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Soloists

Crispian Steele-Perkins is a trumpet soloist who is world-renowned for the quality of his performances and wide-ranging musical experience. On graduating from the Guildhall School of Music, Crispian spent his early career playing with the English National Opera and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He then spent 15 years working in recording, TV and film studios, developing a body of work which is universally recognizable today, from Handel to James Bond themes and pop classics. His interest in collecting and restoring antique trumpets led him to begin performing on them - you may have heard Crispian’s playing introducing the BBC’s ‘The Antiques Roadshow’. His unique performances and recordings on genuine historic instruments led Continuo Magazine to describe him as ‘the world’s leading player of the Baroque trumpet’.


Playing alongside some of the world’s greatest singers, Crispian’s purity of tone and artistic subtlety has received critical acclaim for more than three decades. Recordings of Handel’s ‘Let the Bright Seraphim’ with Dame Kiri te Kanawa and ‘Eternal source of Light Divine’ with James Bowman are familiar to many. More recently his performances with Emma Kirkby, Lynne Dawson, Carolyn Sampson, Bryn Terfel and Lesley Garrett have firmly established his reputation.  His work in the studios has included more than 80 film, TV scores and commercials, appearing alongside Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Bob Geldof, Sir Harry Secombe, Kate Bush, Elaine Page, Chris Rea and Lulu. His many Solo recordings extend from Purcell to Gershwin and his largest “live” audience was 133,000 at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Michael George, now firmly established as one of Britain’s most versatile bass-baritones, was a chorister at King’s College Cambridge under Sir David Wilcocks. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London where he was a major prize winner.

Michael has appeared with leading UK orchestras and ensembles and has sung throughout Britain at all the major festivals and venues. He has also performed extensively abroad.

Michael has worked widely as a recording artist, and releases include The Dream of Gerontius, Messiah, Bach’s St Matthew Passion and St John Passion, Schubert’s Mass in A Flat with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Bach Cantatas and Masses with Kings College Cambridge.

Michael performs regularly both here in Britain and around the world. Performances have included Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, with the Bach Choir, Purcell’s Faerie Queen in the Netherlands, Elgar’s Apostles and many other works at the Three Choirs Festivals. Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Halle and Mark Elder, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Sir Neville Marriner in Brisbane, Mozart’s Requiem Mass with the Bach Choir, the Vienna Philharmonic and also with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, and Bach’s St. John Passion  with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, LPO and in Milan. Other engagements include L’Enfance du Christ in Denmark, a tour of St. John Passions with the Irish Baroque Orchestra, Haydn’s Season’s with the St. Louis Symphony orchestra, concerts in Montreal, and Haydn’s The Creation in Israel. He has appeared as Commendatore in Don Giovanni in Moscow and as Aeneas in a production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas produced by Jonathan Miller.

Lesley-Jane Rogers is heralded as one of the most versatile soloists of today, and is renowned for her captivating and evocative performances. An established concert soloist, she specialises in oratorio, “vocal concertos”, solo cantatas, recitals and contemporary music, and has a vast repertoire of several hundred works. She studied singing and piano at the Royal Academy of Music where she won several prizes, and in 2003 was made an ‘Associate’ in recognition of her eminence in the profession. She has worked with many conductors and orchestras, and her discography numbers several new-music releases for the specialist label Metier, various English composer CDs for the Campion/Cameo label, as well as discs for Toccata Classics, Hyperion, Divine Art and Prima Fascie. She has also released two CDs, one of Schubert Lieder and one of English Song on the Penchant  label with the pianist Christopher Ross.

Pro Arte Orchestra (Leader: Paul Willey)

Pro Arte was formed in 1983 as the Southern Pro Arte to serve the south and west, but has recently changed its name to reflect the fact that it now performs beyond its original region. The organisation is eminently flexible, ranging from a chamber ensemble to a symphony orchestra. Its founding artistic director was Marcus Dods and, over the years, has worked with such conductors as Yehudi Menuhin and Vernon Handley.

Pro Arte particularly values its relationship with Julian Williamson and subsequent associations with the Camden Choir and Ware Choral Society since 1992.

Margaret McDonald is a renowned international singer and voice-coach. She sings regularly in major venues and cathedrals in the U.K. and abroad. She works with many leading conductors, encompassing an extensive repertoire of oratorio and concert work, opera, contemporary and light music, as well as singing with numerous choral societies nationwide. Maggie now combines a busy singing schedule with her Vocal Consultancy work, being in demand for master classes, workshops and examining. She is vocal coach for the Hallé Choir and the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus, and has taken workshops for other choral societies as well as male voice and gospel choirs. She has also been the vocal coach for the production of Amadeus at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, Mama Mia at the Palace Theatre in Manchester and at present at the Opera House in Manchester for the new musical Ghost. 

Her concert work has ranged dramatically from Mahler’s Third Symphony to the Good Old Days at the City Varieties, Leeds! In recent years she sang Elgar’s The Music Makers and Rachmaninov’s Vespers with the Hallé choir. In the previous year sang Child of our Time with the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus, recorded a CD with the Fairey Brass Band, and sang a specially commissioned piece by Phillip Lawrence in Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, as part of the City of Culture Celebrations.  In 2008 she sang the Sheffield United Football Club Anthem in Bramall Lane Stadium for a documentary about the club, and before the final match of the season in front of 30,000 fans!  

Mark Wilde was born in Scotland and was a chorister at Dundee Cathedral. He went on to study at the University of East Anglia and the Royal College of Music.

In 2000 Mark made his Glyndebourne debut as Ferrando in Cosi fan Tutte and has since appeared on the stages of many leading opera companies both in the UK and abroad. He also makes regular appearances on the concert platform in oratorio and recital performing throughout Europe and in the UK.  Some of his most recent engagements in 2011/2012 include performances for the English Touring Company as Ugon in Handel’s Flavio and Fairy Queen and The Dream of Gerontius at Chelmsford Cathedral and Bedford.

Mark has recorded music by Handel and Britten including Britten’s Scottish Settings for Naxos and Arthur Sullivan’s The Golden Legend  and The Prodigal Son for Hyperion. ‘Ancient Melodies’, a recital CD of songs for tenor and guitar, was recorded for Docker records.