Reluctant Dragon artists

New Paths is marking St George’s Day with a family performance of Rutter’s charming musical entertainment, ‘The Reluctant Dragon’. Aimed particularly at primary-school-aged children, this is sure to be an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon. See here for further details and registration information.

Robin Bailey | Dragon (tenor)

Robin Bailey trained at the Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall School of music and Drama, London. Roles include Tony in West Side Story (Grange Park/Pimlico opera), Rodolpho in the Olivier award winning La Boheme (Soho Theatre/OperaUpClose), Raoul in Phantom of the Opera (Stage Entertainment/Paris), Marco in The Gondoliers & Nanki-poo in The Mikado (National G&S Opera Company), Fenton in Falstaff (Iford Opera Festival). Robin has also been awarded 2nd prize in the International Lotte Lenya competition in NYC, and has also received the Les Azuriales competition Young Artist’s prize, Nice, France.

Robin has also sung on a variety of film soundtracks including Mary Poppins Returns, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, How to Train your Dragon 2, and was a founding member of the A Cappella group Voces8. He also performs regularly with Gareth Malone’s professional choir Voices and was featured on his most recent album ‘A Great British Christmas’. He also performs regularly with Shlomo’s Vocal Orchestra and has appeared with them on Radio 1, Blue Peter and a headlining slot at the Wilderness Festival.

Robin’s Oratorio highlights include singing for the Duke of Kent’s 80th Birthday celebration with the Royal Choral Society, and performing Mozart’s Requiem in the presence of Princess Anne at Cheltenham town hall. Robin has also performed le Marseillaise at the opening of the RBS VI nations rugby match between England and France, to an audience of 82,000 at Twickenham stadium, and broadcast worldwide.

William Townend | St George (baritone)

William Townend was born in London. He completed his postgraduate studies on the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama where he was winner of the English Song Prize.

William has worked with several opera companies including Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Scottish Opera, Opera de Dijon, English Touring Opera, Opera Holland Park, The Early Opera Company, and Garden Opera. Roles include Baron Duphol La Traviata for Scottish Opera, Lescaut Manon, Papageno The Magic Flute, Escamillo and Morales Carmen, Keeper The Rake’s Progress, Doctor Macbeth, Corporal La Fille du Régiment for ETO; Guglielmo Cosi fan tutte, Schaunard La Boheme in the Purcell Room for Garden Opera; Elviro Xerxes for Iford Opera; The Fairy Queen (Purcell), Speaker The Magic Flute at the Barbican; Ludolf Piccard in Space (Gregory) at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London; Ariodate Xerxes, Chelsias Susanna (Handel), Tapioca L’étoile (Chabrier), Henrik Maskarade (Nielsen) at GSMD.

On the concert platform William has performed throughout the UK and Europe. He was a semi-finalist in the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition. Recent performances include Barber’s Dover Beach, Wigmore Hall; Bach B minor Mass, Queen Elizabeth Hall; An Evening of Mendelssohn with David Owen Norris, Hackney Empire; Haydn Stabat Mater, Hungary; world premiere of Cooman’s The Revelations of Divine Love, Cadogan Hall, London, Purcell verse anthems with Paul McCreesh on BBC Radio 3; Bach Christmas Oratorio, Exeter Cathedral; Rossini Stabat Mater, Sherborne Abbey and recitals in Sweden, Germany and the Turin Festival. William also performed Brahms’ Liebeslieder Walzer in the inaugural Southwell Music Festival.

Brianna Louwen | Boy (soprano)

Brianna is an Australian Soprano, living in York, United Kingdom.  She studies a Masters in Music: Solo Voice Ensemble Singing under Robert Hollingworth (I Fagiolini), and studies solo singing under Susan Young. Brianna graduated from the University of Western Australia in 2014 with a Bachelor of Music in Classical Voice Performance, receiving a High Distinction for her final recital. Brianna’s biggest achievement to date was being awarded the Young Person and the Arts International Travelling Scholarship from the Department of Culture and the Arts, a scholarship that made relocation to the U.K. possible.

In the U.K. Brianna is a regular member of choirs such as The 24, The Willow Consort, The Carice Singers and Cenere. She has appeared as soloist with The University of York Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Northern Sinfonia. In 2017, Brianna will appear with I Fagiolini in York, Birmingham and Florence.

Ildikó Allen | chorus (soprano)

Ildikó Allen read Music at Birmingham University and completed her MMus at Trinity College of Music. At TCM, she was awarded the Wilfred Greenhouse Alt Prize in Oratorio for her performance in Haydn’s Nelson Mass under the direction of Sir Charles Mackerras and Second Prize in the TCM Association Soloists’ Competition. She was also a finalist in the London Handel Singing Competition and made her debut at the Wigmore Hall as a Young Artist with the Kings Consort.

Ildikó’s operatic engagements have included Grilletta in Haydn Lo Speziale for Retrospect Ensemble, creating Cécile in Nicola LeFanu’s Light Passing for BBC Radio 3 at the NCEM, a season with Savoy Opera, Bach St John Passion at Chatelet, Paris with Emmanuelle Haim, Belinda Dido and Aeneas with the Marésienne Consort and Second Witch Dido and Aeneas for the English Country Garden Opera Company.

Recent concert engagements have included Bach St Matthew Passion with the Kings Consort broadcast live on Spanish Radio, Buxtehude Membra Jesu Nostri with Retropsect Ensemble at the Wigmore Hall and a recital of Handel Cantatas at the London Handel House. Further concert engagements have included Bach B Minor Mass, Britten Les Illuminations, Carissimi Jephte, Mozart Requiem and Exsultate Jubilate, Handel Dixit Dominus, Messiah, Salve Regina and Silete venti, Haydn Creation and Nelson Mass, Orff Carmina Burana, Poulenc Gloria, Rossini Petite Messe Solenelle, Rutter Requiem and Vivaldi Gloria.

Extensive experience in performing contemporary repertoire includes 1st Soprano in Brian Ferneyhough’s Missa Brevis live on Radio 3, the London premiere of Gabriel Jackson Laudate Pueri, Anna Meredith Fly–by–Night with the London Sinfonietta at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and the performance of new Commissions by Tazul Tajuddin & Jeremy Thurlow for the SPNM at the Spitalfields Festival.

Ildikó also works as a consort and session singer appearing with groups such as the BBC Singers, The Sixteen, Cardinall’s Musick, London Voices, RSVP Voices and Metro Voices. She has also recorded solos for ITV dramas Northanger Abbey and Miss Marple.

Alongside her busy performing career Ildikó also works as a coach and therapist at the Lewis Clinic in Harley Street. She is passionate about helping others to create new perspectives in their lives by rediscovering their innate wellbeing and creative potential.

Helen Charlston | chorus (mezzo-soprano)

Helen Charlston began singing as head chorister of the St Albans Abbey Girls Choir, directed by Simon Johnson. She then went on to study music at Trinity College, Cambridge where she held a choral scholarship for four years.  Hailed a “rather special mezzo” (Music Web International), Helen appears regularly with orchestras and choirs worldwide. Recent appearances have included Mozart Requiem at the Three Choirs Festival (Philharmonia Orchestra/Simon Halsey), Bach Matthew Passion (St Paul Chamber Orchestra/Paul McCreesh), Bach Magnificat in D (Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra/Stephen Layton) and Duruflé Requiem (Holst Singers/City of London Sinfonia/Benjamin Nicholas). This season includes Handel Dixit Dominus at the Eliat Chamber Festival Tel Aviv, Bach B Minor Mass at the Keble Early Music Fesitval and performances of Handel Messiah with Seattle Symphony and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

On the stage, Helen’s roles have included Olga/Eugene Onegin, Florence Pike/Albert Herring, Ino/Semele, Sara/Tobias and the Angel (Dove) and Dinah/Trouble in Tahiti (Bernstein). Last year, she created the role of Dido in the premiere of a new chamber opera based on Virgil’s writings about Dido: Dido is Dead, by young composer Rhiannon Randle.

Helen was a scholar on the Pembroke College Lieder Scheme, led by pianist Joseph Middleton. During the scheme she received coaching and masterclasses from Roderick Williams, Joan Rogers and Sarah Connolly.  Most recently she sung Brahms Vier Duette (Op. 28) at St Paul’s Covent Garden and performed with Joseph Middleton as part of the Leeds Lieder Festival Friends showcase. Her recital programmes have included Schumann Frauenliebe und –leben, Britten Charm of Lullabies and Berg Sieben früher lieder as well as songs by Strauss, Brahms, Fauré and Ravel.

Helen is an experienced consort singer, appearing with many of the UK’s finest vocal ensembles including Fieri Consort, Alamire, The Gabrieli Consort, Polyphony, London Choral Sinfonia and her own Amici Voices, which she founded in 2012.

Ben Inman | chorus (tenor)

Ben Inman was born in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. His first foray into singing came at the age of 5 whilst exploring the role of ‘The Merry Ferryman’ in his primary school play. In 2001, aged 8, Ben joined Southwell Minster Choir as a Chorister and sang under the direction of Paul Hale, where his love of choral music blossomed and he began to dream of a career as a professional singer. Aged 12, Ben became Head Chorister in the choir and signed for Universal Classics & Jazz as part of the Classical-Crossover trio, ‘The Choirboys’. Their debut album went on to become the fastest selling Classical album in the UK, reaching 100,000 sales in one week and turning platinum in just under a year.  

Ben then went on to study music at Leeds University where he held a Choral Scholarship at Leeds Cathedral for two years, combining this with a Lay Clerkship at Wakefield Cathedral in his second year. Sandwiched between his second and third year of undergraduate studies, Ben spent a year singing as a Lay Clerk with the choir of St John’s College, Cambridge. Upon returning to Leeds for his final year, Ben returned to his Choral Scholarship at Leeds Cathedral and continued to expand his work as a soloist, making his debut performances of the tenor solos in Hadyn’s Creation, Mendelssohn’s 2nd Symphony and Maunder’s Olivet to Calvary. Last year, Ben studied for his MA in Solo Voice Ensemble Singing under the tutelage of Robert Hollingworth at York University and held a Choral Scholarship at York Minster.

In September 2016, Ben moved down to London to start working as a Freelance Tenor. The move was catalysed by the start of his involvement with the prestigious year long Fellowship scheme with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. Since September, Ben has frequently depped with the choir of St. Bride’s Fleet Street and has worked with ensembles such as Philharmonia Voices and Reverie. Solo engagements have included performances of Monteverdi’s Vespers with the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble and Rachmaninov’s Vespers with the Esterhazy Singers.

Cheyney Kent | chorus (baritone)

Cheyney studied at the Royal Academy of Music and King’s College, London University where he held a choral scholarship. His concert work ranges from small consort work in choral and early music, notably as part of the City Bach Collective, to ensembles such as The BBC Singers in contemporary and large-scale projects. Cheyney also works in opera, recently performing as part of the chorus in English National Opera’s Rigoletto.

Rachel Barnes | actor

Rachel is based in Beverley and has appeared in several productions at the East Riding Theatre including: ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘Sparrow’ (dir. Mike Friend), and ‘I Am Will’ (dir. Richard Avery). A founding member of ERT’s company in residence She Productions, Rachel has appeared in and composed music for many of their shows; most recently, ‘The StorytEllas’ and ‘Let’s Do It’. Playing a variety of musical instruments, Rachel is also the lead vocalist in the jazz/soul band Sweet Lady Grace and is a member of the local entertainment company SurpriSING Waitresses. She also currently studying English Literature at university and works as a freelance music teacher and fitness instructor.

Oliver Walker | conductor

Oliver Walker is the Director of Music at Repton School (Derbyshire) and Musical Director of the Solihull Choral Society, roles he combines with a freelance career as a choral conductor and organist which has taken him around the world. Oliver studied Music at Keble College, Oxford, where was also an Organ Scholar, and has held organist posts at Wells, Gloucester and Chelmsford Cathedrals.

From 2010-2016 Oliver was the Head of Choral Music at Solihull School where he directed the chapel choirs in their busy routine of services, concerts and tours. Under his direction the choir appeared on 10 BBC broadcasts, gave concert tours in Normandy and Norway (including a performance of Britten’s ‘War Requiem’ in the Bergen International Festival) and twice performed with Gary Barlow in the LG arena, Birmingham. In 2011 he founded the choral outreach programme ‘Solihull Sings!’ which has since impacted on over 1000 children. In 2012 he was awarded a Civic Honours Award for his contribution to music making in Solihull.

Other educational work has included working for ten years on the Eton Choral Courses and, more recently, on The Junior Choral Courses for whom he has worked on courses in Wellington College, Cheltenham College and YK Pao School in Shanghai. He regularly delivers choral workshops and is in increasing demand as both an adjudicator and musical advisor.