GREG PRITCHARD.countertenor

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Opera Courses

Since making the decision to return to full time music studies some years ago Greg has worked as much additional tuition into his busy schedules as possible. Always aware that some of those that he is studying and working alongside have been preparing for a ‘music career’ since they were pre-schoolers Greg has tried to fit in as much additional tutelage  as he can. He regularly travelled to London from York for vocal tuition with his vocal teachers and  continued to do this when he was briefly based back in Wales. (Read about the present music tuition he has been receiving on the Berlin page)

Greg attended a Saturday Academy organised by Patricia O’Neill pre-university whilst he was still living in Wales that is affiliated to the Wales International Academy of Voice. He also attended an International Summer School that was organised by Patricia. For 2014 and 2015 Greg attended short courses at the National Opera Studio in London. Details of all of these extra curricular activities can be found on the sub-pages of this page.

Last Summer Greg returned to Cambridge for one of the courses put on by Cambridge Early Music  - details of the course he did with them last year can be read about below.

IN 2016 Greg took something of a change in direction, both literally, figuratively, and musically for his choice of Summer tuition. Having spent some of his previous recent Summers in London with the National Opera Studio  he went to Cambridge. Greg attended a Summer course put on by the ‘Cambridge Early Music’ organisation that was taught in Jesus College. The course that Greg attended focused on music from the Courts and Chapels of sixteenth-century Spain.

Courses have been taught by ‘Cambridge Early Music’, a registered charity, since 1993. The driving force behind their inception and success was Selene Webb a former Cambridge Classics graduate and choral scholar. Her goal was to provide those attending the courses with a period of intense study, led by world experts in the area of historically informed early music performance practice. From the beginning the courses have attracted students from around the world and from diverse backgrounds. Whilst some of those attending are professional musicians others are still full time students; some participants are experienced and talented ‘amateur’ musicians.

The course days were long but they were both enjoyable and very beneficial. The early parts of each day were divided between sectional rehearsals and ensembles directed by tutors. After-dinner sessions included informal performances of works covered in the day, as well as the exploration of early dance and working on large-scale pieces in which all course members took part. The course offered singers a wealth of solo and one-to-a-part study; mornings were spent working to create the chamber choir which is the centrepiece of the course. Free time after lunch was available but was commonly used for self organised groups. Greg estimated that he had participated in some seventy hours plus of singing and music making during the week long course.

On the final evening course members participated in a public concert, where they performed a selection of the pieces studied during the week. With all of this taking place in wonderful historic teaching spaces and chapels it made for a very pleasurable and gratifying experience.

Summer Course 2017

In 2017 Greg was offered a fully funded residential week with Cambridge Early Music that focused on Venetian music to mark the fact that 2017 was the 450th anniversary of the birth of Claudio Monteverdi. The 2017 Cambridge Early Music Baroque course was devoted to Venetian music in particular exploring Monteverdi's legacy. Montiverdi is considered by many to be one of the most influential composers in the development of Western classical music straddling the musical eras of Renaissance and Baroque. He was the first composer to develop opera to its full dramatic and musical potential. His 1607 opera L’Orfeo defied existing musical convention subduing the traditional polyphonic structure of the Renaissance and placing words in the foreground to emphasise the range of emotions of his characters.

Greg enjoyed his week long course immensely and rather wished that he could have also completed the second Cambridge Early Music summer school which ran the following week which concentrated on some of the other Venetian music masters of the sixteenth century; but his commitment to perform in Tosca in London meant that this was not possible.

In the week that Greg did complete he estimated that he sang over fifty hours of music and was thrilled to sing Montiverdi’s Vespers. The photograph to the left was taken of him whilst he was performing at an informal concert that was held on the penultimate evening of the course where the performers learnt and performed a piece in the same day,

The accommodation he stayed in overlooked beautiful grounds and the food was excellent. Although Girton college is not one of the most ancient of the colleges of Cambridge, it was founded in 1869 as a college for women, its architecture is still very impressive with common rooms having enormous fireplaces and stone mullioned windows that look out onto pretty courtyards. Girton also has a reputation for encouraging talent in music making and equality of access thereby making it an especially fitting venue for courses organised by the Cambridge Early Music organisation.

Girton College