An evening of music with four talented musicians: Milly Forrest, George Ireland, Theodore Platt and Keval Shah performing songs by Grechaninov, Mussorgsky, Prokofiev and Rachmaninov, making giant leaps in their careers.
Lyric soprano Milly Forrest studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music. Her professors were Alison Wells, Kathleen Livingstone, Caroline Dowdle and Gary Matthewman. On the operatic stage Milly has sung the roles of Barbarina - Le Nozze di Figaro (Royal College Opera School), Miranda - The Enchanted Island (British Youth Opera), Susanna - Le Nozze di Figaro (London Young Sinfonia), Clorinda - La Cenerentola (London Young Sinfonia), Amore - L’incoronazione di Poppea (Royal Academy Opera) and in opera scenes at the RAM and RCM Milly has worked on Adina - L’elisir d’amore (Donizetti), Ilia - Idomeneo (Mozart), Cricket Ghost - Pinocchio (Jonathan Dove), Rodelinda (Handel) and Nanetta - Falstaff (Verdi).
Baroque music plays an important role in Milly’s musical life. Milly has worked with the London Handel Festival on a number of projects over the past three years. She was hugely honoured to sing Handel’s Gloria with Adrian Butterfield and many others at the Charterhouse in April. During her undergraduate degree at the Royal Academy of Music, Milly regularly sang in the monthly Kohn Foundation Bach cantata series both as a soloist and chorus member. These concerts were directed by Iain Ledingham and Margaret Faultless. Last year Milly took part in the Rameau Academy (sponsored by the Rameau ensemble); a week long course in London lead by Asako Ogawa, Nicolette Moonen and Rob Howarth.
In July 2017, Milly was asked by John Gilhooly, director of the Wigmore Hall, to step in for the last song recital of the season “A serenade to Music,” accompanied by Graham Johnson and Eugene Asti. She sang alongside Mary Bevan, Elizabeth Watts, Anna Huntley and many others and made the national headlines after impressing critics.
This summer Milly worked for Garsington Opera Company on their Alvarez Young Artist programme. In June and July Milly won the Hurn Court Opera Competition and the Patricia Routledge English song competition. She made her solo debut singing at the proms in the August flying prom and in November she is travelling to China to sing in a production of Semele with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. In 2020 she looks forward to covering the role of Barbarina in the ENO’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro. Milly is a 2019-2020 Samling young artist and in February 2021 Milly will be singing in her own solo recital at the Wigmore Hall.
George Ireland studies piano accompaniment at the Royal College of Music under Simon Lepper and Roger Vignoles, supported generously by the Kendall Taylor award, the Pimlott Foundation, and the Hervey Benham Charitable Trust.
Originally from Harwich, George began to play the piano from scratch, self taught, at the age of fourteen. After his first formal lessons he achieved grade five with distinction in two years and grade eight with distinction two years later, and was soon giving concerts throughout East Anglia. In 2013 he won the Tendring Rotary Club Young Musician Competition and as a result gave his Concerto debut with the Clacton Concert Orchestra, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto K.595. He performed Mozart’s Concerto K.503 with the St Botolph’s Music Society Orchestra in 2014 to great acclaim, returning in 2018 with K.466. In 2016 he won the University of Birmingham Concerto Competition, performing Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the University Symphony Orchestra.
George’s career as an accompanist has presented recital opportunities at the German Embassy in London, The Akademie Der Künste in Berlin, Peterborough Cathedral, St George’s Bristol, St Luke’s Brighton and St Leonard’s Bledington. He was selected for the Leeds Lieder young artists’ programme in April 2019, and was a finalist in the 2019 Somerset Song Prize & AESS Patricia Routledge English Song Competition.
He has also enjoyed Repetiteur positions with British Youth Opera, Birmingham Opera Company and University of Birmingham Summer Festival Opera, and works regularly as a choral accompanist and vocal coach. Having worked with The CBSO Chorus and Youth Chorus, The University of Birmingham Chorus, Pegasus, The Allegri Singers, Invicta Voices and Vox Cordis, George has been the chorus master of Opera Integra since September 2018 and accompanist of the East London Chorus since September 2017.
British-Russian baritone Theodore Platt won Second Prize in the 64th Kathleen Ferrier Award, Third Prize at the 9th Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition, First Prize in the 2018 Lies Askonas Competition, and was awarded the Prix Thierry Mermod (Verbier Festival). He is an alumnus of the Verbier Festival Academy and continues his studies at the Royal College of Music Opera Studio, helped by generous support from Marc Feigen, the Munster Trust Star Award, the Victoria Robey Scholarship, the Richard Toeman/Weinberger Opera Scholarship, a Help Musicians UK Sybil Tutton Opera Award, and the Josephine Baker Trust. He studies with Russell Smythe and Caroline Dowdle.
For 2018/19 Theodore has been a participant in the inaugural French Song Exchange at Wigmore Hall, working closely with Felicity Lott and François Le Roux, culminating with recitals in London and Paris. He also joined the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus for the summer season, sung Christus in Bach’s St John Passion at the Cadogan Hall, and attended the Internationale Meistersinger Akademie in Germany, where he was a soloist with the Nuremburg Symphony Orchestra.
On the recital platform, Theodore looks forward to numerous concerts in the coming year in the UK and abroad, especially his Wigmore Hall debut later in 2019 with Graham Johnson, Ailish Tynan and Anna Huntley as part of the Songmakers recital series. Recent engagements include Mozart Le Nozze di Figaro (Title) for RCM Opera Studio, directed by Sir Thomas Allen; Stravinsky Threni (Jurowski/LPO), Verdi Rigoletto (Marullo) (Kochanovsky/Verbier Festival); Huw Watkins In The Locked Room (Ben Pascoe) for RCMOS; and a recital for the Rachmaninov Song Festival at Pushkin House.
Theodore has appeared as a soloist at the Royal Albert Hall, the Cadogan Hall, St John’s Smith Square, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Singapore Esplanade, among other venues internationally. He has participated in numerous masterclasses, most notably with Dame Gwyneth Jones, Dame Sarah Connolly, Thomas Quasthoff, Nora Gubisch, Dimitri Platanias and Barbara Frittoli. Theodore read Music at St John’s College, Cambridge, graduating in 2016.
Praised as ‘exceptional… deft and responsive’ (The Observer), Keval Shah has quickly established himself at the forefront of a new generation of pianists, channelling his artistry through work as a recitalist, broadcaster, researcher and pedagogue. He performs extensively as a song accompanist and chamber musician, with recent appearances including recitals at the Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and St John’s Smith Square, as well as at the Edinburgh Fringe, Aldeburgh, Buxton, Leeds Lieder and Oxford Lieder festivals, and the Heidelberger Frühling.
Noted for his flair and creativity in programming and devising recitals, Keval’s recent highlights include an Artist-in-Residence series at Burgh House, where he curated a series of concerts celebrating the artistic legacy of the house and its occupants. His fascination with the music of Hugo Wolf has inspired him to embark on a project to perform Wolf’s complete songs, with engagements this season including performances of the Italienisches Liederbuch and the Goethe Lieder. Other notable highlights of the season include Keval’s appointment as the official pianist for the Wigmore Hall/Independent Opera International Song Competition 2019.
Keval’s performances have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and recorded for Decca Classics. His debut album, with bass-baritone Michael Mofidian, is due for release on the Linn Records label in 2021.
Away from the concert platform, Keval is active as a broadcaster and researcher. He is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 3, and in March 2020 will host his own episode of Inside Music, discussing the music which has most inspired and shaped his world. His particular love for the music of Hugo Wolf led him to being awarded an Edison Fellowship at the British Library, where he is now researching changing trends in the recorded performances of Wolf’s songs in order to better understand Wolf’s place in 21st century concert culture. Keval is also in demand as a teacher. He holds positions at Cambridge University and the Royal Academy of Music’s Junior Academy, and in September 2019 he joined the vocal faculty of the Royal Academy of Music as a repertoire coach and Co-Ordinator of the Academy’s two song recital schemes, Royal Academy Song Circle and Academy Voices.
Keval read Music at Trinity Hall, Cambridge and then studied at Royal Academy of Music, graduating from both institutions with distinction, and from the Academy with the prestigious DipRAM in 2017. He completed his training as a Britten Pears Young Artist and an Oxford Lieder Young Artist, and his teachers have included Michael Dussek, Audrey Hyland, and Malcolm Martineau.
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