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Iestyn Davies (Counter-tenor)

Born: September 16, 1979 - England

The English counter-tenor, Iestyn Davies, was a boy treble in the choir of St John’s College, Cambridge. He began singing counter-tenor in his teens, at Wells Cathedral School. He returned to St John's as a choral scholar, graduating in archaeology and anthropology. He gained his DipRAM from and was later appointed ARAM by the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 2004 he won the Audience Prize at the London Handel Singing Competition. In 2010 he was named Young Artist of the Year by the Royal Philharmonic Society. He is the son of cellist Ioan Davies, a founder member of the Fitzwilliam Quartet and a member of St. John's College.

A versatile counter-tenor equally at home on both the opera and concert stage, Iestyn Davies has sung the roles of Ottone I L'incoronazione di Poppea by Monteverdi for Zürich Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Arsace in Partenope by George Frideric Handel for New York City Opera; Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Benjamin Britten for Houston Grand Opera; Apollo in Death in Venice by B. Britten for English National Opera and Hamor in Jephtha by G.F. Handel for Welsh National Opera and Opera National de Bordeaux.

Performing across the world, Iestyn Davies has made appearances in concert at Teatro alla Scala, Milan with Dudamel, the Concertgebouw and Tonhalle with Ton Koopman, the Barbican, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Lincoln Centre and at the Royal Albert Hall in the BBC Proms. He has worked with many of the leading orchestras including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Academy of Ancient Music, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Concerto Köln, Concerto Copenhagen, Ensemble Matheus and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

Praised as having “one of the most glorious counter-tenor voices in the world today” by the Independent and called “superb” by the New York Times, Iestyn Davies confirmed his status as one of the world’s rising stars of the international music scene in winning the Young Artist prize at the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards, 2010.

Future operatic and concert engagements see Iestyn Davies making his double New York debuts in recital at the Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera where he is scheduled to return in 2012 and 2013. In Chicago he will debut at the Lyric Opera in G.F. Handel’s Rinaldo. He will debut at La Scala, Milan in the coming season in B. Britten’s Death in Venice and in the UK he will sing the role of Creonte in Niobe by Steffani at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by B. Britten at English National Opera. He continues to enjoy a successful relationship with the Wigmore Hall where he made his debut solo recording on the Wigmore Live label, with regular recitals and concerts in the coming few seasons.

Increasingly in demand as a recording artist, Iestyn Davies' available discs include two versions of G.F. Handel’s Messiah (New College Oxford, Academy of Ancient Music/Naxos and Polyphony, Britten Sinfonia/Hyperion), Griselda by Antonio Vivaldi for Naïve, Lukaswzewski’s Via Crucis and G.F. Handel’s Chandos Anthems on Hyperion, G.F. Handel’s Flavio for Chandos with The Early Opera Company and Christian Curnyn, J.S. Bach's Easter Oratorio (BWV 249) with Retrospect Ensemble and Live at the Wigmore Hall with his own Ensemble Guadagni. On DVD Iestyn can be seen singing Ottone in L’incoronazione di Poppea for Glyndebourne Festival Opera under Emmanuelle Haïm on Decca and on Opus Arte as the Spirit in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas for the Royal Opera House with Christopher Hogwood.

“ instinctive performer, the voice agile and elegantly controlled, the tone always deeply expressive” - Opera magazine

More Photos

Source: Iestyn Davies Website (July 2010); Wikipedia Website (January 2011)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (February 2011)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Stephen Cleobury


V-4 (2016): BWV 245 [2nd recording]

Jonathan Cohen


BWV 54, BWV 82, BWV 170

Harry Bicket


BWV 232 [Video]

Matthew Halls


BWV 11, BWV 249

Stephen Layton


BWV 245, BWV 248
Audio (2017):
BWV 232

Links to other Sites

Iestyn Davies Countertenor (Offoicial Website)
Iestyn Davies Countertenor on Facebook
Iestyn Davies (Askonas Holt)
Iestyn Davies (Wikipedia)
An Interview with Iestyn Davies (The Classical Source)

Young Man in a Hurry - Iestyn Davies (Opera Today) [Apr 2006]
Iestyn Davies: the accidental counter-tenor (The Telegraph) [Aug 2009]
The golden boy: Countertenor Iestyn Davies talks high notes, low moments and hissy fits (The Independent) [Sep 2010]
Intermezzo: Iestyn Davies [Jan 2011]

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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 01:58