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Barnaby Smith (Conductor, Counter-tenor)

Born: England

The English conductor and counter-tenor, Barnaby Smith, began his musical career as a treble soloist in the choir of Westminster Abbey where he sang on many important occasions including the opening night of the BBC Proms (1995) at the Royal Albert Hall. He continued his education as a music scholar at Bedford School, and later spent his gap year singing with the renowned choir at Winchester Cathedral and as a member of staff at the Pilgrimsí School. At this time he also appeared as a soloist with the Wayneflete Singers. Barnaby is currently completing his Master of Arts degree in Specialist Early Music Performance at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland where he studies with Andreas Scholl, Ulrich Messthaler, Gerd Türk, Anthony Rooley and Evelyn Tubb.

Barnaby Smith enjoys a varied and exciting career performing worldwide as counter-tenor soloist, conductor, ensemble singer, choir-trainer and workshop leader. He is co-founder and Artistic Director of Voces Cantabiles, the flagship chamber choir of the not-for-profit music foundation, in a schedule that sees them sing both in concert and on several recordings. Some of his most notable achievements so far include leading Voces Cantabiles to a record seven awards in Italy at the International Choral Grand Prix, where he was also awarded the USCI del Friuli Venezia Giulia award for the best conductor and the juryís award for the best programme selection. Barnaby also founded and sings with the award-winning a cappella ensemble Voces8. With the group, Barnaby has toured extensively in eleven countries in 2007-2008. Recent concert performances took the group to Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, and the USA in 2008 and 2009. Performance venues include St John Smith's Square, the Wigmore Hall, The Royal Festival Hall and the Purcell Rooms. He also currently holds many directing positions which include Musical Director of Bracknell Choral Society and Brockham Choral Society, and Deputy Conductor with the London Symphony Orchestraís St Lukeís Community Choir, and he relishes the opportunity of conducting the newly formed Voces Cantabiles Youth Choir, with their planned concert tours.

On the concert platform Barnaby Smith has appeared across the World. UK highlights include concerts at the Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, St John Smith Square and the Royal Opera House with Voces8, performances with the Orchestra of Opera North (Antonio Vivaldi: Gloria and J.S. Bach: Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248)) and George Frideric Handelís Israel in Egypt at the St Davidís Festival. In Europe Barnaby has performed the alto arias during a six-concert Italian tour of G.F. Handelís Messiah with Paulo Ali and the Jubilate Orchestra. He recently returned from Venice where he was the alto soloist for the St John Passion (BWV 245) with the Virtuosi Delle Muse under the baton of Stefano Molardi. He has also performed as a soloist G.F. Handelís Dixit Dominus and Leonard Bernsteinís Chichester Psalms with Rupert Gough; a semi-staged production of G.F. Handelís oratorio Saul with the Bray Ensemble; and J.S. Bachís Magnificat (BWV 243), Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) and St John Passion (BWV 245). Barnaby is delighted to have been chosen by the Britten Pears Foundation to sing chorus and arias in the St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) under the direction of Masaaki Suzuki at the Aldeburgh Festival in June 2009 at Snape Maltings concert hall.

Barnaby Smith made his stage debut in 2005 performing the role of Bertarido in G.F. Handelís opera Rodelinda with the Victoria Soloists. Roles since have included David (Saul), Hamor (Jeptha), Isaac (Abraham and Isaac) and the alto arias in a staged production of St John Passion (BWV 245). Barnaby was recently invited to stage auditions at English National Opera. Future operatic engagements include Monteverdiís Líincoronazione di Poppea (Arnalta) with Geneva Opera. Aside his solo commitments, Barnaby sings with the award winning a cappella ensemble Voces8. With the group, Barnaby toured extensively in eleven countries in 2008. Future concert performances will take the group to China, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, Kenya and the USA in 2009. Also a recitalist, he has performed in venues including Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, and the Swiss Church, Covent Garden. Recent engagements include a solo recital for the Musicianís Benevolent Fund at the Foundling Museum in June 2008 with a programme exploring the solo arias of G.F. Handel, Purcell and Dowland.

As Artistic Director of the Senesino Players, Barnaby Smith conducts an orchestra renowned for sensitive performances of Baroque music on modern instruments. Other conducting posts include principal conductor of the chamber choir, Voces Cantabiles (with whom he recently released a CD of the music of Robert Parsons on the Naxos label to great critical acclaim), and Musical Director of Bracknell Choral Society. Performance repertoire includes J.S. Bachís Mass in B Minor (BWV 232), Bruchís Violin Concerto and G.F. Handelís Dixit Dominus. Future engagements include the Mozart Requiem, Antonio Vivaldiís Four Seasons and G.F. Handelís Coronation Anthems.

On disc Barnaby Smith has been released commercially on the Naxos (Music of Robert Parsons). Recent recording projects include solo alto cantatas by English composer, Martin Bussey; and a disc of arias, concertos and choruses by J.S. Bach and G.F. Handel which explores the links between the lives of the composers and the fortunes of the archetypal Baroque Hero. This new disc, released in March 2009, features the Senesino Players, Voces Cantabiles, Thomas Gould as violin soloist and Barnaby as Director and counter-tenor soloist. Barnaby has also recently released a new Voces8 album entitled ďEvensongĒ (VCM Records), a collection of arrangements by the groups Composer in Residence, Jim Clements.

Source: Bracknell Choral Society Website; Barnaby Smith Website; Naxos Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (September 2010)

Barnaby Smith: Short Biography | Recordings of Vocal Works

Links to other Sites

Bracknell Choral Society: About Us
Barnaby Smith - Countertenor

Barnavy Smith - Biography (Naxos)
Barnaby Smith - Voces8 Soloists - Chameleon Arts Orchestra & Soloists

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Last update: żSeptember 6, 2010 ż16:45:07