Claire Wild, soprano
Claire Wild www.clairewildsoprano.co.uk attended the Royal Northern College of Music, sponsored by the Peter Moores Foundation and the Musicians Benevolent Fund. She has won several awards including the Webster Booth Award' the James Oncken Song Prize and the Frost Brownson Award.
Current and recent performances include Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro (Regents Opera); the Frog in How the Whale Became, a new opera by Julian Phillips; Pamina and Second Lady in Maths and Mozart (Royal Opera House, Linbury Studio); a new opera, Anon by Errollyn Wallen for Welsh National Opera, and the role of Petra in Steven Sondheim's A little Night Music (Opera Project); Zerlina from Don Giovanni (Opera North & Opera Holland Park); Frasquita from Carmen (Opera North); Alyeya from The House of the Dead; Gretel from Hansel and Gretel (Opera North); the Pussycat in The Owl and the Pussycat, a new opera by Anne Dudley and Terry Jones for the Royal Opera House as part of the London 2012 Olympics; the Girlfriend in Dart's Love, a new opera by Kerry Andrew (Tête à Tête); Girl 2 in Yes!, a new opera by Errollyn Wallen (Royal Opera House); the Cricket in Richard Ayres' The Cricket Recovers (Almeida Theatre and Aldeburgh Festival); Cynthia in Playing Away (Bregenz Festival); Potboy & Child Prodigy in Janáček's The Excursions of Mr Brouček, (Opera North & Scottish Opera), and Quin in Knight Crew (Glyndebourne).
Other roles include Emmie in Albert Herring (Opera North); the title role in L'enfant et les Sortilèges (Opera North); Papagena in The Magic Flute (Opera North); Esmeralda in Smetena's The Bartered Bride (Opera North); Despina in Cosi fan Tutti (Opera North); Gretel in Hansel and Gretel (Opera North and Scottish Opera); the Herald in The Minotaur (Scottish Opera); Martine in Babette's Feast (Royal Opera House); Leona in La Belle Hélène (English National Opera); Nausikaa in Edward Rushton's Birds' Barks and Bones; the Bird in Judith Weir's Blonde Eckbert (The Opera Group); Walter in La Wally (Chelsea Opera Group); Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro (Theater Bielefeld); Papagena in Die Zauberflöte (Komische Oper); Priestess in Iphigenie en Tauride (Royal Opera House); Frasquita in Carmen (Royal Albert Hall/Raymond Gubbay); the title role in Die Grille in the German premiere of The Cricket Recovers (Junge Oper Staatstheater Stuttgart), and Lucio Cinna in Lucio Silla (Bielefeld Philharmonic).
Solo concert repertoire includes Mendelssohn's Elijah, Handel's Messiah' Orff's Carmina Burana, Bach's St Matthew Passion, and Mozart's Mass in C Minor. With the Northern Sinfonia she has performed as the soprano soloist in Dallapicolla's Commiato and Stravinsky's Pulcinella. Claire has also performed as a soloist in numerous concerts, Christmas and New Year Galas for Opera North Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Concert Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (Messiah)' Janáček Philharmonic (Richard Ayres' No 30 at the Ostrava New Music Festival), and Raymond Gubbay (Royal Albert Hall, Barbican Concert Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Usher Hall Edinburgh, Leeds Town Hall, Huddersfield Town Hall). Claire was the singer in a live performance to the film 1395 Days Without Red (Festival d'Automne' Centre Pompidou' Paris) singing music by Ari Benjamin Meyers. She also appeared and sang Mozart's Ach, ich fühls in Channel Four's production of Twelfth Night, directed by Tim Supple.
Claire's recordings include the role of Fatima in Mercadante's Zaira for Opera Rara.
Petra Milarová, piano
Born in the Czech Republic, award-winning pianist Petra Milarová www.petramilarova.com moved to the UK shortly after completing her Master’s degree at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. In demand as a soloist and collaborative musician, she successfully combines her playing career with tutoring at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire junior department and Repton School.
Petra is a founder member of the Mercia Ensemble and works with several distinguished instrumentalists, singers and artists accross the UK and Europe. Her interest in musicians' performance health has led her to pursue her goal to qualify as a DRU Yoga teacher and she is also currently training to become a licensed Andover Educator in the Body Mapping techniques, closely related to the Alexander Technique. Petra is the founder and director of Musical Travels Ltd., creating events where music crosses borders with other types of performing and visual arts, education, healing and yoga www.musicaltravels.co.uk. She also runs her own Music & Movement Studio www.musicandmovementstudio.com, currently based in Lichfield.
A prize-winner of international piano competitions (Concourse Musicale de France 2012, Cittá di Barletta - Young Pianist Prize and Chamber Music Prize in Italy 2011, Smetana International Piano Competition in Pilsen 2010, Beethoven International Piano Competition in Hradec 2003 and Chopin Piano Competition in Marienbad 2001), Petra has appeared in concerts both as a soloist and a chamber musician throughout many varied venues in the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Turkey, UK and the US.
She has performed concertos with Czech Pilsen, Janáček and Olomouc Philharmonic Orchestras, Turkish Haccettepe Symphonic Orchestra, English Wyre Forest and Wolverhampton Symphony Orchestras. Petra has featured in performances with the National Theatre in Prague, British Isles Music Festival, California Summer Music, Ambassador’s Concert Series in Prague as well as at the Wigmore Hall in London. She has also recorded a CD for the InnoVatio company in Germany.
After having graduated from the Janáček Conservatoire in Ostrava in 2004 (studied with Prof. Monika Tugendliebová), Petra attended Musikhochschule in Lucerne, Switzerland, where she obtained a Concert Diploma with honours and the Edwin Fisher Prize. Whilst teaching piano as a second study at the Prague Conervatoire, she continued her studies at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague as a student of Prof. Ivan Klánský and graduted with a Master’s degree in 2011. After having moved to the UK in 2012, Petra studied at Birmingham Conservatoire with Prof. Margaret Fingerhut (Personal Study Programme) and won first prizes in the Peter Donohoe, John Ireland and Renna Kellaway piano competitions.
During her studies Petra attended masterclasses in Europe and USA with Garrick Ohlsson, Arakdi Zenzipér, Jenő Jandó, Andrew Ball, Peter Donohoe, Avo Kouyoumdjian and various other world renowned musicians.
Emma Pountney, clarinet
Emma Pountney studied at Trinity College of Music, London, winning the Grace Wylie prize for best thesis. After graduating in 1996, she toured Luxembourg, France and Belgium with the European Wind Orchestra. In 2002, Emma went on to take a Masters in Chamber Music and Performance at the Stavanger Music Conservatoire in Norway. Soon after returning to the UK, she toured with Louis de Bernières and his band – The Antonius Players, performing for his poetry readings at various book festivals. This led to working with Sunny Ormonde from The Archers, performing a comical show in rural halls and theatres around the UK.
Emma was principal clarinet of the Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestra for nine years and worked with many orchestras in the Midlands during this time. She was a soloist with the Bingham Choral Society, playing the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante for Four Winds in November 2011. In 2013, she performed a solo recital at the Djanogly Hall, Nottingham University with the Cecilian Singers – a chamber choir directed by Jeremy Jackman.
She has worked for the charity Music in Hospitals, performing to small audiences in nursing homes and hospitals, experiencing the therapeutic effects that live music has on various audiences. She works for Bach to Baby which involves giving short recitals and engaging young audiences, introducing babies and toddlers to the world of live classical music.
Chamber music is Emma’s greatest love, and she worked extensively with a string quartet in Norway as well as being a founding member of The Hough Ensemble – a wind quintet based in the Midlands. In more recent months, Emma has been performing recitals and touring with The Mercia Ensemble, a trio for soprano, clarinet and piano.