Sunday, 21 October 2018 at 3pm
Cantref Church, Brecon LD3 8LR
Gerard Cousins, guitar
Emily Gray, mezzo soprano
Songs of Faith & Joy
Gerard Cousins will be joined by award winning Mezzo Soprano Emily Gray in a song recital. They have recently performed in London’s Purcell Room as part of the Braid Ensemble premiering works by Welsh composer David Braid whose songs feature in this intimate BBF programme.
Programme to include:
‘Songs of Faith and Joy’ by Alisa Dixon – 1932-2017
‘Songs of Contrasting Subjects’ by David Braid b.1972
a selection of songs by John Dowland
Duration approx. 60 min. with no interval.
A graduate of the University of Leeds and Enschede Conservatorium (Netherlands), Gerard Cousins is a classically trained guitarist with a difference. Though trained with a meticulous approach to detailed interpretation and with a composer’s analytical eye for structure, his performances demonstrate a sense of improvisation and clearly communicate his love of the beauty of music and the sound of the guitar.
He has performed in many festivals and concert halls around the world, from the Purcell Room in London to Europe, South America and the Middle East. He has released 4 CDs on his own record label, each one focusing on a different area of music from the more traditional Spanish repertoire to Gerard’s own transcriptions of Welsh music and compositions.
HIs compositions have been featured in ‘Arthouse’ films and are beginning to be picked up by other guitarists around the world. His latest guitar arrangements of choral works by grammy award winning composer Eric Whitacre are due to be published by Chester Music soon.
“expertly played and unlike some unfamiliar music, instantly appealing.” Chester Guitar Circle
Gerard Cousins is a rare beast, a classical player who has broken free front he bounds of his training to make new music. He is technically remarkable… His nylon strings are played with precision and verve…the beauty of the tune and the playing are all that matters. HiFI+
“With The First Beat is the Last Sound, classically trained guitarist Gerard Cousins has taken inspiration from a huge range of influences both reflecting and fusing the traditional music of his homeland (Wales) with his love of Jazz, Indian Classical music and the compositional processes of the American minimalist composers Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Terry Riley. Gerard demonstrates a new style for the nylon strung guitar, instantly likeable but not shallow, reflecting a 21st century approach to writing which bonds different worlds of music not as gimmickry but as an authentic expression of a guitarist who has toured the world geographically as well as musically and wants to take his listneners on the journey with him exploring new sonic territories.” ‘Acoustic’ guitar magazine. Feb.2015
“we were intrigued…impeccable technique….a unique edge” Guitarist magazine
It was a magical experience and my vague doubts about a programme with too large a repertoire of your own compositions proved to be wholly unfounded. Wooburn Festival
Emily studied with Linda Hirst and Robert Bottriell at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
She took leading roles in two operas there – creating the role of Madge in Stephen McNeff’s Banished with Jessica Cottis, and singing Ottavia in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppeaconducted by Nicolas Kraemer. Both performances saw Emily singled out in the national press as “one to watch”. Fiona Maddocks wrote in the Guardian and Observer that Emily was a performer who “stood out as already knowing how to use her dramatic and vocal skills to the utmost.”
Since graduating in 2017, Emily has performed as a soloist at the Royal Albert Hall St. Paul’s, Kings Place, and the Purcell Room. Her upcoming roles include Lady Bertram in Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park for Waterperry Opera Festival, and Mrs Grose for Bury Court Opera’s production of Turn of the Screw by Benjamin Britten.
She was a young artist in Leeds Lieder 2016 and toured with Catherine Bott playing a young Jane Austen, in John Morrison’s A History of England.
Emily has participated in a number of masterclasses with Matthew Rose, Roderick Williams, Rory Kinnear, Susan Bullock, Ruby Philogene, Eugene Asti and James Gilchrist. She was the recipient of the City Livery Club Prize for Excellence. In March 2018 she was the recipient of the Christopher Ball Second Prize and the Audience Prize at the John Kerr Award for English Song and in June 2018 she won the second prize in the AESS Patricia Routledge English Song competition.
She also achieved success at an earlier age when she was named BBC Radio 2 Choir Girl of the Year 2000. She went on to record the album “Passiontide” for Naxos to critical acclaim, and has since released solo tracks under Chandos Movies and Divine Art Recordings Group.
Gerard Cousins is a rare guitar player. A master of the classical idiom and the range of techniques which it demands. Cousins has reached a rarefied point where his stunning playing is matched by his artistic vision. Acoustic Magazine
Given such command and her distinctively grainy mezzo, Gray is a charismatic singer-actress to watch. – Opera Magazine, September 2017
The refined simplicity of Braid’s music is really captivating and it is a real pleasure to hear music which is immediately engaging to the ear. thecrosseyedpianist.com
Free for under 18s