One of the world’s top a cappella groups will bring an eclectic mix of classical music, folk, jazz and pure pop to the North Wales International Music Festival, NWIMF.
British ensemble VOCES8 are heading to St Asaph Cathedral on Thursday, September 28, and it will be one of the first concerts for soprano Eleonore Cockerham who recently came out top of 500 applicants to land the role. The NWIMF festival, which starts on Saturday, September 16, and ends on Saturday, September 30, is being supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Tŷ Cerdd and the Colwinston Charitable Trust.
Among the other stars of the festival will be singers from Welsh National Opera with the festival community chorus, early music quarter Red Priest, Italian pianist Federico Colli, composer Robat Arwyn, tenor Rhys Meirion, resident orchestra NEW Sinfonia, Ensemble Cymru, the National Youth Brass Band of Wales, violinist Ye-Eun Choi and the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet.
Countertenor Chris Wardle, who has been a member of VOCES8 for more than a decade, says Eleonore came through an incredibly tough selection process.
He said: “We went through the CVs before listening to 80 of the applicants. We then whittled that down to seven for final selection. Each applicant had to perform a 20 minute programme with the group in front of an invited audience which included Gareth Malone.
“Eleonore came out on top and has her first concerts in September starting in Russia. We then return to the UK for several concerts before heading out to Germany. It’s then back to the UK and then France before we head to St Asaph. So she has a baptism of fire really.
“She has an incredible voice and ability and will really enhance the group. It’s also important we all get along. It’s more like a family really.”
VOCES8 was formed as a professional a cappella group just over a decade ago.
Chris said: “We will be performing a real mix of different music and styles which we as a group have arranged.
“There will be some real classical favourites by composers such as Rachmaninov and Mendelssohn to Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence and Van Morrison’s Moondance with a whole eclectic mix in between.
“It’s a concert we, as a group, are really looking forward to and we look forward to performing before a Welsh audience again.”
The festival’s artistic director, Ann Atkinson, was delighted to be able to welcome VOCES8 to St Asaph.
She said: “This a cappella group has wonderful tone, balance and that perfect blend of voices which brings a totally new dimension to the songs they perform, whether it be a classical piece or a jazz standard.
“This is an ensemble that has appeared at some of the world’s top music venues and concert halls from the Royal Albert Hall to the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. We are so fortunate to have VOCES8 appear at St Asaph.
“VOCES8 will take us on an incredible musical journey that crosses many different styles. It’s a concert I am really looking forward to and I’d suggest getting a ticket early to avoid disappointment.”
The theme of this year’s Festival is Journeys and Ann Atkinson says some of the other performers appearing at St Asaph during the festival promise to deliver some remarkable performances.
“It’s going to be a truly wonderful and amazing festival. The programme this year is so varied and there really is something there for everyone.
“I really would encourage lovers of classical music to visit our website and get tickets as soon as they can for what is going to be an amazing and joyful festival of music.”
To find out more about the NWIMF please visit www.nwimf.com. Tickets are available online and from Theatr Clwyd on 01352 701521 or Cathedral Frames in St Asaph on 01745 582929.