It’s important that each student feels pride in their place of study.
What one piece of advice would you give to the singers graduating this year?
That’s a hard one. Perhaps a lot of people feel they are owed work simply because they have gone through the system. Unfortunately this is just not the case. Sometimes people with great voices seem to get left on the sidelines. It is a profession that doesn’t make sense. A lot of it has to do with temperament. You have to develop a very tough skin to cope with the pressure and the strongest personalities win through most of the time.
A lot can be said for biding your time as a singer. A long career can take a very long time to establish. I now see some singers I was with at Guildhall emerging to the forefront having been quietly working away for years developing their technique.
You are on the Board of Patrons supporting the School’s new building project. What excites you about this project?
I don’t know how many hours I must have spent traipsing around the college looking for somewhere to practise. Often I ended up having to warm up in the loo or a corridor so a new building is overdue! The Guildhall building as it stands does not hold up to the reputation of the institution itself. It’s important that each student feels pride in their place of study.
GUILDHALL SCHOOL NEWS • AUTUMN / WINTER 2010
Last year the Evening Standard called you one of ‘The new influentials’ and added you to their list of London’s 1000 “top movers and shakers”. What did you make of that?
I think that is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard! I’m not sure who or what I have influence on but it is very flattering anyway.
You never seem to stop working, and always on a range of projects (giving recitals, appearing as a soloist, recording albums, opera engagements)… How do you manage your time and your career?
I have fairly strict rules in terms of what sort of engagements I accept and when. My agent is absolutely amazing in organising my diary. Repertoire has to be chosen very carefully especially as most things are booked 2-3 years in
advance. It’s sometimes quite hard to predict where your voice will be at any given time.
I do have a busy schedule but by no means as busy as some singers who really are non-stop. That kind of life is just not for me. My voice has its limits and I’ve been caught out a couple of times suffering from fatigue. Travel is the key – what looks like a quick flight on paper can often be much more tiring than you think, turning into a whole day on the road. It’s really important to know the travel arrangements exactly so you don’t get caught out.
I love the variety I have musically. Recitals are especially important to me as this is the music I find most fulfilling to perform. My commitments
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