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York alumni land five NYCGB Fellowships for 2016-17

Posted on 22 September 2016

The National Youth Choir of Great Britain has announced its eight new Fellows for 2016-17: five of the eight studied at the University of York Music Dept, an amazing proportion for this national scheme. Elspeth Piggott, Ana Beard-Fernandez, Helena Cooke, Ben Inman, Jamie Wright graduated from York in the last four years and now embark on a paid year of concerts and training to give them unparalleled experience into the professional choral/consort world.

The Department of Music's pedigree in the professional world continues to mount, based on the long-standing pedagogical and choral work of Professor Peter Seymour, and since 2012 Anniversary Reader Robert Hollingworth, director of one of the UK's top professional vocal ensembles, I Fagiolini. (Ben Inman is also a graduate of the department's unique MA in Solo-Voice Ensemble Singing.)

The similarly prestigious Genesis scheme run by The Sixteen featured two York students in 2015-16 and an amazing seven out of 23 in 2014-15.

David Clegg, choral manager of The Gabrieli Consort (one of the world's foremost choral ensembles) said: "What is going on chorally at York is having a real impact on the business.  The days of the traditional strongholds of choral music dominating the professional music scene are being excitingly challenged."

Current singers in the department will this year visit Florence to sing alongside the UK's best professional musicians in a rare performance of a recently discovered 40-part mass; this fits in alongside their studies and the department's own thriving choral scene.

Ana Beard Fernandez said: "It is thanks to the University of York music department's world-class teaching, support and grounding, founded on an ethos of creativity and innovation, that we five have been successful."

Helena Cooke added: "'The five of us that studied at the University of York can credit the excellent performance training we received there. The flexible course gives you a lot of performance opportunities, the singing teachers are first-rate and having Robert Hollingworth as a Reader and choir director was a huge asset to the department and a reason why I chose it in the first place."

Head of Department Professor Ambrose Field commented: "York provides a unique opportunity for students to professionalise their work whilst studying for their degrees. We are extremely pleased to see their success in one of the most active and prestigious national music organisations".

NYCGB news item: https://www.nycgb.org.uk/fellowship/meet-the-2016-17-fellows