Westminster Abbey.

As a tenor soloist, Christopher maintains a busy schedule of concerts, most recently including Haydn Creation, Beethoven Choral Symphony, Chilcott Requiem, Schubert Mass in Bb, Goodall Eternal Light, Mozart Mass in C, Coronation Mass, Solemn Vespers, Requiem, and Handel's Messiah.

When not teaching, conducting or singing, Christopher is a keen marathon runner. He took it up in 2017 and has completed 4 trail marathons to date. In July 2019 he ran his first Ultra and has just about recovered from it!

Peter Edge (baritone)

Peter EdgePeter Edge graduated from the Royal College of Music, London, as a Master of Music in Vocal Performance with Distinction, where he was supported by the Walker Trust. Competition successes include the International Medal at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod and the Chris Treglown Memorial Award. Peter is delighted to be a Concordia 2019/2020 featured artist.

Opera roles include Aeneas in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas (Ryedale Festival), Alfio in Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana (Blackburn Cathedral), Antonio in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro (RCM, directed by Sir Thomas Allen), Don Alfonso in Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte (Devon Opera and Opera at the Athenaeum, Pall Mall), Figaro in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro (Opera North: Whistle Stop Opera), Guglielmo in Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte (Felici Opera) and Marcello in Puccini's La Boheme (Hampstead Garden Opera). Peter is looking forward to performing as Escamillio in Opera Loki's french touring production of Bizet's Carmen in Summer/Autumn 2020, and Leporello in Opera at the Athenaeum's production of Mozart's Don Giovanni also in Autumn 2020.

At the beginning of December 2019 Peter made his solo debut at the Royal Albert Hall, where he sang at the Grand Final of the ATP Champions Tennis Tour. Peter also enjoys choral singing and joined the Sixteen in 2019 for the world premiere and CD recording of James MacMillan's Symphony No. 5, Le grand inconnu.

www.peteredgebaritone.co.uk.