A huge thank you to Anna, Chris, Mike and Shaun, to Jean and her colleagues at Christchurch, and to everyone else who attended and supported this event!
It was a great evening, and we raised £1,005 for the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
Anna Jane Davies, soprano, has sung ever since she can remember, and won a singing prize at school. As a modern languages graduate, she was invited to perform as a soloist, and began to study singing with Yvette Bonner (RAM). She now studies with renowned tenor Martyn Hill (ARCM).
After living in Oxford where she sang with Jesus College, the University Church, Iridiana, OSJ, and Vespri Segreti, Anna Jane took up a place at the Claudio Abbado School of Music in Milan, Italy, studying with Paul Beier, Roberto Balconi and Diego Fratelli.
Anna Jane sang the soprano role in the promenade play, ‘A Walk in Shakespeare’s Garden’ in Italy and in England, where she teamed up with Chris Susans as lutenist (see Plays International, Spring 2018). After becoming a mother she gave concerts with Michael Ashley in Leicester and Stratford-upon-Avon. With Chris Susans she has given recitals of John Dowland, Barbara Strozzi, and Hildegard von Bingen at Leicester Cathedral, Launde Abbey and in Oxford.
A chorister for many years, singing regularly with St Barnabas Cathedral and Leicester Cathedral, Anna is now setting up a children’s choir, bringing young people into the musical fold. She sings regularly at graduation ceremonies at the Curve, Leicester, and with all-girl jazz group Corah. Anna Jane was a soprano soloist in a concert of baroque music with chamber orchestra featuring the Magnificat settings by Charpentier, Buxtehude and Vivaldi at St Peter’s, Ruddington. She also sang soprano in the quartet of the Allegri Miserere. Her new professional vocal quintet, The Juliet Consort, is excited to be giving its first concert on June 3rd 2022 at Leicester’s ancient and beautiful church of St Mary de Castro.
Christopher Susans has given guitar and lute recitals throughout the length of Britain, including concerti, song accompaniment, chamber works with various instrumentalists, works for choir and guitar, as well as the more usual solo recitals.
He has been involved playing lute and cittern in the Lachrimae consort and the Vallet Lute Quartet. He is now working with soprano Anna Jane Davies exploring the song repertoire from the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods as well early 19th century song with guitar.
In addition Chris has taught guitar in Ashby-de-la-Zouch in the Midlands for over forty years. He has been a regular tutor on several guitar summer schools and has adjudicated at many music festivals.
He has contributed compositions and arrangements to ABRSM publications and many other educational publishing projects.
Michael Grimm studied guitar with Professor Adele Kramer (who was a student of Miguel Llobet) back in the 1970s, and with Gilbert Biberian.
He has played at Wigmore Hall (London), Holywell music room (Oxford), and many other venues all over England, and recorded at Pebble Mill and London BBC plus several programs for BBC radio Leicester, Leeds, Manchester.
Shaun Purkiss started playing guitar aged 14 while attending Countesthorpe College. Initially playing fingerstyle, he transferred his interest to classical guitar after hearing the Julian Bream recordings of JS Bach and 20th century guitar music. Years later he met his classical guitar hero in Gatwick airport but was awestruck when trying to make conversation.
During his university education and subsequent career in medicine he had the opportunity to play in various musical ensembles. This included duets with guitar, flute and voice and playing concertos by Bolling, Arnold, Vivaldi, and Rodrigo with orchestras made up of health professionals. More recently he has had the opportunity to attend guitar festivals in Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, England, and Germany.
While working in Australia Shaun was involved with the Classical Guitar Society of Victoria. He occasionally conducted the CGSV orchestra and was second placed in their international classical guitar composition competition with “Tres Brinquedos”, which are pieces inspired by Heitor Villa Lobos. He premiered these pieces along with the winners composition at a specially arranged concert. Shaun has also composed pieces for flute and piano, recorder ensemble, string and full orchestra, as well as Northumbrian bagpipes.
Now back in the UK Shaun has reconnected with his classical guitar roots in Leicester and regularly plays at the local classical guitar society.