The Music department welcomed James Bowman, one of the world’s foremost and most influential countertenors over the last 28 years, to Cranleigh last week. His career spans opera, oratorio, contemporary music and recitals. After education at Oxford, he made his début with Benjamin Britten in 1967 and was soon in demand on the opera stage and on the concert platform. He appeared at Glyndebourne in 1970, at the English National Opera in 1971 and at Covent Garden in 1972. Among his many opera engagements abroad, mention should be made of the Paris Opera, La Scala, Milan, La Fenice, Venice, and the Festival of Aix-en-Provence. His concert career is equally wide-ranging; in Europe he is particularly well-known as a recitalist. He was recently awarded ‘La Medaille de la Ville de Paris’ in recognition of his long-standing contribution to the musical life of Paris. He had agreed to work with our own U6th countertenor, Theo Golden, who last year sang his way to a main part in the prestigious Glyndebourne Youth Opera. Theo won this year’s Helen Wareham singing competition and he is also a member of the National Youth Choir and attends the Royal Academy of Music for conducting and vocal coaching.
Theo said of the experience: “Having admired James Bowman as one of the most prominant international countertenors of the past century, I was honoured when he agreed to come and hear me sing last week. It gave me the opportunity to sing several pieces of countertenor repertoire to possibly the most experienced man in the world in this field. He was very encouraging and offered invaluable technical advice which will stand me in good stead for the years to come. After singing to him, we enjoyed a couple of hours discussing all things musical, where he shared experiences with a fantastic sense of humour. I look forward to singing to him again in the near future. Many thanks to Head of Performance, Richard Saxel for accompanying me.”