Programme to be announced
Free Entrance with retiring collection
Sarah is one of Britain’s most respected and versatile sopranos. After studying at The Guildhall School of Music & Drama she spent five years in the BBC Singers before embarking on a solo career. She developed a wide repertoire and had a keen interest in contemporary classical music. This led to appearances all over the world in major concert halls, opera houses and music festivals singing many works by leading composers including Birtwistle, Lachenmann, Ligeti, Boilez, Dusapin, Jonathan Harvey, Joe Cutler, Michael Nyman and John Harle.
Career highlights include Dr. Faustus by Giacomo Manzoni at La Scala Milan, Al Gran sole Carico d’Amore Luigi Nono at Hamburg State Opera and Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelholzern by Helmut Lachenmann in Hamburg, Stuttgart, Paris and Vienna.
Sarah has sung with several chamber ensembles singing many Music Theatre and concert pieces. She toured extensively with The Hilliard Ensemble, singing and recording the music of Arvo Pärt, and sang with The Michael Nyman Band for over fifteen years.
Her 35 plus CD recordings include a recital series of English Song with Malcolm Martineau, works by Varèse with Chailly and the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Ligeti’s Aventures, Nouvelle Aventureswith the Schoenberg Ensemble and a new song cycle by Joe Cutler, In Praise of Dreams, with Stephen Gutman, piano. She has recorded several CD’s with composer John Harle including Silencium, the titles music of the long running BBC Series Silent Witness.
Sarah has given many song recitals throughout the UK, including several in the BMIC’s Cutting Edge series, many at the Poole Lighthouse Centre for the Arts, and for the last ten years at Benslow Music’s annual Summer Festival with Stephen Gutman.
Sarah now channels her vast experience into teaching singing, also giving many workshop’s and Masterclasses.
In 2013 Hull University awarded Sarah Leonard a Degree of Doctor of Music, honoris causa for her services to music.
In 2015 Sarah was elected the Chairman of the Association of English Singers and Speakers.
British pianist Stephen Gutman has performed in the Royal Festival Hall, the Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Weill Hall in New York, Ueno Bunka Keikan in Tokyo, and throughout Europe. Born and based in London, he studied at the Royal College of Music and with Vlado Perlemuter in Paris, and was awarded first prizes in the Brant Competition and the British Contemporary Piano Competition. His friendship with the pianist Michal Hambourg in the 1990’s was an important influence on his work.
Passionately committed to the music of our time, Stephen has encouraged the creation of new work in a series of projects which have placed large-scale commissioning in the context of significant but possibly neglected repertoire. Julian Anderson, John Casken, Tansy Davies, Michael Finnissy, Simon Holt, Gabriel Jackson, Colin Matthews, Anthony Payne and John Woolrich are some of the many composers who have written for him.
Stephen’s enthusiasm for French keyboard music including the French Baroque led to his recent recording of the complete keyboard works of Rameau played on the modern piano for the Toccata label. There have been enthusiastic reviews in Fanfare, BBC Music Magazine (5 stars), the Gramophone and MusicWeb International who chose the final CD as their CD of the month. Other recordings are available on NMC and Avid Records, and his performances have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Deutsche Rundfunk and France Musique.
Stephen has given masterclasses and lectures at conservatoires and universities in the UK and internationally. He has led courses at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, the Royal Northern College in Manchester, Benslow Music and Dartington Summer School.
Active as a player of chamber music, Stephen has performed with distinguished artists including György Pauk, Yfrah Neaman, and Karine Georgian. He has an ongoing collaboration with soprano Sarah Leonard. One of his projects, in duo with percussionist Richard Benjafield, created a sequence of compositions out of the fantasy What strikes the clocke? by 17th century composer Edward Gibbons which integrated new work by people of all ages and backgrounds. Stephen has worked with many ensembles including Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Composers Ensemble, Endymion, the Esbjerg Ensemble, New Music Players, ‘Sharp Edge’ (RPO), and the Verbier Festival Ensemble.