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Brahms A German Requiem

Gregory Batsleer Chorus Director
Christopher Baxter Piano
Edward Cohen Piano
Alison McNeill Soprano
Oskar McCarthy Baritone
RSNO Chorus  



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Gregory Batsleer

Gregory Batsleer Chorus Director

Gregory Batsleer is widely regarded as one of the leading Choral Conductors and most innovative musicians of his generation. Gregory is Chorus Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and Director of the Huddersfield Choral Society. Gregory has received widespread critical acclaim for his work in both raising musical standards as well as widening the artistic activities of each ensemble.

He has held the position of Chorus Director with the RSNO since 2015 and has in that time overseen an improvement in the overall standard of the RSNO Chorus, as well as a rise in the RSNO’s choral activity. This has included the inauguration of the RSNO Chorus Academy, Singing Days, and the establishment of regular Come and Sing events with the Orchestra.

As Guest Conductor; recent and forthcoming highlights include performances with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Hallé Orchestra, Black Dyke, National Youth Choir of Great Britain, Orchestra of Opera North, Manchester Camerata, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Academy of Ancient Music, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra; with whom he appears on a number of occasions throughout each season.

As Guest Chorus Master Gregory has worked with orchestras including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Orchestra of Opera North, Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Houston Symphony Orchestra, and works regularly with leading conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Robin Ticciati, Sir Andrew Davis, Thomas Søndergård, Vassily Petrenko, Sir Roger Norrington, Philippe Herreweghe, Maxim Emelyanychev and Emmanuel Krivine.

Gregory is deeply committed to extending the reach of classical music beyond the concert hall and exploring new ways of presenting music. Gregory is co-Artistic Director of Festival Voices, a professional vocal ensemble dedicated to the performance of choral music reimagined with live electronic music. In recent seasons Gregory has curated and conducted cross-art performances at Latitude Festival, Wilderness Festival, Southbank Centre, London Handel Festival and at the Royal Northern College of Music. Gregory has worked as an artistic advisor at the Sam Wannamaker Theatre and on various projects with leading contemporary artists such as Elbow, Damon Albarn, David Lang, Carlos Acosta, Clean Bandit, Guy Garvey and Joy Division.

From 2012 – 2016 Gregory was Artistic Director of the National Portrait Gallery’s Choir in Residence Programme, the first in-house music programme in a museum or Gallery in the world. Together with the Portrait Choir he recorded a much acclaimed Choral Audio Guide to the Gallery’s permanent collection.

Outside his work as a performer, Gregory is a director of innovative performing arts charity Future Stages and is sits on the boards of Manchester Camerata and Charades Theatre Company. In 2015 Gregory was awarded the first ever Arts Foundation Fellowship in Choral Conducting. He has previously held conducting posts at the Hallé as its Youth Choir Director and at Manchester University as Director of Choirs.

Christopher  Baxter

Christopher Baxter Piano

Scottish pianist Christopher Baxter is in constant demand as a soloist, accompanist and chamber musician, with recent performances including recitals throughout the UK, including the Royal Festival, Steinway, Wigmore and Usher Halls, performances at the Latour and Uzerche Festivals in France, the Alba Festival in Italy, a tour of the Faroe Islands, a solo recital at the Erin Arts Centre on the Isle of Man, and recitals in South Korea and Singapore. Forthcoming appearances include recitals with the newly formed Brass Diversions, a series of performances and recordings of the piano works of Eddie McGuire and John Hearne.

Christopher has many long-standing chamber music partnerships, and from the outset of his professional life, he has been a devoted advocate of contemporary music, being involved the premiere performances of more than 30 works by notable composers and appearing on several radio and television broadcasts.

Originally from Aberdeen, Christopher began his musical studies with Robert Howie at the Aberdeen City Music School and continued at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), completing his BMus (with 1st Class Honours) and MMus (Distinction), where he was tutored by Aaron Shorr, Graeme McNaught and Fali Pavri, as well as receiving regular coaching from the renowned pianist, Nigel Clayton. In addition to success in many competitions, Christopher participated in masterclasses with Roy Howat, Murray McLachlan, Hyoung-Joon Chang, Malcolm Martineau, Roger Vignoles, Julius Drake and Martin Katz.

As an accompanist, Christopher has been involved with several international instrumental competitions and festivals and between 2009 and 2010, held the position of Accompaniment Fellow at the RSAMD, where he was awarded the annual Accompaniment Prize. Christopher holds posts as piano teacher and accompanist at the specialist music school of Douglas Academy in Glasgow and as resident Concert Pianist at Loretto School in Musselburgh. As a pianist on the Live Music Now scheme, Christopher has given more than 250 performances, and as an examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, has travelled extensively throughout the UK and Asia.

Edward  Cohen

Edward Cohen Piano

Edward Cohen has established himself as one of the most versatile and in-demand pianists in Scotland. Equally at home as a concerto soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, or educator, he regularly collaborates with leading musicians in the country’s major performance venues and festivals.

Edward began studies at the Royal College of Music when he was ten, and is a first class graduate of the Royal Academy of Music where he was a prize-winning student. Additionally, he has studied at Indiana University, and is an alumnus of the Lucerne Festival Academy. He holds two MMus degrees with Distinction from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where he currently maintains a position as lecturer in piano and staff accompanist. He is a principal study teacher for the University of Glasgow, and has recently given masterclasses at home and abroad, including at the University of Edinburgh and the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.

During his studies, Edward won the conservatoire’s most prestigious prizes in both solo and chamber music performance, including the Governor’s Keyboard Recital Prize and the Piano Accompaniment Prize. He counts some of the world’s finest pianists amongst his teachers, including Rolf Hind, Kathryn Stott, Yevgeny Sudbin, Martino Tirimo, André Watts, and Lilya Zilberstein.

Beyond his native Europe, recital activity has taken Edward to India, Russia, the Far East, and across the USA, including a performance in the presence of HM The Queen. He has made numerous appearances at the BBC Proms, including as a soloist in 2010 and with mezzo-soprano Catriona Morison in 2013.

A keen chamber musician, Edward performs with the Artisan and Beinn Artair Trios, the Barony and Red Note Ensembles, Daniel's Beard, Opera Alba, flautist Katherine Bryan, and clarinettist Jean Johnson. He made his RSNO Chamber Series debut in 2017, and has performed under the baton of Pierre Boulez, Peter Eötvös, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, and Yan Pascal Tortelier, amongst others. Recent concerto engagements have included Beethoven's 'Choral Fantasy', de Falla's Harpsichord Concerto, Rachmaninov's Concerto No2, Shostakovich's Concerto No2, and Strauss' 'Burleske'.

Edward is the pianist for the Chorus and Junior Chorus of the RSNO, a role in which he regularly works closely with major conductors, including Sir Andrew Davis, Kristjan Järvi, Peter Oundjian, Cristian Macelaru, Carlos Miguel Prieto, and Thomas Søndergård. He has worked regularly with many other choirs, including the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, the National Youth Choir of Scotland, and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus. He has been an official accompanist for masterclasses given by Nicola Benedetti, Ian Bousfield, Karen Cargill, Malcolm Martineau, János Starker, and David Watkin.

Edward’s playing has been heard extensively on television and radio around the globe. He has recorded several CDs and was an accompanist at the Eurovision Young Musicians 2018 competition, which was produced by BBC Arts Digital and Radio 3 and broadcast on live video worldwide.

Alison  McNeill

Alison McNeill Soprano

Scottish Soprano Alison McNeill graduated with a Masters in Performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2013 with scholarships from the RCS Trust and ABRSM. She has performed as a soloist all over the UK, Holland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Japan, Pakistan, USA and Mexico.

Alison enjoys a busy and varied career. As a gifted recitalist, Alison is the 2012 winner of the Andres Segovia prize for Spanish Song (Spain), the only non-native speaker to win this award. She is an Artist in Residence for Enterprise Music Scotland and formed the McNeill Savaloni Duo with Classical guitarist Sasha Savaloni, which has seen the pair broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland’s Classics Unwrapped, Spanish National Radio in Madrid’s acclaimed chamber music series Clasicos en Verano and perform the World Premiere of Stuart MacRae's Attar Songs at the St Magnus International Festival.

Alison has performed in prestigious venues such as Minami Aizu Concert Hall (Japan), Glasgow Royal Concert Hall as soprano soloist with the RSNO in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, the National Auditorium of Galicia and Atheneum in Madrid giving world premieres of works by Spain’s leading composers Anton Garcia Abril and Teresa Bretal. Having studied Spanish Song with legendary mezzo soprano Teresa Berganza, Alison has had the opportunity of performing in the Manuel de Falla Auditorium (Granada) and in the houses of celebrated composers Joaquin Rodrigo and Manuel de Falla. In Mexico, Alison has performed Mexican Baroque repertoire with Baroque Ensemble Ditirambo and looks forward to concerts in USA, India and Pakistan in 2020.

As a fine interpreter of Celtic and World folk music, Alison is fiddler and singer with the award-winning folk rock band Reely Jiggered who won the 02 ABC SoundWave Music competition. They have headlined International Festivals in Italy, Mexico, Pakistan and Germany and have been broadcast on BBC Radio nan Gael, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio 4. They release their third album this year.

Described by the Herald as having ‘a succinct conducting style, commanding undivided attention’, Alison is currently Assistant Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus, Conductor of NYCOS Boys Training Choir and Director of the Ulster Junior Choir in Belfast.

Oskar  McCarthy

Oskar McCarthy Baritone

Currently studying at the Alexander Gibson Opera School (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), baritone Oskar McCarthy’s interests span opera, choral work and experimental music theatre. His operatic roles include Leporello Don Giovanni (Waterperry Festival); Guglielmo Così fan tutte, Taddeo L’italiana in Algeri, Pausanias Une Education Manquée (Pop-Up Opera); Falke Die Fledermaus (OperaUpClose); Papageno Die Zauberflöte (Opera Anywhere); Angelotti Tosca (Midsummer Opera); Don Alfonso Così fan tutte (Bedford Park Festival); Escamillo Carmen, Orest Elektra (Secret Opera).

Concert work includes Handel's Messiah (National Portrait Gallery); Verdi's Requiem (Philharmonia Britannica); Bach's St Matthew Passion, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem (Angel Orchestra); and Mozart and Duruflé's Requiems (Brandenburg Choral Festival).

He has collaborated with the music theatre companies ERRATICA and Re: Sound, performed at Wilderness and Latitude festivals, and staged the song cycles Buried Alive (Schoeck) and Songs and Dances of Death (Mussorgsky) for the London Month of the Dead.

Oskar is creative producer for Festival Voices, a collaborative vocal ensemble he co-founded with RSNO Chorus Director Gregory Batsleer in 2017, and is a member of the Philharmonia Chorus Professional Singer Scheme. His ongoing interest in broadening his skill set has led Oskar to taking workshops in clowning, fooling and improvisation, and studying at the International School of Dramatic Corporeal Mime in Paris.

 RSNO Chorus

RSNO Chorus  

The RSNO Chorus performs in around six different programmes in up to twenty concerts across Scotland with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra each year. The RSNO Chorus has also had great success in recording with the Orchestra. Its recordings, amongst others, of Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, conducted by Neeme J?rvi, and Holst’s The Planets, conducted by David Lloyd-Jones, have both attracted high critical acclaim.

In addition to its commitment to the Orchestra, the RSNO Chorus performs independently and has been invited to perform with orchestras in many parts of the world, establishing an international status and touring to Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Israel, Germany, Belfast, Australia, Trondheim and most recently, Amsterdam and Prague. In 2018 it performed Britten’s War Requiem with the RSNO at the BBC Proms.

The RSNO Chorus evolved from a choir formed in 1843 to sing the first full performance of Handel’s Messiah in Scotland. Today, it is one of the most successful choruses in the UK. In recent years, it has performed practically every work in the standard choral repertoire along with contemporary works by renowned composers, including John Adams, Magnus Lindberg, Howard Shore and James MacMillan.

The RSNO Chorus is directed by Gregory Batsleer, one of the UK’s most dynamic and in demand choral conductors and chorus masters. In 2015 Gregory received The Arts Foundation Fellowship in Choral Conducting.