2011 Susan Chilcott Scholar
Awarded: funding for further studies/career development
“Marta Fontanals-Simmons had an intense, expressive and attractive voice which reminded me keenly of Susan Gritton’s” - Daniel Jaffé - BBC Music Magazine - 26/11/10
Originally from Somerset, 25 year old mezzo-soprano, Marta Fontanals-Simmons is now in her second year of Postgraduate vocal training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under the tuition of Marilyn Rees.
Marta has had the privilege of taking part in master classes and workshops with Gerald Finley, Martin Katz, Malcolm Martineau, Graham Johnson, Emma Kirkby DBE and Robert Tear CBE. In competition, Marta was recently awarded first prize in the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2011 (formerly the Jackdaws Vocal Award), performing at the Wigmore Hall and on BBC Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’. In addition, Marta was awarded Runner-Up in the Thelma King Award 2011, finalist in the Hampshire Singing Competition 2011, the Odette Sansom Award for English Song at the Guildhall School and reached the Semi-Final of the Mozart Singing Competition 2011.
Operatic experience includes Eva Martinů’s Comedy on the Bridge (Mintoaur Music Theatre, Oct 2011) cover Lucretia The Rape of Lucretia (British Youth Opera, Sept 2011) chorus Iolanta, chorus Dialogues des Carmélites (Guildhall School, March 2011) cover Proserpina in Stephen Oliver’s Euridice, chorus La Bohème (British Youth Opera, September 2010), chorus The Rake’s Progress (British Youth Opera, September 2009), Ellie in Brian Irvine’s The Calling of Maisy Day (Welsh National Youth Opera, July 2008) and with the University of Birmingham; Public Opinion Orpheus and the Underworld (2007), First Lady The Magic Flute (2006) and Marcellina The Marriage of Figaro (2005).
Marta has appeared as a concert and oratorio soloist in a variety of venues throughout the UK; most recently, Schumann Spanisches Liederspiel at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Duruflé Requiem with the London Mozart Players at St John’s Smith Square and Howell’s English Mass with the City of London Choir at Dorchester Abbey as part of the English Music Festival. Other works Marta has performed are Handel Messiah, Vivladi Magnificat, Bach Canatas BWV 82 & 142, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle, Haydn Nelson Mass, Vivaldi Gloria, Mozart and Fauré Requiem. Marta appears as a soloist alongside the City of London Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on the forthcoming Naxos recording of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy.
Future engagements consist of a solo recital at St Martin-in-the-Fields in January 2012, Jonathan Harvey’s Songs of Li Po with the Guildhall School Symphony Orchestra and Copland’s 12 Emily Dickinson Poems, both at Barbican Hall in 2012. Marta is also looking forward to performing at Grange Park Opera in 2012.
Marta is grateful to the Leathersellers’ Company, Sidney Perry Foundation and Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust for their generous support. Marta is proud to be a Susan Chilcott Scholar and Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist for 2011-12.
(Updated November 2011)
Dame Fanny Waterman DBE, pianist, teacher and founder of the Leeds Piano Competition: awarded RPS Honorary Membership in 2011.
DID YOU KNOW?
Bex Burch was able to spend a year in Ghana studying the gyil - an African xylophone - with Thomas Sekgura, a master musician thanks to funding from the RPS Isserlis Scholarship.