Genesis Sixteen announces 10th cohort of singers

3 July 2020

Genesis Sixteen, The Sixteen’s free young artists’ scheme for 18-23 year olds, has announced its 10th cohort. Supported by the Genesis Foundation, Genesis Sixteen aims to nurture the next generation of talented ensemble singers. It is currently in its ninth year and is the UK’s first ever fully funded programme of its kind.

Harry Christophers CBE, Founder & Conductor of The Sixteen, “I am absolutely delighted to announce the 10th cohort of Genesis Sixteen. From its inception in 2011, two hundred singers have come through this ground-breaking programme. We set out to identify and nurture talented young singers who have an innate musical ability with the potential to develop into professional ensemble singers. Its success has surpassed our wildest dreams. Each year produces a different set of voices and personalities and I cannot wait to explore the wealth of talent we have assembled this time. To witness their progress through the year is so exciting and so rewarding for everyone involved.”

The new cohort are:

SopranosAltosTenorsBasses
Hannah AmbroseIzzi BlainTim BurtonRoss Cumming
Hermione Juniper LeitchMatthew FarrellJames EdgelerDominic Felts
Frannie MillarLucy GibbsMax RobbinsAdam Reaney
Molly O’TooleLauren OsmondHenry StruttHenry Saywell
Rosa SparksLydia WardNathaneal Thomas-AtkinMatthew Welch
Sophie Williams   
Lydia Wonham   

Applications for the Conducting Scholarship 20/21 will be open soon, for more information please see thesixteen.com/education/genesis-sixteen/

Jess Haig, Genesis Sixteen Manager says One of my favourite parts of my job is conducting the month-long audition process for the scheme, where I get to meet hundreds of young, bright and aspiring musicians. I was delighted we were able to conduct seven out of the nine scheduled audition days before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but that still left us with c.45 participants to audition in our final destination, Manchester. Of course, I was extremely saddened to have to cancel those two days, but when we quickly decided to transfer the audition process online, I was completely overwhelmed by how positively all the participants responded to the new format. Instead of meeting our panel in person, we asked them to submit video performances instead, mostly unaccompanied unless they were lucky enough to have a budding pianist in their household (which some of them did!). The process worked so well, we even selected three singers for the final choir! It’s difficult to know when we’ll be able to meet for the first time but, whenever that may be, I am so excited to meet and work with the new cohort!”

The fourth and final course for the current Genesis Sixteen cohort will take place 13-18 July and whilst singing together in real life cannot be replicated, The Sixteen has worked to devise an online programme that remains as complete and nurturing as possible given the circumstances:

  • Text & poetry workshop with Roderick Williams OBE
  • Vocal health presentation from Declan Costello ‘The Voice Doctor’
  • Online singing lessons with The Sixteen’s Julie Cooper and Charlotte Mobbs
  • A presentation from The Sixteen’s Education Manager Amanda MacLeod on developing a portfolio career
  • A devised virtual performance project with single-voice consorts, to be premiered at the virtual Sounds Sublime Festival

Eamonn Dougan, Associate Conductor, The Sixteen says: “The ninth cohort of Genesis Sixteen have been making great strides with each course, continuing to bond as a group, growing as musicians and giving wonderful performances at the Bridgewater Hall and Hampton Court Palace. The progress of each cohort is unique, the process fascinating each year, but it’s often during the final course in July that we really see (and hear) them take flight. Obviously, we are sorely disappointed not to be able to meet in person next month, but we are determined to ensure that our young singers continue to develop by making the course as challenging and uplifting as possible. There will still be plenty of singing in online lessons and coaching sessions with members of The Sixteen, but this necessarily different format gives us an opportunity to spend more time thinking and talking about the music itself. This will all feed into what I’m sure will be fantastic performances when we meet after the restrictions on performing are lifted and will be a suitably celebratory occasion.”

The annual Sounds Sublime Festival (18 July) is also to be taken online this year and showcases past and present Genesis Sixteen singers. Artists confirmed include the NYCGB Fellows Octet; Fieri Consort; Cantus Firmus; and Recordare, which is made up of Genesis Sixteen alumni. Planned education activities include an online choral workshop with Associate Conductor of The Sixteen Eamonn Dougan; Mini Music Makers for early years with Matt & Lucia Vernon-Long; an introduction to Kodály method given by Genesis Sixteen alumni Rebecca Murphy; and an online workshop with Horizon Voices entitled ‘Home is where…’ which explores what home means to different people through different musical styles from classical choral to folk and contemporary.

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